Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poems for a Tuesday

For some reason I've had a lot of poems on my mind today. A few from Shel but a couple of others too.  About a year ago I listened to someone in a park recite a wickedly long poem and it made me wish people still thought about poetry the same way they used to. My dad recites poems at the weirdest times and my Gram did too.  In fact, when I mentioned the story of the guy last year, my dad asked what poem it was and began reciting it almost verbatim.  Bjet is also notorious for this.  I love that.

As a kid, I kept quotes and soliloquies taped to my bathroom mirror and I would practice them while I got ready for the day (and much to my parents' chagrin, watched movies ad nauseum to memorize all the lines). Here are the ones floating around in my head today.  Hope you like them! :)

Listen ~ by Shel Silverstein

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the wonts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

IF by Rudyard Kipling (Michael Caine does a reading of this that I adore)

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 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!

The Garden - Shel Silverstein

Ol' man Simon, planted a diamond,
Grew hisself a garden the likes of none.
Sprouts all growin', comin' up glowin',
Fruit of jewels all shinin' in the sun.
Colors of the rainbow,
See the sun and rain grow
Sapphires and rubieson ivory vines,
Grapes of jade, just
Ready for the squeezin' into green jade wine.
Pure gold corn there,
Blowin' in the warm air,
Ol' crow nibblin' on the amnythyst seeds.
In between the diamonds, ol' man Simon
Crawls about pullin' out platinum weeds.
Pink pearl berries,
All you can carry,
Put 'em in a bushel and
Haul 'em into town.
Up in the tree there's
Opal nuts and gold pears--
Hurry quick, grab a stick
And shake some down.
Take a silver tater,
Emerald tomater,
Fresh plump coral melons
Hangin' in reach.
Ol' man Simon,
Diggin' in his diamonds,
Stops and rests and dreams about
One...real...peach.

Success - apparently of disputed origin but always quoted as Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

2 comments:

Maren said...

Oh I just love Shel! Just last week I framed this one and put it in my bathroom:)

"Teddy said it was a hat,
So I put it on.
Now Dad is saying,
"Where the heck's the toilet plunger gone?"

Trevor said...

Shel Silverstein - The garden - a classic - that is a vivid garden!

I am also a big, big fan of Rudyard Kipling's "If,'and I am involved with a group of other "If" enthusiasts in creating a website that is devoted to that poem, and it will include other similar poems, articles and music, all inspired by "If." I thought that you and your readers may be interested in this. It would be wonderful if you would consider including a link or adding it to your blogroll. We would love any articles or ideas for our blog! Please take a look: http://www.allthingsif.org

Wishing you a happy new year and a great 2012!

Trevor