[Oxford63] Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Nancy Luke nancy_luke at sbcglobal.net
Mon Sep 19 15:19:33 MDT 2011

Jane - thanks for sending the poem.  It is one to take to heart.


From: Jane M. Hill <jhill at cybermesa.com>
To: oxford63 at cyber-community.com
Sent: Wed, September 14, 2011 3:35:21 PM
Subject: [Oxford63] Jackie Kennedy Onassis

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

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IthacaWhen 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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