Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ithaca... by: Constantine P. Cavafy

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island where you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithaca means.

My World History professor gave this to the students in my class to read, and to see if we could come up with the underlying message that Constantine P. Cavafy was trying to convey in his writing.
And it's just this: To the one who is traveling through life, just waiting to get to the next step... whether it's the goal of going to or graduating school, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, a car, having children, or retiring just to watch your own kids do the same... do NOT live as if you're just getting through to reach your final goal. The beauty and prize of life is not at the end of the road, but in every memory we make, and every second we spend along the way with those we love. If your only goal is to reach the end, once you get there, you won't have anything to show for the life you lived. Make the most out of every second, and realize that there really IS a heaven on earth. It's all in how we decide to make the most out of this blessing we call life...

1 comment:

  1. lovely post. and so true. the journey, each step is the moment in which we truly live.