Read by James Smillie
C. P. Cavafy was a treasured Egyptian-Greek poet who revived Greek poetry in the 20th century.
In his best-known poem 'Ithaka', Cavafy likens the legendary voyage of Odysseus to the journey of every man through life. The poem encourages the reader to live for the journey instead of the destination, to ensure a prosperous and fulfilling life.
Full Poem (English Translation)
As you set out for Ithaka,
Hope the voyage is a long one,
Full of adventure, Full of discovery.
Angry Poseidon – do not fear them.
You shall not encounter such things on your way
If your thoughts are raised high,
If enthusiasm stirs your spirit and body.
Wild Poseidon – you shall not encounter them,
Unless you carry them inside your soul,
Unless your soul bears them before you.
Hope the voyage ahead is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings
When, with what pleasure, what joy,
You enter harbours seen for the first time;
May you stop by Phoenician markets to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind —
As many sensual perfumes as you can find;
And may you visit many Egyptian cities to gather
the stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Wild Poseidon – do not fear them.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind –
Arriving is what you are destined for.
But do not rush the journey –
Better it lasts for many long years,
so that you may anchor at the island when you have grown old,
Wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the great journey.
She has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka will not have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
You will have understood by then what Ithaka means.
#thejourney #poem #ithaka #constantinecavafy #seanconnery
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