Poetry

What These Ithakas Mean

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Esquimalt Lagoon

 

Not so much writing this fall. It was full of doing.

Sailing through the holidays, through the dark, to the New Year.

Ithaka

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.     – CP Cavafy

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The Day I Met the Dalai Lama

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The day I met the Dalai Lama,

I don’t remember what the weather was.

But it was in front of our church,

so it wasn’t raining.

I know that at least.

 

The day I met the Dalai Lama,

I don’t remember how old I was.

But she held my hand,

and I knew Love.

I remember that seed.

 

The day I met the Dalai Lama,

He looked like a small nun.

Not the old fashioned kind;

her only distinguishing marks,

were a large cross and a practical navy skirt.

 

The day I met the Dalai Lama,

I might have been mistaken.

I might have met Guanyin,

or the Buddha,

or even Jesus.

 

But, we’ve all seen

the Dalai Lama on TV.

And sometimes,

seeing is believing.

Inside Out

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Rain-drops

 

It is wet, wet, wet outside,

and so I’m listening inside.

Sara Kay