Ithaka

August 11, 2016

As you set out for Ithaka 

hope your road is a long one, 

full of adventure, full of discovery. 

Laistrygonians, Cyclops, 

angry Poseidon—don’t 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 excitement 

stirs your spirit and your body. 

Laistrygonians, 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. 

 

 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind. 

Arriving there is what you’re destined for. 

But don’t hurry the journey at all. 

Better if it lasts for years, 

so you’re old by the time you reach the island, 

wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, 

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. 

 

 

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. 

Without her you wouldn't have set out. 

She has nothing left to give you now. 

 

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. 

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, 

you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

 

 

 

BY C. P. CAVAFY

TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY

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