In memory of my dear friend Rebecca Tobias, artist, social worker, friend.
When you begin your wanderings toward Ithaca,
wish the journey to be long,
full of adventures, full of things to learn.
don’t fear the Lestrygons and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon, don’t fear him;
these you will never meet on your way.
not if your thoughts are high, if pure
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
You will never meet the Lestrygons and the Cyclops, the angry Poseidon,
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul shall put them up before you.
Wish the journey to be long,
Wish the summer mornings to be many
that in them you will enter ports, unseen before,
with oh what joy and pleasure;
anchor in the emporiums of Phoenixia
and take the good merchandise,
pearls and corals, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of all kinds;
take as many as you can of these perfumes:
go to cities in Egypt, to many of them,
to learn and learn from the wise.
Always have Ithaca in mind.
To reach there is your destiny.
Yet never speed your journy.
It is better that it last for many years;
and as an old man anchor at the island at last,
rich with what you have earned on your way,
not expecting Ithaca to give you riches.
Ithaca gave you the beautiful journey.
Without the island you would never have started.
She has nothing more to give you.
And if you find the island poor,
Ithaca has not decieved you.
So wise have you become, with such experience,
that now you know what Ithacas mean.
by C.P. Cavafy