Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today I spent some time organizing my hundreds and hundreds (thousands?) of poems. I clipped all the loose poems into my two large binders, arranging them with the other ones in alphabetical order by titles. It was good to see them so tidily placed together, and I took some pleasure in merely flipping through them, reading a few but mostly just admiring the sheer numbers of them. Over the last five or six years I’ve put a lot of myself down on paper, and glancing through these orderly binders gave me a sense, I guess, of the order and harmony of my life. I’ve had my share of struggles and predicaments, but somehow the words of the poems painted a picture of overall concord. Perhaps, one way or another, the intrinsic peace of the universe finds its way into my poems without my knowing it.



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!

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