My mantra and favorite – from 9th grade




When you set out for Ithaka, ask that your way be long

Full of instruction, full of adventure.

The Laistrogonians and the Cyclops,  angry Poseidon,

You will not meet them as long as your thought is lofty,

as long as a rare emotion touch your spirit and your thought.

The Laistrogonians and the Cyclops, angry Poseidon

you will not meet them unless you carry them in your Soul,

unless your Soul raise them up before you.


Ask that your way be long, at many a summer’s dawn to enter,

with what Gratitude ! what Joy!  Ports seen for the first time;

To visit the great Phoenician trading centers and to buy good merchandise,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony

and sensuous perfumes of every kind,

sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can.


Have Ithaka always in your mind

but do not in the least hurry the journey.

Better that it last for years so that, when you reach the island,

you are old, rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.

Ithaka gave you the splendid journey.

With out her you would not have set out.

She has nothing else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka has not deceived you .

So wise have you become, of such experience

that already you will understand

what these Ithakas mean.



Constantine Cavafy

(who was described by a friend as:

“a small man, in a straw hat, standing

 at a slight angle to the universe”)

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