‘Ithaka’ with Sir Sean Connery

My thanks to George Giaglisis for sending me this lovely recital of the poem Ithaka. I thought it was well worth sharing with you.

Ithaca was written by Constantine P. Cavafis, an ethnic Greek poet who was born in Alexandria (although his father acquired British nationality and the family lived in Liverpool for a while). During his life he wrote hundreds of poems but refused to formally publish his work. He preferred to share them through local newspapers and magazines, or even print them out himself and give then away to anyone interested. His most important poetry was officially published after his death, when his work was internationally recognised.

This poem, written in 1911, was inspired by the return journey of Odysseus to his home island, as depicted in the Odyssey. To Homer, and Greeks in general, it was not the actual island, but the idea of Ithaka that was important. The poem’s theme is enjoyment of the journey of life, and the increasing maturity of the soul as that journey continues, are what is important, not the destination.

I’d certainly agree with that, as would most sailors, I think.

Leave a comment
  • evan skot

    Someone needs to explain what an ethnic greek poet is? Is that a bit like taking other peoples’ national heritage and putting it in your musuem/

    September 25, 2015, 19:11 permalink
    • Melody McKay Burton

      I think Cavafis is considered ethnic Greek because his parents were Greek and he wrote in Greek. He isn’t considered an Egyptian poet, despite being born in Egypt.

      It wasn’t my term. That’s how he’s described in every reference I’ve seen. It’s true he moved to the UK and became a British citizen but that was completely voluntary. I don’t think anyone took him there; he went of his own accord 🙂

      October 11, 2015, 19:01 permalink