Friday, 13 March 2009

c. p. cavafy


When you set out on the journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road be long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
the raging Poseidon do not fear:
you'll never find the likes
of these on your way,
if lofty be your thoughts, if rare emotion
touches your spirit and your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
the fierce Poseidon you'll not encounter,
unless you carry them within your soul,
unless your soul raises them before you.

Pray that the road be long;
that there be many a summer morning,
when with what delight, what joy
you'll enter into harbours yet unseen;
that you may stop at Phoenician emporia,
and acquire all the fine wares,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
as many sensuous perfumes as you can;
that you may visit many an Egyptian city,
to learn and learn again from lettered men.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your final destination.
But do not rush the voyage in the least.
Better it last for many years;
and once you're old. cast anchor on the isle,
rich with all you have gained along the way,
expecting not that Ithaca will give you wealth.

Ithaca gave you the wondrous voyage.
Without her you'd never have set out.
But she has nothing to give you any more.

If then you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
As wise as you've become, with such experience by now,
you will have come to know what these Ithacas mean.

trans evangelos sachperoglou

off out in the kayak and on the bike this weekend so, as i'm still reading cavafy, ithaca seemed a natural choice. there's another translation here and if you're really a glutton for punishment sean connery reads it here. or in greek, here


Roxana said...

I had been thinking to make a post about the same myth in the next days... again these funny coincidences.

don't you like connery's voice? :-)

swiss said...

yes, the odyssey and all that. it's been swimming about in my wee head for years and i can;t ever seem to get rid of it. i reutrn home today and me and t have a great conversation abou tthis poem and 'the journey'

connery. there are many reasons to dislike connery, not all of which are his fault, but the comedy accent, especially here, which sounds like me doing a bad impression of him, is enough for me! lol