Friday, April 14, 2006

Writing - my Ithaca (and Ginger)

by Konstantinos Kavafis (1911)

As you set out for Ithaca
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
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.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
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.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours 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 Ithaca 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 Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca 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, Ithaca 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.

This poem means such a lot to me – I have traveled a long way – geographically and spiritually, as well as professionally and socially.

To me traveling means never getting to your destination – success in my life is striving to learn, finding out about yourself, making people happy, and finding out as much as you can about life before it is over.

What is in short supply in all our lives is time, yet many strive for money above everything else – money is just paper – life is real.

The act of writing is the most personal thing in my life – I love my wife, my job, my family and my friends, but it is in my writing that I can truly learn who I am. Writing is my ‘Ithaca’
Robert Leslie Fielding


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