As you set out for
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 on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare sensation
touches 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 perfumes of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from those who know.
Keep Ithaka 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 Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka 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, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
What's a Laistrygonian?
Laistrygonians, Cyclops and Poseidon are all 'monsters,' popular in Greek mythology. The poet is telling us to not be afraid of these or other imaginary monsters.