Ithaca

By Konstantinos P. Kavafis

When you leave for Ithaca,
may your journey be long
and full of adventures and knowledge.
Do not be afraid of Laestrigones, Cyclopes
or furious Poseidon;
you won’t come across them on your way
if you don’t carry them in your soul,
if your soul does not put them in front of your steps.
I hope your road is long.
May there be many a summer morning,
and may ports for the first time seen
bring you great joy.
May you stop at Phoenician marts,
to purchase there the best of wares,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber, ebony,
hedonic perfumes of all sorts;
may you go to various Egyptian towns
and learn from a people with so much to teach.
Don’t lose sight of Ithaca,
for that’s your destination.
But take your time;
better that the journey lasts many a year
and that your boat only drops anchor on the island
when you have grown rich
with what you learned on the way.
Don’t expect Ithaca to give you many riches.
Ithaca has already given you a fine voyage;
without Ithaca you would never have parted.
Ithaca gave you everything and can give you no more.
If in the end you think that Ithaca is poor,
don’t think that she has cheated you.
Because you have grown wise and lived an intense life,
and that’s the meaning of Ithaca.

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