"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Celebrating National Poetry Month

Two very famous ones, but they stand the test of time, and are just two of my favorites.

If by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are loosing 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 warn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
   And never breathe 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! (Woman, my daughter!)


The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

When I think of poetry these are the first two that come to my mind.  But there is so much out there, song lyrics today are what our children think of when you mention poetry.  I was so glad to see my son studying poetry this year, his Junior year of high school and learning all the different types or formula poetry, but also free form, no rhyme or reason.  He even wrote some beautiful poems himself, although I know this was definitely not his favorite part of English class.  I always loved it and even took poetry classes voluntarily in college.

It is nice to have a National Poetry Month but it would be nice to celebrate it all year long, maybe I will.  Please let me know your thoughts of share your favorites.



Kelly said...

"If" is one of my favorites as well! :)

Mari said...

I love both of these. I don't think I could pick a favorite, but I've always been fond of "Jenny Kissed Me" by Leigh Hunt.