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

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

You might also enjoy: River of Words, Life Journey Poems & Prose

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

You might also enjoy: Walking With My Lover’s Ghost; Life Journey Poems & Prose

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

 

 

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

 

Hand in Hand

the first time we walked together
we got lost
the perfect path
to knowing each other

she never complained
simply smiled
marveled at flowers and bird
held my hand

trusted

we’ve walked on
through mountain meadows
singing with bees and butterflies
dancing barefoot on foggy beaches
gleefully splashing in the waves
hiding under an umbrella in Spring rain
sampling strawberries at the Farmers’ Market
gossiping with passing neighbors
skipping to the grocery store
plopping onto our favorite bench

hand in hand

we walk on

 

tio stib

2019

You might also enjoy:  The Walk to Paradise Garden; Life Journey Poems & Prose

First Snow

first snow
white oblivion
whispers
to sleeping earth

hush…

let go
frantic mind
surrender

hush…

forgive your past
your sins
your separation

hush…

a blanket
of serenity

hush

white oblivion
cuddles me
in love’s eternity

first snow
melts,
drips
slowly
down the face
of my soul

hush…

Tio Stib

2014, 2019

You might also enjoy: A Mirrored SmileLife Journey Poems & Prose

High on Gratitude

in the muck of news’ day platitudes
I’ve lost my cheery attitude
midst hate and anger screamed and spewed
what happened to beatitudes

but past these ugly, mindless feuds
beyond behavior simply rude
there is another world that can be viewed
in Nature’s holy latitude

in this world outside our doors
flowers dance, birds sing, and oceans roar
a world that heeds not human news
where souls soar high on gratitude

You might also enjoy: Morning Bliss; Life Journey Poems & Prose

Tio Stib

2016, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Walk

as comets streak cross galaxies
I dance down a puddled street
splashing through a sea of stars
reflections wet my feet

I walk past lamp lit skeletons
their leaves now lost and drowned
and wonder on this winter night
where can truth be found

Tio Stib

2014, 2019

You might also enjoy: Mystery Game; Life Journey Poems & Prose

Lumpy Gravy, Thoughts on Writing Well

I’m working on the rewrite of a chapter in a new book and in spite of hours of effort, when I pause to listen to what I’ve written, it sounds like lumpy gravy.

Yes, I realize that gravy doesn’t talk, sing, or make any other noise, but it still seems the perfect metaphor for my imperfect words. In case you’re not familiar with gravy and, in particular, lumpy gravy, a brief description-

Gravy is a sauce made from cooked meat juices, stock, and other ingredients. One ingredient is flour, which is used to thicken the sauce. When the flour is added incorrectly, the result is lumpy gravy, little balls of unmixed flour in the sauce, a culinary no-no. Like good writing, I believe creating good gravy, a sumptuously smooth sauce, is a combination of rigorous practicality and delicate art.

My own experience is that lumpy gravy usually results from hurrying, compromising time and care because of impatience, setting an unrealistic timeline for creating something that simply cannot be rushed. There is a proper order and way to add and mix ingredients. don’t do this and you get lumps.

what are the lumps in my writing? Words and phrases that don’t sound right, feel out of place, don’t fit the desired style, don’t truly support the theme. Adverbs and adjectives that were easy to insert but, upon reflection, don’t add anything. 

What I write seldom comes out smooth and lump free the first time. Admittedly, I rarely succeed at creating lump free gravy either. In cooking, there are two ways to fix this, stir or whisk much more, or, something few will admit to, strain the gravy through a sieve to remove the lumps. 

This is what rewriting is all about, the writer’s process of removing the lumps from his work through careful consideration, in my case, listening as I can’t see what I’ve written. Often I brainstorm words, sentences, even paragraphs. with the magic power of today’s word processing technology and my text reader friend, Alex voiceOver, I can quickly try and listen to many options, until I hear something that is smooth and feels right. And on I move to the next paragraph.

Ultimately, I’m the cook in my word kitchen and I know, that unless what I’ve written passes my taste test, unless I’ve taken the time, done the work, to make perfect, lump free, gravy, those words can’t leave the kitchen.

tio stib

2018, 2019

You might also enjoy: Writing Well