Kipling's "If"

Poetry is pollen that we use to mature emotions from raw energy into immutable perspectives. From this well does a simple mode of wide eyed expression rapturously emerge whereby we must become both reader and author to build complete understanding from incomplete metaphors and incomprehensible meters. By this force, do I hereby reaffirm a manifest destiny between the words of Kipling's today and my tomorrow.

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!

~Dedicated to Blago, clown king of political corruption


Duality of Man Series, 2 of 15

Second in a series of 15 paintings by Matthew Leaper (ML) under a "Duality of Man" theme that was inspired by the human contradictions that define our experience. This piece - "The House of the Rising Sun" - was inspired by the song of the same name as written by Bob Dylan and performed by the Animals.  The art has been made available for framing and purchase via www.ImageKind.com; please click on the picture for details.

House of the Rising Sun by Matthew Leaper
House of the Rising Sun, 2010 © Matthew Leaper

~Dedicated to the impact record companies had on the history of music.  


A Tribute to Action

Among my favorite wonders of reading is the ongoing discovery that bright minds from unrelated experiences, geographies, and millennia can so rightly express modern challenges. Thus, upon that reflection, do I post the following excerpt from Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" in honor of a moral conviction to, at the very least, voice perceived injustice even if no positive benefit can be conferred from the action.

From Henry David Thoreau's Essay: Civil Disobedience

"It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, "I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico; — see if I would go"; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made."

~Dedicated to the expression of passion in all its forms.


Duality of Man Series, 1 of 15

First in a series of 15 paintings by Matthew Leaper (ML) under a "Duality of Man" theme that was inspired by the human contradictions that define our experience.  This piece - Alpha Male - represents the inner struggles of every man challenged by moral conviction.  The art has been made available for framing and purchase via www.ImageKind.com; please click on the picture for details.

Alpha Male by Matthew Leaper
Alpha Male, 2009 © Matthew Leaper

~Dedicated to intellectual property and the pursuit of fair profit from creative liberties.