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Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray the road is long,
filled with adventure and discovery.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
and raging Poseidon himself, fear them not,
for you need not face them on your way
so long as your soul is uplifted, and a rare sense
stirs your spirit and quickens your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
and storming Poseidon himself, you need not confront them,
so long as they do not dwell in your soul,
so long as your mind does not set them before you.

Pray the road is long.
Many will be the summer dawns
when, with what pleasure, what joy,
you will sail into ports unknown;
to stop at Phoenician markets
and buy fine things:
nacre and coral, amber and ebony,
heady spices of every kind,
as many sensual spices as you can.
To many an Egyptian city will you go
to learn, and learn more, from seekers who know.

Always do you hold Ithaca in your mind.
Arriving is your destiny.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better to let it last many long years
that you may set foot on the island an old man,
rich with wealth gained along the way,
expecting no treasures from Ithaca.

Ithaca has given you a wondrous journey.
Without her you’d never have set forth.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her insufficient, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you’ll have become, rich with experience,
you will already know what these Ithacas mean.

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