A whiff of If….

A WHIFF OF ‘IF’……AGAIN & AGAIN

GiGi movie poster

New York. September 9, 2010. As I still go through unpacking, arranging and maneouvering through the boxes and furniture and literally tons and tons and tons of books in my new city, and before I get the time to sit down to write any long posts, here’s a short one – of one of my favourite poems since I was a little girl: A poem which first written in 1895 still holds true to this day…….and somewhere still stirs up that 19th century Victorian part of my soul, even as I walk along the asphalt sidewalks and 21st century stores of the Big Apple, or traverse past its 19th and 20th century buildings.

Though I’ve always had my reservations against British imperialism, or the circumstances under which this particular poem was written, the writer of this gem and many of his fascinating books that I read as a child still remains one of my favourites – the youngest Nobel laureate in literature to this day, the Bombay-born literary genius Rudyard Kipling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling)

And as I feel inspired reading his poem once again (which I used to keep posted on the wall above my drafting table through all my years in architecture school and at work), the only line I’d change would be at the very end – for that is how I always read it in my mind: instead of ‘you’ll be a Man, my son’ I change it internally to: ‘You’ll be a complete WoMan.’ As a certain 1903-born woman writer Anais Nin had rightly said : “How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.” Here’s to a sniff of IF, to every good, kind and strong man and woman.

GG (or ‘Gigi’ in the Victorian spirit ;-)

GiGi from the fin-de-siecle-Paris movie

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IF

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!

-Rudyard Kipling (1835 – 1936)

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For a list of all previous posts, please go here :

https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/index-of-articles/

2 thoughts on “A whiff of If….

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