When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
At the noisy end of the cafe, head bent
over the table, an old man sits alone,
a newspaper in front of him.
And if you can't shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
The days of the future stand in front of us
Like a line of candles all alight----
Golden and warm and lively little candles.
The days that are past are left behind,
The Alexandrians were gathered
to see Cleopatra's children,
Caesarion, and his little brothers,
Alexander and Ptolemy, whom for the first
I do not question whether I am happy or unhappy.
Yet there is one thing that I keep gladly in mind --
that in the great addition (their addition that I abhor)
that has so many numbers, I am not one
Like beautiful bodies of the dead, who had not grown old
and they shut them with tears, in a magnificent mausoleum,
with roses at the head and jasmine at the feet --
that is how desires look that have passed
Body, remember not only how much you were loved
not only the beds you lay on.
but also those desires glowing openly
in eyes that looked at you,
On an ebony bed decorated
with coral eagles, sound asleep lies
Nero --- unconscious, quiet, and blissful;
thriving in the vigor of flesh,
You said, "I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found, a better one than this.
Every effort of mine is a condemnation of fate;
and my heart is -- like a corpse -- buried.