Monday, March 24, 2008

A poem

Every now and then, I'm reminded of why I get the London Review of Books - there are columns by Ben Elton and Alan Bennett's stuff from time to time, and really good analytical writing by really incisive minds, and all sorts of fun. So here's a poem by C.P. Cavafy, translated by Evangelos Sachperoglou:


When you set out on the journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road be long,
full of adventures, 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 along 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've 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 Ithacas really mean.

--C.P. Cavafy, 1863-1933
translated from Greek

There's another one quoted in full called "Waiting for the Barbarians," which is wonderful, too.

Hey, I'm reading something? Poetry?? What the hell is going on? It's Harvard's spring break, so No Lectures or even Lab this week. The sun is shining, and it feels like spring might stay a while this time. Breathing in, breathing out, and noticing things other than the three inches immediately under my nose, which happens now and then.

My lab partner is kinda cute.

Anna Nalick song on my ipod, not new really, just having the time to listen to things lately: "Driving away from the wreck of the day and I'm thinking 'bout calling on Jesus/'Cause love doesn't hurt, so I know I'm not falling in love, I'm just falling to pieces" - I love that rhyme! - well, here she is:

Happy springtime, Easter, equinox, and all good stuff, y'all.


Blogger Lucia said...

...that you may stop at festival emporia
and acquire all the fine wares,
BFL and Coopworth, Romney and merino,
and sensuous colors of every kind...

ahh, that's more like it...

12:13 PM  

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