“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone”

A friend of mine told me today that they are not OK. I do not know what is wrong or what the problem is, I so much would like to help them but they seem to prefer to suffer alone. It is quite a helpless feeling when someone you care for is unhappy so I will post another poem that lifts me up and I hope if they read this some of the words will help them too:

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 a 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

When life Gets You Down

We all have off days, or times when we feel down and depressed. We have our own ways of coping with these dark times in our lives. For me I turn to poetry to pull me out of my funk. One particular favourite of mine is the superbly inspirational “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley a poem borne out of the author’s battle with tuberculosis which after several years he sadly lost.

The poem recurred in the popular consciousness after the Clint Eastwood film depicting the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa and the dramatized relationship between  President Nelson Mandela and Springbok (SA rugby team) captain Francois Pienaar. The poem inspired Nelson Mandela during his captivity on Robben Island and from my point of view it is easy to see why. The poem has a unique ability to lift ones spirits however far they may have fallen.

So next time things are not going well for you and you feel disheartened read this poem and let yourself be lifted up and inspired:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.