Ithaca

The name of the blog is a reference and homage to C.P. Cavafy’s excellent poem Ithaca.

 

Here is the orinal Greek version, recited by Elli Lampeti

And here is an excellent English version, recited by Sean Connery with the music of Vangelis

The poem is inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. Ithaca is the home of Odysseus and it’s a metaphor for the traveler’s destination. The poem’s meaning is that the joy of the journey and the growing maturity of soul and mind as the journey progresses is what the traveller must seek (so he should hope that the journey is a long one)

“As you set out for Ithaca
hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.”

….

“Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.”

Int the Odyssey, Laistrygoniand, Cyclops and Poseidon are Odysseus’s enemies. It’s a metaphor for the dangers of the journey – the poet means that enemies are what we carry with us … how very true

And the poem finishles like this

“But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so that you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would have not set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.”

encapsulating everything the journey stands for

You can read the full Greek text here and several English translations here (links from the official Cavafy website archive)

Cavafy was one of the greatest modern poets of Greece, born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1863 where he spent most of his life and died there in 1933. His poetry has been mostly recognized after his death but now is considered one of the greatest poets of Greece and has been translated to many other languages as well

 

Advertisements