[Oxford63] Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Kate Cheney Chappell kcpoetry at aol.com
Wed Sep 14 18:17:58 MDT 2011

Thanks, Jane.
I am out here in TV-less land ( Monhegan Island where I live in the  
summer), so I did not catch the Jackie Kennedy special. The poem was  
odd to hear recited that way, but the sentiment was clear. We are all  
certainly rich in experience and becoming richer as we age. I have had  
the great privilege of being involved in a documentary here on the  
island of the older women artists (believe it or not, I am not the  
oldest!), some in their 90s who are still in the studio every day,  
despite poor health and failing eyesight. They are my wonderful  
mentors, and I hope I will have a spirit as indomitable as theirs in  
25 years.
I think of you all often, and was so pleased to know that Judy Powers  
had seen my work in the Painters, Players and Poets show in Boothbay  
Harbor earlier this summer. That show had a live opening in Portland  
last week that I went in to see; it was thrilling to hear the live  
performances of musicians like Noel Paul Stookey and poets like Betsy  
Sholl along with the art that formed the collaboration. Cindy Bullens  
sang her song "Healing the Break," named after my piece, and it was  
My children are in Maine and California: oldest Chris a musician, and  
youngest Luke with his own startup, "Luke's Local"-check it out online- 
are both in the Bay area; Eliza and Sarah and Matt all live in Maine  
with their families. I am so lucky to have 8 of my 9 grandkids nearby.
Is anyone living in the Pittsburgh area?I am going to do a show out  
there next September that will commemorate Rachel Carson's Silent  
Spring, published 50 years ago.
Be well, and may your journeys be long!

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 14, 2011, at 6:35 PM, "Jane M. Hill" <jhill at cybermesa.com> wrote:

> 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:
>             http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvcZxjQvq4I
> -- 
> *** Jane ***
> Cyber Mesa Telecom
> Santa Fe Headquarters
> Tel 505-988-9200
> Local Contact Numbers
> Ithaca
> 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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