Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Poetry, Anyone?

I've been reading a lot of poetry lately.

I love poems.

I especially enjoy short poems. It's like biting into a blow pop right away instead of sucking on it all day long; you get all the flavor, without spending all of that extra time waiting for the good part.

I'd taken an extended leave from poems for no apparent reason other than being too lazy to read them, but lately I've been back on my poetry reading kick. I marvel at the fact that every single word in a poem has a precise meaning and is chosen specifically for an intended purpose. There is no room for "fluff" verbiage in poetry. Too bad more things in life aren't like that.

Coincidentally, Kitten, Katherine, and Holly have posted poems on their blogs this week. Well, Kitten posted quotes, not poems and Katherine posted a link to a poem by one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson, but Holly definitely did post an original poem that her son wrote.

Anywho . . . I digress . . . something in the blogosphere lately has put poetry reading back on my mind. How's that for tying up a loose end? ;-)

While I dabble a little in original work, I'm ferociously sensitive when it comes to criticism, so I'll spare all of us that drama; however, I do want to share one of my very favorite poems. When I was a young girl, I was required to memorize this poem. Being the super-nerd that I was, I had it memorized lickity-split by the next day, much to my classmates' horror, but I didn't really understand it until much later. Whenever I'm going through a difficult time, or feeling like no one is really understanding who I am or what I'm about, I find myself reflecting on this poem.

Since that is where I find myself today. I thought instead of going on and on and on about the drama . . . I'd just leave you with something beautiful to read until I can pull myself together.

The only thing I don't understand is why he had to make the last line gender specific, but I'll forgive him that, it was a long time ago. So without further ado . . . I give you . . . If, by Rudyard Kipling.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Until next time . . .


Katy said...

Yours is the Earth and everything in it

I love that line. Hope everything brightens up for you soon!

kitten said...

You just hit me between the eyes! Thank you so much for sharing!

Frankie said...

Just popped in after seeing a post at WTM. Wanted to say hello.

I did not get a poetry gene, but this poem spoke volumes to me--something I needed to read tonight.

Sening good vibes your way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning James' poem. He's thrilled :-).

That's one of my favorites as well. I've read it to James but he's not quite to the getting it age. He has his lifetime to grow into it.

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