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by Konstantinos Kavafis 1863-1933
As you set out for Ithaca,
Hope that your journey is a long one
full of adventure, full of discovery.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear.
You will never find things like that on your way,
So long as your thoughts remain exalted,
So long as a rare sensation touches your spirit and your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
the wild Poseidon you won’t encounter,
So long as you do not carry them within your soul,
So long as your soul does not set them up before you.
Hope that your journey be a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when
with what pleasure, what joy
you will be entering harbors never seen before.
May you stop at Phoenician trading stations,
the finest merchandise in order to acquire,
Mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of every kind,
as many sensual perfumes as you can.
To many Egyptian cities may you go,
to learn and learn again from those who know.
Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
and aged at last to rest up on the island,
wealthy with gains attained along the way,
when not expecting Ithaca riches to offer.
Ithaca has given you the marvelous journey.
Without Her you would have never set out.
She has nothing left to give now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full with experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithacas mean...
by Vangelis Papathanasiou (Chariots of Fire)
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