Sparks: The Humble Importance of Water, Bijoux to Lift the Spirits and Jackie Kennedy’s Funeral Poem

My intention for the year 2013 is to cultivate a spirit of radiance and sunlight and champagne and all things sparkly. Sure, that might make me seem like a glitterberry-obsessed pre-teen, but being in touch with that inner sparklepony might be a good thing for me these days — and something fun to think about in the middle of winter. I did a semi-regular Sparks column before chronicling what I was reading and inspired by, but I’m skewing it a bit now to keep track of what’s bringing forth the love and light in my life.

+ I made a bit of effort to wear some nice bijouterie everyday. What can I say? Sometimes it’s nice to catch a flash of lovely sparkle on the wrist during the day, or a bit of twinkle on your ears when you toss your hair back into a messy bun or ponytail. It’s a nice tonic for the spirit during this long, dark days and nights of late winter.


+ As I mentioned before, I had a bit of an ailment on New Year’s Eve but I got it under control with a kind doctor’s help, a prescription for some mild antibiotics and a massive quantity of water. I forget how amazing drinking water is, and how essential it is to good health. I had always drunk a nice amount before, but having to drink lots and lots and lots of it actually worked some other minor miracles: it cleared up my skin, make me sleep better (if I went to the loo before I hit the sheets) and generally staved off that kind of thirst that masquerades itself as hunger. I think I went from drinking about 60+ ozs to a full 3-4 liters? Anyway, maybe it’s something to keep doing, even though all is good now. It is a lot of work to drink that much water, though. Are there any champion water drinkers out there with tips on how they boost their amount everyday?

(In tribute to my native astrological element, here’s a gloriously stunning live version of “Water” — still my favorite track from her early days. This is from Glastonbury in 1995, and is my most favorite rendition of this song. So, so beautiful! You will not regret listening to it.)

+ Poems feed the soul. I used to read so many more of them, but then a girl has to work, to write and to do so much and then time to read for pleasure and leisure gets crowded out. I used to read poems to “keep up” with literature, to analyze their use of language and metaphor, to deconstruct their themes. Now I ask just that the language move me — that they make me a tiny more expanded and wise in intellect, heart or spirit after I’m done with them. (Or: that they make me laugh! Which is why I’m very fond of Michael Robbins’ poems, especially when they reference heavy metal.) Here’s one I read recently, by Constantine P. Cavafy. I didn’t know this until after I looked it up, but it was recited at Jacqueline Kennedy’s funeral.


When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

Isn’t that lovely? As a lot of us are thinking our Ithakas for the year, it’s nice to remember that it’s earning, learning, fighting for or easing into our destination that is the source of the real riches in our life.

5 thoughts on “Sparks: The Humble Importance of Water, Bijoux to Lift the Spirits and Jackie Kennedy’s Funeral Poem

  1. omg that poem has been a way-finder for me ever since a friend gifted me with it when I was living in England many many moons ago. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have it pop up here today!

    1. yes, i recently rediscovered it after reading it ages upon ages ago! i liked it a lot back then, but i don’t think it resonated as much as it does now for me. i thought it was a nice thing to re-read at the start of a new year, so i’m glad you enjoyed seeing it again!

      xo k.

  2. Happy New Year, Kat! I like your intentions for 2013, and this entry helped remind me that a) I love that Cavafy poem and b) you have outlined a very good reason for making an effort to wear jewellery, something I very rarely do. So, thank you!

    1. happy new year to you, teri! hope it’s a lovely one! glad you enjoyed the poem again…thought it was a nice thing to read at the start of 2013. and yes, it’s worth the effort to wear jewelry! honestly, i’m inclined to wear little of it myself. most of the things i usually wear tend to be of more personal than decorative value. but i’m discovering it’s certainly nice to have a bit of sparkle here and there…it pleases the eye 🙂

      xo k.

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