Friday, July 13, 2007


When you set out on your journey to the perfect fountain pen,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Oasicos and the Dieths,
the vulgar e-bay seller -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty,
if a fineemotion touches your spirit and your body.

Pray that the road is long.
That the writing sections are many,
when,with such pleasure, with such joy
you will buy new pens seen for the first time;
stop at the Marketplaces and the Green Board,
and purchase fine merchandise,
red hard rubber and celluloid, stubs and flex nibs,
and colorful inks of all kinds,
as many exotic plastics as you can;
visit many fountain pen boards and shows,
to learn and learn from pen gurus and make friends.

Always keep the perfect pen 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 finally write with it when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that fountain pens will offer you riches.

Fountain pens have given you the beautiful voyage.
Without them you would have never set out on the road.
They have nothing more to give you.

And if you find it poor (and you will ), the perfect fountain pen has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what perfect fountain pens, vintage or modern, mean.

PS> This is "contextualization" of an original poem by Constantine Cavafy


MM said...

I read Cavafy's poems last fall, very good! I also learnt a lot about ancient history..

My housemate just showed me an alternate translation of this poem (Ithaca -- or is it Ithaka?) last week.

Nice work, you hardly had to alter it!!

Unknown said...

A fine poem. The joy truly is in the voyage.

If you reached this page, chances are that you are interested in the history of fountain pens. Patents offer an interesting insight for the history of our beloved pens. You should consider purchasing George Kovalenko's book on Fountain Pen Patents 1911-1950s. Click here for more information. This is a labor of love and is the most comprehensive collection of pen patents that exists. George works currently on the first volume, which I am waiting anxiously for.