by Constantine Peter Cavafy (1911)
As you set out in search of Ithaka
Pray that your journey be long
full of adventures, full of awakenings.
Do not fear the monsters of old...
You will not meet them in your travels
if your thoughts are exalted and remain high,
if authentic passions stir your mind, body and spirit.
You will not encounter fearful monsters
if you do not carry them within your soul
if your soul does not set them up in front of you.
* * *
I jotted this poem down in my journal on December 28, 2011, way before I met Jessica Bell (poet and author of String Bridge). This is in honor of her Homeric Writers Retreat and Workshop which will be held in Ithaca this coming August.