Ithaca

A Greek colleague of mine retired end of 2013 and shared this wonderful, touching poem titled “Ithaca” written by Constantine Cavafy with us as a farewell message. Using as few words as possible, he shared a priceless message with us all.Thank you, Michael!

ITHACA by Constantine P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaca 
hope that your journey is a long one, 
full of adventure, full of discovery. 
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, 
angry Poseidon do not be afraid of them: 
you’ll never find things like that on your way 
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, 
as long as a rare sensation 
touches your spirit and your body. 
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, 
wild Poseidon – you won’t encounter them 
unless you bring them along inside your soul, 
unless your soul sets them up in front of you. 
Hope that your journey is a long one. 
May there be many summer mornings when, 
with what pleasure, what joy, 
you come into harbors seen for the first time; 
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations 
to buy fine things, 
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, 
sensual perfume of every kind- 
as many sensual perfumes as you can; 
and may you visit many Egyptian cities 
to learn and learn again from those who know. 
Keep Ithaca always in your mind. 
Arriving there is what youre destined for. 
But do not hurry the journey at all. 
Better if it lasts for years, 
so that you are old by the time you reach the island, 
wealthy with all you have gained on the way, 
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich. 
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey. 
Without her you would not have set out. 
She has nothing left to give you now. 
And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you. 
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, 
You will have understood by then what these Ithacas mean

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