Friday, March 16, 2012


Now remember I read the poem Phenomenal Woman at Life House during their Women Rule event? Well, I discovered this poem If by Rudyard Kipling that night and my first thought was: I know this poem!

I didn't, as it turned out. I only recognised the first line from the song Inherit the Wind by Wilton Felder.

I love the sentiments expressed in the poem.

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!


deji said...

Hi ore, I see that you are on fire!.Keep it up.Am too lazy to write a blog.I enjoy reading than writing.(always wondered how I paased law exams!!!)
Rudyard Kipling ..Quintessential English man.Some considered him a bit of racist..."East is East,West is west,and never the twain shall meet"..this was his justification for the colonial oppression of the so called India sub-continent
'IF' is really a majestic poem .It is on par with Reinhold Niebuhr's serenity prayer..GOD,give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed........
Ican only take Maya Angelou in small doses..find her poems a bit treacly,syrupy!
A book of poetry I bought last year was Derek Walcott's Kansas and Omeros..I think he is the greatest living black contemporary poet.
Phillip Larkin was another poet whose work i enjoyed immensely.Actually a legacy of my ENGLISH A' levels and English boarding school!
Anyway,loved his caustic and irreverent outlook on life.
Will try and pop in to your bookshop. Patabah...can you tell me the meaning of this name..
anyway keep blogging.take care of yourself

deji said...

Ore, missed the bit about Wilton Felder of the Crusaders.Don't tell me you are a jazz head as well.Alot of women in Lagos seem to listen to Gospel(are they sinners?} or the rubbish that passes for music in Nigeria nowadays...D'benj and his ilk.

Ore said...

I guess now that I've been persuaded to return to blogging, my old love for it has been resuscitated too. I sincerely hope that I can keep it up.

'If' is the poem I'd have preferred to have read at the Women Rule event, as it is such a wonderful exhortation to live life boldly and fearlessly, which I think would have resounded with the women in the audience - well, anyone really.

Normally, I am not interested in poetry, but a reading we had at Patabah last month featuring the book "Hope's Wristwatch", which contained poetry started to make me change my mind. The poems were actually accessible and interesting.

I didn't realise that Wilton Felder was part of The Crusaders. I also happen to like The Crusaders.

There's a lot of inventive music around in Nigeria now. While I agree that a lot are sub-par imitations of hip-hop, there's so much that is fun to listen to.

I love gospel too o! But then my tastes run the gamut of the genres.

Ah, the mystery behind the name Patabah...... That is a story told only to visitors to the shop. Sorry :)