Poems and Letters / Ithaca by Konstantinos Kavafis

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Dimension cm50x70


Poster ITACA, Konstantinos Kavafis

The poem Ithaca , written in 1911, symbolizes the origin, the reason and at the same time the destination of the long journey, similar to that of the legendary Ulysses, that every man makes through life. Ulysses and Ithaca are in complete symbiosis.

According to Kavafis , the journey must be rich in experiences, it should not be rushed and the arrival should not be premature. It is better to arrive in Ithaca when you are mature, even if it is not the destination, but the journey that counts, because it is the journey that allows you to increase knowledge and experience. Furthermore, we must arrive there already full of moral and also material riches, and not expect Ithaca to offer us more or to make us rich. The island, in fact, as an apparent destination of the journey, actually provides us with the motivation and stimulus to travel to know and learn. Ithaca allowed you the journey to make you understand what even she herself could not have given you. Ithaca is the territory where we unravel the tangle of our life experiences to hoard and rework them; it is that remote corner that facilitates concentration and allows you to relive the journey and the experience; it is not a place made for consumers, but for those who enhance existence.

Here is the full text:

 When you travel to Ithaca
 you must hope that the road is long,
 fertile in adventures and experiences.
 The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes
 or the fury of Neptune do not fear,
 This won't be the kind of meeting
 if the thought remains high and a feeling
 steady guide your spirit and your body.
 In Cyclopes and Lestrigoni, certainly not,
 nor will you encounter wrathful Neptune
 if you don't bring them in
 if your soul doesn't turn them against you.

 You have to hope that the road is long.
 May there be many summer mornings
 when in ports - finally and with what joy -
 you will touch the ground for the first time:
 linger and buy in the Phoenician emporiums
 ebony and amber mother-of-pearl corals
 all fine goods, even perfumes
 penetrating of all sorts; as many intoxicating scents as you can,
 goes to many Egyptian cities
 learn a lot of things from the learned.

 You must always have Ithaca in mind -
 reaching it is constant thought.
 Above all, don't rush the trip;  
let it last a long time, for years, and as an old man
 set foot on the island, you rich man
 of the treasures accumulated along the way
 without expecting riches from Ithaca.
 Ithaca gave you the beautiful journey,
 without her you would never have done it
 on the road: what else do you expect?

 And if you find it poor, Ithaca will not have disappointed you.
 Made wise now, with all your experience on you
 you will already have understood what Ithaca means.

Handmade with love, mixed media sea blue screen printing ink, but very sea.

A word, a song, a color. A memory, a concert, the first time you saw each other, met. Words to love, words to say, or the words you can't say. The color of that night, of his eyes, of his skin.

Signed, numbered and dated.

Sizes: 50x70 and 70x100, frame excluded.


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