Monday, November 14, 2005



As you set out for Ithaka,
Hope your journey is long,
Full of adventure, full of awakening.
Do not fear the monsters of the old
You will not meet them in your travels
If your thoughts are exalted and remain high’
If authentic passions stirs your mind, body and spirit.
You will not encounter fearful monsters ,
If you don’t carry them within your soul,
If your soul doesn’t set them up in front of you..

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
-Constantine Peter Cavafy

The first version of “Ithaka” was probably written in 1894. Cavafy revised the poem in 1910, and it was first published in 1911. The first English translation was published in 1924, and there have been a number of different translations since then.

Ithaka was the island home of the legendary Greek hero, Odysseus. After his involvement in the Trojan War, Odysseus spent ten years wandering. During these ten years he had adventures, underwent numerous tests of his courage and arrived home a different person.
The narrator, probably a man who traveled a lot addresses either Odysseus, the hero of homers epic poem the odyssey or the reader..

The word ‘Ithaka’ itself serves as a symbol for success, and is used as not only a place but as a sign of achievement and accomplishment.

This poem used to be read to travelers setting out on a long journey ...or as an elegy during funerals..

I wanted to share this poem cos I have found it consoling and reviving as I faced challenges both professional and personal in my life. Especially when I chose to take a road less traveled…

On retrospective analysis I have understood that the fears I had initially, never actually took place..And that my authentic thoughts and passions affected the outcome positively..

I find myself going back to this alluring poem again and again .. And it never fails to fill me with peace..

There is something deeply inspiring about this poem.. It tells us about the importance of having a sense of purpose…but that the pleasures on the way are more important.. That we must be attuned to beauty of each moment.. The pleasures of senses (perfumes) as well as that of the mind..(knowledge)

So now when facing challenges instead of focusing on my fears I have begun to ask the primary question

“What is my Ithaka..”?


Anonymous said...

Paulo Coelho's books may teach u better!

Geo said...


Geo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Geo said...

what i meant was, go all the way to ITHAKA or try to realize your ZAHIR...

but then sometimes u need to go to ITHAKA or to the cliffs of Santiago to realize your ZAHIR...

hope and love said...

whtzthat..? tell me plz...

Geo said...

Pls check this one

I got to know about ZAHIR from this one

Aashi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aashi said...

Trying to understand what all u want to convey through this to understand a lil bit also...yea true to say thats things will never become better if we sit and brood over them..
Good post

Sujit said...

yeah.. the travell to destiny that you desire is quite tough.. in other words the road less travelled.. and most of them choose life as it flows rather than to choose the way in which they would like to move.. nice peom..

the Monk said...

i've read this poem...yup, it is pretty good...

Devilish Angel said...

Good post...

-Poison- said...

finding one's ithaca is difficult. i think that one knows that he's reached there, only when he has reached there.when u reach ithaca, your journey is over, you become purposeless, awaiting the next step in fate's plans.the journey that is life ends at one place.we don't know where that is, or how it would be like.but, it would be our ithaca.

@geo-the zahir info was interesting

hope and love said...

txs everybody..
spl txs to geo for info abt ZAHIR..
poison..(plz give me another nickname to call u yaar)
u r right.. maybe that its relevence as elegy in funerals..

Geo said...


please include
Illusions also :_)

R said...

interesting read doc!

Arun said...

wow! I think read this about three years back. Read it again today. hanks for bringing it back.

~ Arun

Jo said...

I read "ithaka" as "ithatha"! Reminds me of one of my friends' chechi.
Err... I derived from the subject. Never mind... :-)

hope and love said...

txs a lot.. ya id read alchemist and loved it.. il read the book by richard bach that u have mentioned..
txs parna, rohith, arun and jo..

clash said...

Jorge Luis Borges- he rocks..he has been an inspiration for almost all contemporary latin american writers.He is devoid of a nobel, thats the irony that hovers all around us!

zahir.. took me for a trip.. better than on that robbie williams could give in his news single!

Anonymous said...

ho!!! let me admit this.. i am terribly bad with poems.. and when i read urs, i thot u had written it and was awestuck.. :))

neway nice one doc..

i read a nice book last week "everything is illuminated" by jonathan foer.. a brilliant narrative and this guy is very young..

-Poison- said... name's ashok

hope and love said...

welcome back..
long time no see..
im awestruck too..!! u seem to have a great opinion abt me to think like that..!!
i asked for a nick name.. not ur name..
can anybody suggest one for him..??

Geo said...

ITHAKA-kku pooyoo :-?

Aale kaanaanillalloo..

-Poison- said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-Poison- said...

@ geo-
varum..we can 'hope' n love ;)

@ HnL -
i think that our dear Geo will be more than ready/sadistically happy(?) to embark on a quest to give me a nickname... :-S

Friday, 25 November, 2005

Unknown said...

totally agree with poison! beautiful poem! Great post!

Geo said...

my pleasure akkosotto, my pleasure :_D

hope and love said...

ok. akkosotto it shal be..

Anonymous said...

iv read many of Paulo Coelho books,and i beleive his attempt to link Ithaka with the Zahir is immensely inspirational. He makes notice to his readers that life doesnt require a plan for you to follow but a journey for you to experience and find your own destiny that may await for you half way across the world.

those who listen to their souls will form faith to understand ithaka and try and make sense of what they plan to achieve, whether they want their zahir back or find something new. the only achievement in life is not let failure win for persistence is what conquers the unknown and the disappointments one my feel within themselves.

Marco said...

this poem is my favourite, and am happy to find it on your lovely blog. i can read the greek version and have a wonderful german transaltion. from where did you take this transaltion (book, translator's name)?