I met Ginny and Lenny Fox at Judson Memorial Church. Ginny died the day after Mother’s Day. She hadn’t eaten in years. She drank some stuff that sustained her physically. Intellectually and emotionally, she sustained the rest of us. She and Lenny, her late husband, traveled. He carried her supply of canned nourishment and they had a ball. At different times, they and I had stayed at the Pensione Accademia in Venice. She and I enjoyed talking about the pensione and Venice (duh). Ginny and I were supposed to have gone to the Remnick-Comy New Yorker interview at Town Hall but she had returned from Greece the day of the event, not well. Her impeccable manners reigned. She emailed me, suggesting I ask someone else. Her daughter posted heartfelt news about her mother who had hospice care at home. This poems will be read at Ginny’s memorial. I looked up Laistrygonians on Wikipedia. They were man-eating giants who ate most of Odysseus’s crew.
BY C. P. CAVAFY
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
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.
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 your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing 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 learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t 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’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.
Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.
Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing? His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School? Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook?