18 Feb 2011


Almost finished my current read, THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES by CAROLINE LAWRENCE, I thought I'd share this poem from it with you.


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.

(29th April 1863 - 29th April 1933)


Nina said...

Great poem!!

GMR said...

Interesting poem...thanks for sharing. Hope you're enjoying your current read!

Melissa Gill said...

That's a beautiful poem. Odyssius probably could have used that advice.

StarTraci said...

Ask that your way be long.

Amen, sister. Truly wise words within a truly beautiful poem!

Cheers, my friend.


Kelly said...

This poem became one of my favorites the first time I read it on another friend's blog.

I'm glad you posted it today. I enjoyed seeing it again.

Suko said...

Wonderful poem! Thanks for sharing this, Petty!

Misha said...

Thanks for sharing the poem, Tracy! It's beautiful!

chitra said...

Read the poem . Hi to you. Hope you are fine.

naida said...

Thanks for sharing this one!

Jenners said...

I could swear that I saw this poem referenced somewhere in something I just read but I cannot for the life of me remember where!

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Thanks for sharing this, Tracy. :)
Cavafy is one of my all-time favorite poets.
I have posted this poem a long time ago on my blog, too; for it's such a beautiful poem.

Thanks again.

Big hugs!
B xxX