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Now, It Is The Father Of All Poems!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    Thanks for your enthusiastic support and great participation. Some of your responses have made me think much more than what I did when I originally conceived my post.

    I think now a pattern has been set. We have heavy lessons on emotions in the middle of the week. And in the week-end, we have some great works to refresh our mind and prepare it for the heavy lesson next week. But don't for a moment think that I am giving lessons and you are taking it. We are learning together and in many instances I end up learning much more than you.

    So in honouring the pattern I am posting this week, the Father of All Poems, IF by Rudyard Kipling. A poem which got its author the Nobel Prize and a poem which is sure to give us all something more precious than that – a good, happy life.

    From the mother of all poems to the father, the chronological distance is a mere week. But it may take lifetimes to appreciate these great works.

    I am sure that like Desiderata this will also find a place in your heart.
    Happy reading and a happy week-end,
    Varalotti


    IF
    (A Poem By Rudyard Kipling)


    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 impostors just the same
    If you can bear to hear the truth you have spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you give your life to,broken,
    And stoop to 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 every thing that's in it
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2006
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  2. safa

    safa Bronze IL'ite

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    If if if .........

    hi,
    The father is serious than the mother...
    I enjoyed reading three or four times the choices of life given by RK.
    thanks for sharing this great work...
     
  3. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Fathers Are Always Harder!

    Dear Shahana,
    thanks for being the first to comment on this. I think that other ILites also share your view that the father is a little harder. That is why they are staying away.
    Agreed fathers are harder and not as sweet as mother. But many a time in life we learn the lesson only in the hard way. And hence mostly through our father.

    Now in an attempt to soften the 'father' I thought of giving some little explanations for the hard words in the poem:
    The portion I like the most is this:

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds worth of distance run,

    Many a time our mind is filled with blind rage. We cannot just wait to vent our anger on some soft targets - our children, spouses, the maid, our subordinates and so on. But who feels sad after that? Only us. Assume we had shouted at our child for no fault of hers. The child might cry at the moment and at the very next will forget that and come and hug us. At that time our eyes will be shedding tears of blood.
    Kipling suggests that the unforgiving minute be filled with sixty seconds worth of distance run. Literally it means keep away the raging mind for just sixty seconds. Anger has ruined many lives, wrecked many marriages and has spoiled many a career. So sixty seconds worth of distance run will make all the difference between heaven and hell, right here on this earth.
    regards,
    Varalotti
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    "If" is not hard, it is heavy !

    My dear Sridhar,
    Unlike mine, yours is a recipe for “food for thought”!
    Is not generally father the better disciplinarian of both the parents ? No wonder, he gives us a set of rules to “grow up” in life ! They are mottos to develop:

    equanimity
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those impostors just the same

    personal integrity
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
    But make allowance for their doubting too

    self development
    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you

    I liked best the following
    hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them "Hold On!"
    This is highly inspirational to me and makes me feel, that if we refuse to “give up” and “hold on” relentlessly, the best in us will reveal itsef at the right time. ! This is almost my personal philosophy at this age !
    This poem has truth which is valid for all times and is one of the most inspirational, I have ever come across.
    You made our “emotions” work last week and now it is “meat for the mind” !
    Great going, Sridhar !
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  5. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Great words

    Dear Sridhar,

    I am totally indebted to you for bringing these wonderful poems and articles to us. This week's poem is no less than the last week's and every line is laden with wisdom. The quotes that you and Chitra have elaborated on are very potent. I don't know if I can pick and choose any one or two lines as outstanding. It would be great if we could let ourselves follow those lines without wavering, easily said than done. Thanks to you for these wonderful gems and for letting us contemplate on their significance. Please bring more to our attention. I find myself very lucky to get the pick of the lot without having to do the footwork. I shall appreciate good book suggestions from you, they are very welcome.

    L, Kamla
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chitra,

    thanks for the feedback, the intrepretation and the inspiration.
    And poems like this are not to be just read once, they have to be read, re-read again and again till the meaning soaks into the very roots of our being.

    And Rudyard Kipling, may his soul always remain blessed, lived his immortal words. When his son died in the war he treated that imposter of diaster with equanimity.

    And the poetic beauty of this classical poem lies in the last two lines
    Yours is the Earth and every thing that's in it
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

    The poet promises the reader the whole earth and everything that's in it. And then in the final line goes one step higher and says, "you will be a man, my son." Being a human being is something much more precious than owning the entire earth. A must read for those who go on accumulating their wealth and possessions.
    And women need not be put off by the words addressed to a man. Kipling wrote this poem for his son and hence he has taken the liberty of so addressing.

    Thanks Chitra for your encouraging comments.
    sridhar
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, Mira's Grandma!

    Dear Kamla,
    The work and the duty of the writer is to spread the good words across to as many people as possible.
    And I am indebted to you for the profuse words of praise.
    Let me just add an observation here.
    When we read inspirational pieces like this there is some change happening in our heart. Maybe we cant be following the lines of poem from tomorrow onwards. As you rightly pointed out, "easier said than done." But then what is the point in reading them?

    We will at least know that there is something called an ideal and it would be like this. And when you read these words again and again, the words slowly soak into your being.
    And we may not change today, tomorrow, next year, in the next 100 lives. Doesn't matter. But we have clearly seen the direction. And one day we will have the strength to traverse the route.
    Nature is in no hurry to mould us. A flower takes its own time to blossom. And so is the case with us.

    Now to pick on some more lines, (Please do not think I am giving a commentary; I know very well that you can appreciate the classic poem even without my intro, but having posted the poem cant help saying a few things)
    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch
    This is a subtle advice which only a man who has lived his life well can give. You can see many people who befriend the VVIPs. And once they have the contact of VVIPs they will not talk to common people or will do it with condescension.
    And there is the other extreme. Who will get so close and chummy with every one that in the process they would lose their dignity and also inconvenience the other person.
    I had a friend, a software engineer in Bangalore. Once we drove down to Bangalore in another friend's car. As we reached the first friends house and were about to take rest, he called the driver in. I thought he was going to give some food or money to the driver. But instead he made the driver sit with us while we were chatting.
    There is no question of any of us being status-conscious and all. But that poor fellow, the driver, was very uncomfortable. He could not talk with us. Nor could he sit quite. He started fidgeting. Then I sent him out on some pretext. You should have seen the relief in that guys face.
    One has to be kind and compassionate to the driver; but should not make him uncomfortable by these blind acts of kindness.
    At another extreme was my grandmother. A good, kindly soul but heavily dependent on the maid. When the maid did not come she will be in hell. So to make the Maid come regularly she will be so kind, so soft and so indulging that in the end the Maid started ordering her around.

    And then the VVIPs. Once I was a consultant to a Politician who later became a Minister and all. He was very popular and 200 people will be waiting to see him every day. When he became my client, I vowed to myself, that I would not ask for any favour from him. I will go to his house, discuss his problem and come out. In other words I kept my distance. And we had a good relationship till he died.

    I never used his name to get favours outside. So there was no need for me to cringe before him. That is the meaning of Kiplings words, Or walk with kings.

    Sorry for the long reply, Kamla. Since some of the ILites feel that this poem is harder to digest I am explaining a couple of lines in every reply.
    Thanks for your encouragement. Your words spur me to find more and more interesting, important poems to be posted in this forum week after week.

    Wishes to Mira,
    sridhar
     
  8. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The more the better!

    Dear Sridhar,

    How can you even suggest that I might object to your explanation and analysis of the poem. It is like you are not only showing the menu, but also inviting for dinner! I would be stupid not to appreciate such generosity. Besides the footwork you do for us, you are also making it easy for us to understand the significance of the words without taxing our own minds!! I am gulping it all down with enthusiasm:)
    "When we read inspirational pieces like this there is some change happening in our heart."
    "We will at least know that there is something called an ideal and it would be like this. And when you read these words again and again, the words slowly soak into your being."
    I was pleasantly surprised to read the above two quotes from you as they are an exact reflection of my thoughts! I totally agreee with you. When we read good books or when we associate with good people and thoughts, some of it is bound to rub off on us. Hence the saying --You are judged by the company you keep.
    One should have the equanimity of balancing the good with bad. Also, it needs a certain amount of character to not let fame and proximity to fame go to your head. What goes up will come down...or so they say.
    Well, see the direction my post has taken!! All comes from sniffing at some good reads:)

    L, Kamla (or Mira's Oma!)
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    That Was A Good Post

    Dear Kamla,

    Your words are beautiful whether you talk to the point or digressing on the issue.

    There are many friends who ask 'what is the big fun of reading all these books?' Many a time I do not answer because they will not be able to appreciate it. And a person who can appreciate an answer to this question will not have raised the question in the first place.

    Reading a good book is an intense emotional experience which is very difficult to convey to others. Though it is impossible to remember all the pages we have read, whenever we are in a dilemma, whenever something is to be decided, whenever you want to say something forcefully to your spouse, child or a friend, the words you read some ten years back flash in your mental screen and you give a clear, confident answer.

    Only a few days back I finished reading Report To Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis. It is the great authors autobiographical novel. I could not hold back my tears on many instances.

    Now I am reading Rajneesh's Guida Spiritualle, a 400 page book of Osho on Desiderata. Though he does not always talk to the point, whatever he talks becomes a point to be noted. For him there is no difference between the profane and profound. In the midst of a serious discussion pops up an A joke but it is very relevant and drives home the point with greater source.

    Sorry for the digression, Kamla, but I need to justify my reply. So I now substantiate these lines,
    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss
    At the first glance this may appear as an encouragement to gambling. But it actually advises to take risks in life. Without risk there cannot be any progress. Many a talent has been wasted because the concerned persons were not willing to leave a secured 9 to 5 job. These lines are for them.
    One of my friends working for a large company all of a sudden decided to go in for acting. He resigned his job and tried to get a film role for 10 years. He did get a few roles. But he could not have the career he wanted. So he came back to his old job.
    But he told me one evening, "Sridhar, I don't have any regrets. I tried and I failed. I have done my best."
    That man is a living example of these lines.
    thanks for stimulating such thoughts,
    sridhar

     
  10. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    Am i glad that i came in late....i got to read all yours, Chitra's and kamala's interaction , which seems to be more inspirational than the Father of Poems itself!

    I did read and reread a few times....it will take a lot of time to settle in. But i too enjoyed some of the lines you have taken care to elaborate....and
    Chitra too has really given a critical analysis i must say! And Kamala, well said....we dont have to run around hunting for such good things....we have some stalwarts sharing them all with us....and all we have to do is sit and log on regularly to give some action to our brain!
    Thanks Sridhar, i liked both these poems...planning to keep them handy to look into them if possible everyday!
    I liked these following lines....isnt it difficult to do all these.....needs a lot of strength.....and yet don't look too good nor talk too wise! :? :roll: wonder if this is possible at all!

    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


    Thanks for this weeks wonderful post!:clap






     

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