Thursday, October 08, 2009

National Poetry Day Heroes and Heroines

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme is Heroes and Heroines. I don't know abut you but at school we had to learn a lot of poetry and try and write some. I was absolutely hopeless at this and used to hate it.

Skip a generation and when my own daughters were young they were both quite good at poetry and Sam in particular often wrote poems some I still have. This is why I think she was very good at writing slogans, for competitions, that used to win her some very good prizes.

Skip on another generation and I now have grandchildren who have written poetry for school projects. What I now realise is that this is all part of the creative process and maybe it missed out in me, although when push came to shove I did manage a few feeble attempts when I did some of the 40 or less photo challenges that Robin organised last year. This event focused on a picture and you had to write a caption or poem in 40 words or less.

I am thankful the rest of the family have a much better gift of language and poetry than I do. There are many poems that I enjoy and I wouldn't actually say I have a favourite but I will leave you with this little reminder as it seems apt, given that so many of our young men and women are fighting a futile war and they are all heroes and heroines:

IF by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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!

Kipling is said to have written the poem 'If' with Dr Leander Starr Jameson in mind, who led about five-hundred of his countrymen in a failed raid against the Boers, in southern Africa. The 'Jameson Raid' was later considered a major factor in starting the Boer War (1899-1902).
Now the brain is very clever so just for fun see if you can read the same poem when the words are jumbled........

The jmbleud wdros torhey datrmneeosts jsut how caalbpe the biarn is at arnboibsg mneaing far mroe qilcuky tahn msot wrietrs wuold eevr iaimnge.

And a fnail daioertomstnn of how celver yuor barin is - can you raed tihs?...

'If' by rrdayud kipilng

If you can keep yuor haed wehn all aobut you
Are lnsiog thiers and bianmlg it on you,
If you can turst yusrleof wehn all men dbout you,
But mkae alanowlce for tehir duontbig too;
If you can wiat and not be tierd by wntiaig,
Or bineg leid auobt, don't dael in leis,
Or benig htead, don't gvie way to hiatng,
And yet don't look too good, nor tlak too wsie:

If you can darem - and not mkae dmaers yuor msater,
If you can tihnk - and not mkae ttghhous yuor aim;
If you can meet wtih Tpumirh and Dtseasir
And traet thsoe two iortmspos jsut the smae;
If you can baer to haer the trtuh you've spoekn
Tesiwtd by kevnas to mkae a tarp for floos,
Or wtcah the tinhgs you gvae yuor lfie to, breokn,
And sotop and bluid 'em up wtih wron-out tolos:

If you can mkae one haep of all yuor wininngs
And rsik it all on one trun of ptich-and-tsos,
And lsoe, and sratt aiagn at yuor bniiggnens
And nveer baerth a wrod aoubt yuor lsos;
If you can froce yuor hraet and nrvee and sniew
To svree yuor trun lnog afetr tehy are gnoe,
And so hlod on wehn trehe is nhontig in you
Epxcet the Wlil whcih syas to tehm: "Hlod on!"

If you can tlak wtih crdwos and keep yuor vturie,
Or wlak wtih kngis - nor lsoe the cmmoon tcuoh,
If nheeitr feos nor liovng fdriens can hrut you,
If all men cunot wtih you, but nnoe too mcuh;
If you can flil the uigrnonvfig mnuite
Wtih stxiy snceods' wotrh of dinstace run,
Yuros is the Etrah and envyeirthg taht's in it,
And - whcih is mroe - you'll be a Man, my son!

2008: None
2007: Fun Monday-36
2006: On a clear day

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At 8/10/09 16:31, Anonymous daffy said...

Marvelous! A wonderful and carefully selected poem in keeping with the theme and a brain teaser! ;o) My brain is already teased but I'm keeping going!

At 8/10/09 18:24, Blogger Beccy said...

I was rubbish at poetry.

Dillon is pretty good though.

At 8/10/09 18:34, Anonymous Kila said...

Enjoyed it. Yes, could read it all. I very much enjoy poetry, but coming up with it on my own, getting started, can take a while.

At 8/10/09 21:06, Anonymous Flighty said...

Hello, I've called by via Daffy's blog.
Well done on choosing something a little bit different on this theme.
I'm doing a weekend follow up post 'More Heroes and Heroines' on my blog and will include a linked mention to this post. xx

At 8/10/09 22:23, Blogger ChrisB said...

Daffy my hubby is a huge Kipling fan and this has always been a favourite of mine.

Beccy I thought you were OK. I wished I'd had one of Dillon's poems I would have used it.

Kila, I know just what you mean about getting started.

Flighty thanks for visiting me. I'll drop by over the weekend and read your post.

At 9/10/09 17:36, Anonymous Swampy said...

Did you type this or did you copy and paste from somewhere?
Wow !
The second poem made me a little cross-eyed.
All my middle school students memorized "If."
I just hoped that instead of memorizing the words, that UNDERSTOOD what those words meant.

At 9/10/09 22:28, Blogger ChrisB said...

Swampy I typed it, of course!!!!! ;) LOL

At 10/10/09 09:10, Blogger Pamela said...

I remember hearing my dad reciting pieces from "Snow-Bound," by John Greenleaf Whittier

He apparently memorized it in grade school back in the early 1900s.

I don't think kids get to enjoy that part of education anymore.

At 10/10/09 09:11, Blogger Pamela said...

ps. "If" really spoke to me.

At 12/10/09 01:47, Anonymous nikkipolani said...

Ugh. I don't think I can manage the jumbled version - though I much enjoyed the first round!


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