a New Year’s reflectionPosted: December 31, 2010
I read this poem at a New Year's service at the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City in the early 1980s. It always struck me as an appropriate reflection for the new year. I've published it here before, but I think it's worth repeating.
Happy New Year and wishes for all the best in 2011!
by C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933)
translated by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard
|As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
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.
Hope your road is a long one.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
First version probably writtem January 1894. Final version written October 1910, and published November 1911.
Courtsey of Kyriacos Zygourakis, A.J. Hartsook Professor in Chemical Engineering, Rice University.
C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems, Princeton University Press