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.