K.P. Kavafis Ithaca

Once you set out for Ithaca
hope your road to be long,
full of adventures, full of knowledge.
Don’t be afraid of the Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon
you’ll never find them on your way
if you keep your thoughts high,
if rare excitement touches your spirit and your body.
You won’t meet the Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
the wild Poseidon
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul puts them in front of you.
Hope your road to be long
may there be many summer mornings
when you’ll enter with pleasure, with joy,
the harbours you’ve seen for the first time
Stop in Phoenician trading stations
and get the good wares
pearls and corals, ambers and ebony,
and sensual herbs of every kind
as many sensual herbs as you can
Go to many Egyptian cities
to study and learn from the educated ones
keep Ithaka always in your mind
your arrival there is your destiny
But don’t rush the journey at all
it better lasts for many years,
and then when you’re old to stay on the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way
without expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the beautiful journey.
without her you wouldn’t have set out
there’s nothing else to give you anymore
And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t fooled you.
now that you became wise with so much experience
you should have already understood what Ithacicians mean


(Ikaros Publications,1984)