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Sailing Towards Ithaca | Paul Coelho | CP Cavafy (aka Kavafis)

NymphoBrainiac at Flickr 

Rocking in the quiet waters of the Ionian Sea, my unconscious mind was electrified beyond dream state, waking me at 3am, shaking my groggy mind out of bed … guiding me over my sleeping fiancé, then pushing me like a gusty wind at my strong, straight back . . . up out of the cabin and into the night air.

Our traveling companions smiled at me, saying “We’ve been waiting for you.” Enraptured by the night, we three talked quietly, as our precious hours slipped into dawn, and then a Greek sunrise.

Unexpected Tacking

Searching for details about my journey, my writing plan changed course just now.  I experienced an wrenching, emotional life collision, stumbling headfirst into the words of an extraordinary poem: “Ithaca” by Konstantinos P. Kavafis.  

Kavafis gave new meaning to my unpredictable, eccentric life journey, the crazy course of a woman still jet-propelled into the future, refusing to abide by the rules of life stage or social conditioning.

My night belonged to him, this Greek poet, who took over my existence like a demanding but genuinely devoted lover.

The Perfect Stranger

Emotionally exhausted with our dialogue, I wrote the final words of my journal, organized the videos and drifted off into a deep sleep.

Preparing to post this morning, I was hungry for more Kavafis and found it, dropping anchor in Buenos Aires, at the digital house of Paulo Coelho, AART HILAL

Coelho greeted me:


… “Whoever you are, or whatever, it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.” … and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Doubt Not

There are moments when I swear another force is guiding my life.

Let us go now.

To Ithaca

I hoist our sails into the winds, and share what was a magnificent, unexpected, off-trajectory catharsis for me and perhaps for you, too. Reflecting now on the Greek fashion photos just posted promoted a return to Ithaca. In truth, I can’t stay away long.


By Konstantinos P. Kavafis

When you leave for Ithaca,
may your journey be long
and full of adventures and knowledge.

Do not be afraid of Laestrigones, Cyclopes
or furious Poseidon;
you won’t come across them on your way
if you don’t carry them in your soul,
if your soul does not put them in front of your steps.

I hope your road is long.
May there be many a summer morning,
and may ports for the first time seen
bring you great joy.

May you stop at Phoenician marts,
to purchase there the best of wares,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber, ebony,
hedonic perfumes of all sorts;
may you go to various Egyptian towns
and learn from a people with so much to teach.

Don’t lose sight of Ithaca,
for that’s your destination.
But take your time;
better that the journey lasts many a year
and that your boat only drops anchor on the island
when you have grown rich
with what you learned on the way.

Don’t expect Ithaca to give you many riches.
Ithaca has already given you a fine voyage;
without Ithaca you would never have parted.
Ithaca gave you everything and can give you no more.

If in the end you think that Ithaca is poor,
don’t think that she has cheated you.
Because you have grown wise and lived an intense life,
and that’s the meaning of Ithaca.

Now to Music and Voice

“Ithaca”, by C.P.Cavafy, born Kavafis, spoken by actor Sean Connery, against the music of Greek electronic composer Vangelis.

Flying Higher Still

“Ithaka” yet again … this time interpreted by Jurrie, a young Neatherlands man, just setting sail in life … a reader of few poems he tells us, but a lover of this one. Music: John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

In saying goodbye, I offer you hope: Mythodea and Mars, our modern journey to the edges of the universe.

Mythodea was recorded by Vangelis and played on-stage in Athens, June 28, 2001 by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, as the April 7 launched, 2001 Mars Odyssey aerobraked    towards touchdown on Martian soil, October 24, 2001.

Sopranos Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman, the chorus of the Greek National Opera, and, for the concert only, the Seistron and Typana percussion ensembles, produced this dramatic memorial to Odyssey’s success.

The video was released on October 23, 2001, as Odyssey officially entered the orbit of Mars.


 A Divine Find

Many people fall to their knees in awe of God.

Immersed in the genius of human potential, I fall to my knees, facing the power of creativity, sensitivity, and beauty … the searing images of lightening dreams, felt in a tiny boat, the creaking sounds of my life warrior vessel, rocking in the quiet waters of Ithaca … the simple taste of fresh Greek bread with honey for my breakfast … and the future of possibility — all waiting for us, in the omnipotence of the universe … whatever or whoever that is.


Reader Comments (2)


September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

A wonderfully magical and visually lucid essay. You are a very gifted artist Anne...

Best, Ben

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBenjamin Kanarek

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