[Oxford63] Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Jane M. Hill jhill at cybermesa.com
Wed Sep 14 16:35:25 MDT 2011

Dear Classmates,

Last night I caught most of an ABC special that played some of the newly 
released interview with Jackie, taped sometime before her death. In the 
last 60 seconds Diane Sawyer said that during the production they 
(whoever they are) had looked for a poem that was important to Jackie 
and somehow characterized her spirit. She said that they came up with 
"keep your spirits high and hope that the journey is a long one" (close 
enough). I was floored! That's C.P. Cavafy, a Greek poet that lived in 
Alexandria in the first half of the 20th century. In the _Alexandrian 
Quartet_, in fact, Lawrence Durrell referred to Cavafy as "the old man 
of the city".

Since almost all of us read the Odyssey in Miss Jarrell's 8th grade 
English, I thought I would like to share the poem in question. It is not 
the best translation (and certainly not mine), but "Ithaca" is a great 
piece of poetry. My son also found a YouTube of the poem read by Sean 
Connery! It's hokey but fun:


*** Jane ***

Cyber Mesa Telecom
Santa Fe Headquarters
Tel 505-988-9200

/Local Contact Numbers/ <http://www.cybermesa.com/ContactCM%5C>


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you will understand what the Ithacas mean.

/Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)/

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