Ithaka is a poem which makes heavy reference to The Odyssey. Indeed, the title of Ithaka refers to Odysseus's homeland, to which he is trying to return, and Homer's poem is itself the central thematic motif which Cavafy returns to over and over again.
The first stanza carries within it the fundamental core message of the poem: it's the journey to Ithaka (which serves as a metaphor for everyone's journey through life) which is its own reward (and hence, you see the poet's hope that the journey is long). Along with Odysseus's homeland, we also see here references to the Cyclops, the Laistrygonians, and Poseidon himself. These all are referring to threats which Odysseus has to contend with, but in the poem, Cavafy invokes them with the admonition not to fear such obstacles, or to be disheartened by them.
The second stanza opens with the same admonition that could be found in the first: "Hope your road is a long one" (Cavafy, transl. by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard). In this stanza, Cavafy,...
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