Ithaca, Or, Saturday Morning at 6:59am


Thursday my mother and stepfather hosted a dinner for immediate families, at the Foreign Cinema restaurant in San Francisco. The setting and flowers were gorgeous.

Friday my father and stepmother hosted a rehearsal dinner at their house, for the families and out-of-town guests. Also beautiful. My father read a poem. Particularly relevant as my brother is marrying at 50 for the first time.

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 voyage.
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 must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

And tonight is the wedding, and a beginning for my brother. Please send him your good thoughts, if you would be so kind. As I have said, I promise to post pictures. Weddings are about promises, after all. Keeping them, and knowing which you must make in the first place.

Flowers by Studio Choo

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49 Comments

  • 05/07/11
    7:08 am

    Reply

    kathy peck leeds said...

    Congratulations and much happiness to your brother and his soon to be wife.
    Love the poem.

  • 05/07/11
    7:09 am

    Reply

    Marguerite Krenek said...

    Beautifully put, LPC. All the best to your brother and wife on their wedding day!

  • 05/07/11
    7:11 am

    Reply

    Lily Lemontree (AS) said...

    Oh, I how have always loved this poem! Can’t wait to see all the pictures from the wedding!
    Sending your brother all my good thoughts and wishes for his special day! May God bless both him and his bride today and always!
    Hope you have a splendid weekend my friend!

  • 05/07/11
    7:20 am

    Reply

    Candy Dye said...

    Congratulations to your brother and his bride! Best wishes for a long and happy life!

  • 05/07/11
    7:24 am

    Reply

    Flo said...

    Gosh, even though I’ve had this poem in my permanent file for years, it never fails to produce chills again and again, and again just now. What a sublime choice, what a wonderful sendoff, and I add all my best to the ‘burning’ bride and groom.

  • 05/07/11
    7:26 am

    Reply

    The Preppy said...

    This made me cry and smile at the same time. Much love and many prayers directed in a westerly direction.

  • 05/07/11
    7:28 am

    Reply

    HHH said...

    That, of course, was the poem read at Jackie Kennedy’s funeral. I love that poem.

  • 05/07/11
    7:28 am

    Reply

    Laura said...

    What a lovely poem for him to have read. Sending good thoughts right now!

  • 05/07/11
    8:01 am

    Reply

    Belle de Ville said...

    This is so beautiful:
    “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.”

    Congratulations to your brother and his bride.

  • 05/07/11
    8:03 am

    Reply

    Jill said...

    May their life together be filled with laughter and joy!!
    I just love weddings…

  • 05/07/11
    8:07 am

    Reply

    Buckeroomama said...

    Congratulations and best wishes to your brother and his bride.

    What a lovely poem your father chose to read. So beautiful, so fitting.

  • 05/07/11
    8:11 am

    Reply

    lauren said...

    go team wedding! here’s to the culmination of all of the marvelous sisterly work you’ve done. frolic like a child of the night, my dear lisa.

  • 05/07/11
    8:12 am

    Reply

    Aleatha said...

    A lovely and thoughtful poem, perfect for a lovely occasion. Best wishes to the happy couple!

  • 05/07/11
    8:38 am

    Reply

    firstmilk said...

    Oh, Cavafy. Such a fine one.

    Raise high the roof beam, carpenters! Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man.

  • 05/07/11
    8:58 am

    Reply

    Mary anne said...

    Congratulations to your brother. Here’s to a long and happy marriage.

  • 05/07/11
    9:06 am

    Reply

    deja pseu said...

    Best wishes to your brother and soon-to-be-sister-in-law.

    That’s a gorgeous poem, and so fitting.

  • 05/07/11
    9:15 am

    Reply

    DocP said...

    Beautiful poem. May they have a long, loving and happy marriage.

  • 05/07/11
    9:16 am

    Reply

    hostessofthehumblebungalow said...

    Lisa…
    Oh it’s tonight!
    Best best wishes for your brother and SIL for a marvelous wedding and a happy future of wedded “bliss” :)

    Please show us a picture of you in your Prada and Bittar.

    Enjoy every second…
    Happy Mother’s Day weekend to you too.

  • 05/07/11
    9:18 am

    Reply

    Susan said...

    All the best to your brother, Lisa, on his and his new wife’s “beautiful voyage”.

    Susan

  • 05/07/11
    9:33 am

    Reply

    Paula said...

    Dear Lisa, I wish you a very festive and successful wedding party and your brother all the best!
    plus Love, Love and Love!

  • 05/07/11
    9:42 am

    Reply

    Colleen Wainwright said...

    Congratulations to the groom and best wishes to the bride. And mazel tov to the entire clan. A wedding between people who want to and should be together? Such a happy thing!

  • 05/07/11
    10:21 am

    Reply

    K-Line said...

    Wishing them all the happiness in the world! Have a wonderful time Lisa!

  • 05/07/11
    10:48 am

    Reply

    Ida said...

    Wishing your brother and wife to be,much happiness and many years together.

    The beautiful poem Ithaca says it all.Ida

  • 05/07/11
    11:06 am

    Reply

    BarbaraG said...

    Sending congratulations to your brother and sister in law. Blessings for happiness as you become
    husband and wife.
    And Happy Mother’s Day to LPC.
    BarbaraG

  • 05/07/11
    11:20 am

    Reply

    Town and Country Mom said...

    Best wishes to your brother and his new wife. May the beauty and joy of their wedding season their marriage for the rest of their lives!

  • 05/07/11
    11:23 am

    Reply

    Town and Country Mom said...

    Um, I meant for “season” to be read as a verb in the first comment. You probably knew that, but when I read it after it was published, I thought it might be confusing. Have fun this weekend!

  • 05/07/11
    12:22 pm

    Reply

    Marcy Simmons said...

    Well said, Lisa! All the best wishes for your brother and sister-in-law.

  • 05/07/11
    12:54 pm

    Reply

    Susan said...

    A beautiful poem. I love it that your father offered it at this time. I’ll be thinking about the wedding tonight.

  • 05/07/11
    1:26 pm

    Reply

    materfamilias said...

    What a wonderful poem, gorgeous sentiment! There is no doubt this will be a marvellous wedding, the launch of a long and happy marriage, blessed by the love and support of family and friends. Enjoy the festivities.

  • 05/07/11
    2:05 pm

    Reply

    A Gift Wrapped Life said...

    Wishing your brother and his bride a magical day and many years of happiness and wedding bliss. Enjoy the festivities!

  • 05/07/11
    3:53 pm

    Reply

    Jamie said...

    Happy, Hhppy day to the bride and groom! And to you…have a wonderful time!

  • 05/07/11
    3:55 pm

    Reply

    Preppy 101 said...

    Wishing all the happiness in the world to your brother and his bride. Have fun!! XOXO

  • 05/07/11
    4:09 pm

    Reply

    A Farmer's Wife said...

    Best wishes to your brother and his new bride.

  • 05/07/11
    5:23 pm

    Reply

    MJ said...

    All the best to your brother and his wife. I wish them a long and happy journey together.

  • 05/08/11
    3:59 am

    Reply

    agirl said...

    Sending all of you my love.

  • 05/08/11
    8:48 am

    Reply

    Rose said...

    Beautiful flowers! Congratulations to your brother and sister-in-law!

  • 05/08/11
    4:03 pm

    Reply

    Duchesse said...

    This made me cry. My beloved nephew approaches 50, never married, the reasons apparent (though perhaps imagined- but I think not) to me. To let love so deeply inside, at this point in life, is a momentous passage. Of course I will think of them, light a candle and hope my own hopes.

  • 05/08/11
    4:12 pm

    Reply

    herpreppiness said...

    That’s the same poem that Maurice Templesman read at Jackie O’s funeral. Love that poem.

  • 05/08/11
    6:34 pm

    Reply

    Colleen said...

    Congratulations! Much joy and happiness to your brother and new sister-in-law.
    And Happy Mother’s Day to you too!
    Best,
    Colleen

  • 05/08/11
    7:10 pm

    Reply

    Olivia said...

    A close family friend read this poem at my high school graduation party a few years ago. It’s so beautiful. Congrats to your brother!

  • 05/08/11
    11:34 pm

    Reply

    SewingLibrarian said...

    What a lovely poem! By now the festivities have ended, but the couple’s wedded life together has just begun. May they have many happy years together. I hope you had a smashing good time.

  • 05/09/11
    3:59 am

    Reply

    Reggie Darling said...

    I first learned of Cavafy as a college student, when I was transfixed–riveted–by the beauty and intensity of his language. Your father is clearly an erudite man, and his selection of Ithaca was quite brilliant. Thank you for sharing the festivities and preparations leading up to your brother’s wedding. How fortunate is he to have you as a sister, and both of his parents still with him at this momentus event in his life. Congratulations to one and all. Reggie

  • 05/09/11
    5:11 am

    Reply

    Louise said...

    This poem was read at our wedding, and I was just talking about it with a friend yesterday. How nice to see it again.

    Many blessings upon the happy couple!

  • 05/09/11
    6:10 am

    Reply

    Belgie said...

    Congratulations on having one of the most sophisticated blogs I’ve come across in some time! It’s just incredible how much you can take away from something simply because of how visually beautiful it is. You’ve put together a great blog space –great graphics, videos, and layout. This is definitely a must-see blog!

  • 05/09/11
    6:47 am

    Reply

    MJS said...

    Wonderful, wonderful choice of poem. One of the best.

    Dear Privileged Brother – you have my very best wishes. To marry later in life, and to have such a life that combines WASP privilege and Burning Man, shows that you have thought for yourself and had adventures and experiences. May this marriage be a sweetest new one.

  • 05/09/11
    6:57 am

    Reply

    Caroline said...

    Congratulations to your brother and best wishes to his new wife!

  • 05/09/11
    12:21 pm

    Reply

    Lara in Long Beach said...

    Brilliant poem! Blessing on your brother and his bride for a lifetime of joy!

    Must go now….must look up Cavafy….feel an obsession coming on…….

  • 05/10/11
    8:14 pm

    Reply

    Courtney Fullerton said...

    Ah. The dear friend who married us also read this poem to us during the ceremony. Lovely choice. Best wishes to your brother and his bride!

  • 05/19/11
    7:17 am

    Reply

    little augury said...

    Ithaca is dear to my heart-and obviously apropos to any of life’s journey’s ,happy travels to you and your family.

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