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 imposters 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 wornout 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 breath 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!
—If, Rudyard Kipling.
I have unrolled a map
onto my kitchen table
and put one finger
where you are and
another where I am.
The space between
is only inches. That close,
I could feel you breathing.
I could reach out and
run my fingers through
every strand of your hair,
touch your lips and
barely need to move.
In the corner of the map
there is a guide for judging scale:
every inch a hundred miles
full of roads and rivers and trees,
the guide a sharp reminder
that you are where you are
and I am where I am,
I dreamed that you had ceased to love me—
not that you had come from other beds
back to mine, or gone from mine to others,
just that something in your heart had stopped.
I willed myself awake to find you still
beside me. It was just a dream, I thought,
yet when I turned to kiss you, in your eyes
I saw that you had ceased to love me.
I willed myself awake a second time
to find myself alone, as I have been
these many months, but did not know if it
was terror or relief I felt, and whether
dreams unfold the past or make the future
plain. I dreamed that you had ceased to love me,
and know when I see nothing in your eyes
I can’t dream myself awake a third time.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.
— Mary Elizabeth Frye