When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.
Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.
Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.
My own version of Cavafy’s Ithaka
Maria Allelee Morales Santua September 26, 2007 1225am
“Pray that your journey be long like mine, Full of many wonderful mornings, of waking up grateful. With much pleasure and much joy, Realizing your passion at life itself, anchoring in harbors you’ve never seen before, browsing to flea markets, and purchasing unique treasures – scented stationery to write sweet thoughts, glittered memo holders in purple and pink, painted butterflies, pastel-colored potpourris, sensual perfumes, expensive and cheap ones, making you feel prettier and fresh despite of the passing years.
Purchase as much as you desire, travel far and wide, spending every centavo for yourself and for your loved ones. Visit more countryside; be content with each discovery, embrace each learning and grasp it’s uniqueness.
Keep Ithaka In your mind, your arrival there is your destiny, but do not ever hurry, take pleasure in it, patience is a virtue. Better that it lasts for many years – like my 35 summers, longer that you could ever imagine.
So that finally, when you reach this sacred place, You will be a wiser woman… Abundantly fulfilled with all that you gained along the way, things that cannot be stolen away from you anymore, no longer expecting Ithaka to make you wealthy, for you’re already are… No longer needing Ithaka to make you whole, for the journey itself was the key to your wholeness…
Ithaka offered you this profound journey, it has been the only way for you to be the woman you’re supposed to be, without it as your inspiration, you would never have set out in search of the truth that lies within yourself. And should you find it poor, Ithaka did not deceive you, unique as you have become, as we all do, full of wisdom, beauty and grace, enriched by all the experiences life have endowed you, your capacity to love, to forgive, to thank, to remember, to care, to teach, to inspire, to appreciate, to cry and to smile…
Then, finally, you will discern what all of life’s Ithaka means. It’ll stay in your heart forever… making your soul once again free…”
“The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning…” ~Ivy Baker Priest~