If, 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 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, 1895

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

When I’m down and feeling sorry for myself, “If” is one of the poems I return to for inspiration. Here are YouTube links to great readings of this poem, the first  by Holly Musgrove, the second by Sir Michael Caine-

“If” read by Holly Musgrove 

“If” read by Sir Michael Caine

Life is a gift and a responsibility. Let’s make the most of it!

Tio Stib
2019, 2020

The Blind Side Parables – 1

With a mighty swipe of his sword, Sir Rodney decapitated the dragon. Then, raising high the monster’s head, its astonished eyes fixed open, he exulted-

“Yes! Now the fair Princess mildred is mine!?

At this point, the enraged, fiery tempered mother of the baby dragon, who’d only wanted to play with the silver coated stranger, char boiled the errant knight inside his suit of armor.

Moral: If you’re going to slay your dragons, start with the big one.

tio stib

 

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and I smiled

holding the year’s last rose in her hand
she disappeared
whisked away on the first day of winter
gone forever on a cold December day

my head said it was for the best
said I could not give the care she needed
said I had to let her go

my heart said

NO!

I made tea
cleaned up
pretended I was strong
wondered why I could not hear her near me
why I felt so empty and alone

and I cried
cried hugging all the memories
cried as I walked with her
danced with her
cried sitting with her on the seaside bench
our faces kissed by the morning breeze
cried hearing her sing out to passing children
cried as I touched her sleeping softness
cried every day through the longest winter of my life
cried far into sunnier seasons

this morning, when I opened my eyes
I thought of her once more

and I smiled

tio stib

You might also appreciate: You Will Always Be My Valentine; My Dementia Diary

 

My Garden of Words

there is a porch 
in my mind’s quiet place 
broad, shaded, open 
where I sit and look out 
at my garden of words 

listening 
enjoying 
watching words waving 
in the gentle breeze of memories 
each seed 
an echo 

of planting 
caring 
weeding 
hoping 

waiting 

wondering 

would faith be rewarded 
would something glorious appear 

sometimes
unexpected beauty blossomed 
sometimes 
no matter the effort expended 
new life never sprouted 

yet still I garden with words 
planting, caring, hoping 
sitting on my porch each day 
marveling at the miracle 
of creativity 

tio stib
2019, 2020

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The Lost American Porch

I once lived in a small town
in a small house with a front porch
a sheltered space protecting the entry door
a spot where I would hang out
sitting on a chair, sometimes the steps
drink a beer or lemonade
and simply enjoy the world passing by

a horn would honk, a friendly wave
kids would call out as they passed on their bicycles
neighbors walking dogs, hurrying home from work
“Hello!” 
“Good evening!”
“Nice to feel summer again.”
“Yes, aren’t the roses beautiful?”
“How’s your garden?”
“Beans and peas are up.”
“Going fishing Saturday?”
“Yup.”

these words and waves were the gold threads 
that wove a sense of connectedness , a feeling of belonging
through my life, a fabric seen and felt but not recognized in the moment

I’ve since moved, to bigger places, more complicated worlds
houses that now greet the street with cavernous carports
yawning doorways for cars beside small openings seldom used by people
and these places lack porches, no commitment to connect to the outside world
no attempt to simply sit and watch, to hear, to feel the pulse of community

I do miss the lost American porch

I miss the Americans who used to wave and talk as they passed by

tio stib
2018, 2020
 

You might also enjoy: Finding Home, Let’s Voyage Into the New American House

My Dementia Diary, a blind caregiver’s journey with his wife and her dementia

In January 2013, Tio Stib lost his sight and his wife began losing her mind. He was blind and she was diagnosed with  Alzheimer’s disease. Suddenly, the adventurous life they’d enjoyed became a dramatically different journey. Mostly as a way to cope, Tio began to blog, using prose and poetry to describe their altered path in life. His blog posts evolved into this book.

“My Dementia Diary” is Tio’s recounting of the seven year journey that followed, a story sometimes humorous, often poignant, and always intimate, the story of how a blind man became the sole caregiver for his wife with her deteriorating dementia.

This is a story about adapting to adversity, about the devastating impact of dementia, about marriage, commitment, and faith.

Above all, “My Dementia Diary” is a story about the power of love.

My Dementia Diary Final cover copy

The book will be available as part of a GoodReads Giveaway until April 11. Here’s the link- GoodReads Giveaway until April 11

The ebook is available on Amazon KDP

Apple Books

A note from the author-

No way, I thought, this can’t be happening to us. Like millions of others facing the news that a loved one has dementia, I denied it. But my wife’s dementia was painfully real and I felt utterly helpless and alone.

I was saved by love. I was saved by the boundless kindness of good people who cared for us in our times of need and by the unwavering joy for life my wife shared even as her mind faded away.

My hope is our story will bring similar solace to you.

Without

there is no happy
without sad
there is no good
without bad

there is no high
without low
there is no stop
without go

there is no wrong
without right
there is no dark
without light

there is no courage
without fear
there is no far
without near

there are no tears
without smiles
there is no distance
without miles

there is no quiet
without din
there is no out
without in

there is no wild
without tame
there is no different
without same

there is no peace
without strife
such are the facts
of daily life

and from these truths
I choose my fate

I will be love
and without hate

tio stib

2015, 2020

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Insomnia

there are bedtimes when 
I dream in peace
a mind released to roam
then others when 
the clock grinds on
in purgatory’s womb
I lay now in eternal night
counting endless sheep
hoping this will somehow lead
to mindless, blissful sleep

tio stib

2015, 2018, 2020

You might also enjoy: Life is Like a Broken Egg; Life Journey Poems & Prose

 

 

What Should I Do With My Life?

Today’s weather in Tio’s mind: Partly cloudy, warming

After weeks of sobbing  storms overwhelming me as I’ve grieved for the loss of my wife to dementia, today dawned with glimpses of bright sunshine. I heard birds singing and smelled flowers and blossoms, hints of Spring creeping into my small town world.,

I can feel a new season coming, new life beginning again, but what does this mean for me, what now without the woman with whom I spent all day, every day, all the time for the past ten years? Standing stunned on the edge of a chasm of lonely emptiness, I am left wondering-

What should I do with my life?

Being both introspective and introverted, I let this question bounce around my brain like a ball tumbling through a cosmic pinball machine. Over and over, the resulting answer is the same-

TILT!

Obviously, this mental masochism is going nowhere, so it’s time to just move on, seek out the signs that have guided me to a meaningful life in the past-respect.

Courage. Compassion, Integrity. Gratitude, Simplicity. Fellowship. Nature. Frontiers. Wilderness. Service.

I trust that following the path with heart, I will be guided to the right people, the right places, the right purpose.

I pay attention, I live my truth fearlessly, I expect the best, and-

I GO FOR IT!

tio stib

You might also appreciate” Jumping Off; Life Journey Poems & Prose

 

 

Walking With My Lover’s Ghost

walk with me
I hear her softly plead
come
walk with me

and so I rise and go
take the hand that isn’t there
feel the joy in her smile
the smile only my heart can see
hear the memory of her gleeful calls
her waves to passing children
as she scampers to greet them

hugging close
faces glowing in the morning sun
a gentle breeze caresses us
sitting on our seaside bench

I kiss her tenderly
taste the love upon her lips
inhale the sweet scent of her soul
embrace the grace that made us one
blessed us

touching the emptiness beside me
tears slide down my cheeks

come
I plead
walk with me

and I rise again
move on

walking with my lover’s ghost

 

tio stib

You might also appreciate: You Will Always Be My Valentine; Life Journey Poems & Prose