Friday, May 05, 2006

Post your favourite poem

Alank K has taken the initiative to start a meme 'your favourite poem'. Well the one which immediately crossed my mind in English is this one, I think it embodies the concept of the hero... and of course I've got a weak spot for heroes .


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 all 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!

Rudyard Kipling

If I was asked to choose an Arabic one it would be this one by Antar bin Shadad - I love this guy ( tribalism , heroism , love and all ..)

UPDATE : PS I forgot to say that readers and bloggers can consider themselves tagged and post their favourite poem(s) or a poem they wrote if they wish ( thanks Libyanwarrior).


Libyan Warrior( The King Of Al-Andalaus) said...

Can I post one I wrote, because I have got tons, their isn't much hero content, its pretty much gloom and doom. I have been writing them since I was like 13 I have acumulated 1000's over the years.

removedalready said...

my students had to learn this as part of their lit syllabus. I don't really like this poem, but it has got it's message!

gatorbait said...

I may post "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" Frankly, I am not much into poetry, but can think of some song lyrics I like.

Highlander said...

Libyanwarrior - of course you can , be my guest ( just nothing insulting ;)).

Redenclave so which one do you like ?

Gatorbait - poetry for songs also counts so go ahead and post it ...

removedalready said...

I'll post it in my blog.... :P

khadijateri said...

Lybyanwarrior - would you please post SOMETHING in your blog!!??!! - Everytime I go there all I see is a blank page!!!
I will post a poem on my blog.

Safia speaks said...

Mmmm...poems....I write short stories, novellas, novels, essays and articles but POEMS? My English is simply not good enough to play with in order for me to write poems.
I have written numerous poems in Danish - sadly Danish is the best language for me - if I would name one poem in English (besides Cheikh Zubair´s poems who are nothing but the best English works ever written)I would name John Masefield´s "Sea Fever".
Sea Fever is not really about the ocean only - the longing for the sea which he writes about is similar to the feeling I have for the desert and the wild nature in general.

Additionally, I enjoy reading the poems of Johan Wolfgang von Goethe and of course listening to Arabic poems who should be listened to, not read in a book.

Lyrics? None are better than Weird Al Jankovic´s twisted lyrics

BTW, what does "consider yourself tagged" mean? I´ve read the phrase several times now and still have doubts to what it means?!

Hafed said...

Here is my favorite poem. Its a poem by Jalal ad-Din Rumi ( see )

It's called: The Reed Flute

Pay heed to the grievances of the reed
Of what divisive separations breed
From the reedbed cut away just like a weed
My music people curse, warn and heed
Sliced to pieces my bosom and heart bleed
While I tell this tale of desire and need.

Whoever who fell away from the source
Will seek and toil until returned to course
Of grievances I sang to every crowd
Befriended both the humble and the proud
Each formed conjecture in their own mind
As though to my secrets they were blind
My secrets are buried within my grief
Yet to the eye and ear, that’s no relief
Body and soul both unveiled in trust
Yet sight of soul for body is not a must.
The flowing air in this reed is fire
Extinct, if with passion won’t inspire
Fire of love is set upon the reed
Passion of love this wine will gladly feed
Reed is match for he who love denied
Our secrets unveiled, betrayed, defied.
Who has borne deadly opium like the reed?
Or lovingly to betterment guide and lead?
Of the bloody path, will tell many a tale
Of Lover’s love, even beyond the veil.
None but the fool can hold wisdom dear
Who will care for the tongue if not ear?
In this pain, of passing days we lost track
Each day carried the pain upon its back
If days pass, let them go without fear
You remain, near, clear, and so dear.
Only the fish will unquenchingly thirst,
Surely passing of time, the hungry curst.
State of the cooked is beyond the raw
The wise in silence gladly withdraw.

Cut the chain my son, and release the pain
Silver rope and golden thread, must refrain
If you try to fit the ocean in a jug
How small will be your drinking mug?
Never filled, ambitious boy, greedy girl,
Only if satisfied, oyster makes pearl.
Whoever lovingly lost shirt on his back
Was cleansed from greed and wanton attack
Rejoice in our love, which would trade
Ailments, of every shade and every grade
With the elixir of self-knowing, chaste
With Hippocratic and Galenic taste.
Body of dust from love ascends to the skies
The dancing mountain thus begins to rise
It was the love of the Soul of Mount Sinai
Drunken mountain, thundering at Moses, nigh.

If coupled with those lips that blow my reed
Like the reed in making music I succeed;
Whoever away from those lips himself found
Lost his music though made many a sound.
When the flower has withered, faded away
The canary in praise has nothing to say.
All is the beloved, the lover is the veil
Alive is the beloved, the lover in death wail
Fearless love will courageously dare
Like a bird that’s in flight without a care
How can I be aware, see what’s around,
If there is no showing light or telling sound?
Seek the love that cannot be confined
Reflection in the mirror is object defined.
Do you know why the mirror never lies?
Because keeping a clean face is its prize.
Friends, listen to the tale of this reed
For it is the story of our life, indeed!

gatorbait said...

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

gatorbait said...

Bruce Springsteen
Human Touch

You and me we were the pretenders
We let it all slip away
In the end what you don't surrender
Well the world just strips away

Girl ain't no kindness in the face of strangers
Ain't gonna find no miracles here
Well you can wait on your blessings darlin'
But I got a deal for you right here

I ain't lookin' for prayers or pity
I ain't comin' 'round searchin' for a crutch
I just want someone to talk to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch

Ain't no mercy on the streets of this town
Ain't no bread from heavenly skies
Ain't nobody drawin' wine from this blood
It's just you and me tonight

Tell me in a world without pity
Do you uthink what I'm askin's too much ?
I just want something to hold on to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch

Oh girl that feeling of safety you prize
Well it comes with a hard hard price
You can't shut off the risk and pain
Without losin' the love that remains
We're all riders on this train

So you been broken and you been hurt
Show me soomebody who ain't
Yeah I know I ain't nobody's bargain
But hell a little touchup
And a little paint...

You might need somethin' to hold on to
When all the answers they don't amount to much
Somebody that you can just talk to
And a little of that human touch

Baby in a world without pity
Do you think what I'm askin's too much ?
I just want to feel you in my arms
And share a little of that human touch...

Maya M said...

This is the text of a song by Vladimir Vysotski (original Russian title: Дайте собакам мясо). I didn't find an English translation, so I prepared one myself, a rather poor one, but this is what we have :).

Give to the dogs some raw meat –
they'll be scratching and biting.
Give drink, even if home-made,
and drinkers will be fighting.
We don't want crows to gather,
so put scarecrows as warners.
And if two love each other,
give them a cosy corner.
Spray grains across the cornfield –
they'll germinate if seeded.
All right, I'll make no problems,
please you just give me freedom!

Meat was given to dogs, but
they didn't bite as used to.
Drinkers were offered vodka
and they simply refused it.
People tried hard to scare crows,
but the brave crows still raided.
Couples were gently cared for,
yet they all separated.
Farmers watered the seedlings,
but – how strange – they withered.
Last night they gave me freedom,
what shall I now do with it?

programmer craig said...

Not sure what to make of that song, Maya, but it's interesting :)

The first two lines of your Kipling poem are very famous, Highlander, but I don't think I've ever read the whole thing before. Maybe that's because (to be honest) the first two lines are the best part of the poem :o

Actually it's not even the whole first tow lines, just this part:

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs

I've seen that used as THE definition of courage, more than a few times.

Highlander said...

Redenclave and Khadijateri thanks I loved the poem you posted on your blogs.

Safia, wow in Danish ! Thank you for the links by the way and lol at Sheikh Zubeir I'm not sure our Western readers understood this Arabization of our dear Shakespeare :). Yes the guy is a genius...

'consider yourself tagged' means that it's your turn to do this exercise .

Hafed , Rumi's poems are so beautiful , I enjoyed this one immensely. Of course I'd like to welcome you to my blog and to the blogosphere too .

Gatorbait I am not familiar with a ball turret gunner is that a military terminology ? or is the author about a little animal please explain to me .
As for Bruce Springsteen , I like the guy , and I still like him too much regardless of the naysayers . Thanks for sharing the song with us.

Maya M. Long time no see my dear :) we missed you ( or at least I did ).

By the way your translation was beautiful and it rhymed as well.If I understood well the song is about freedom and courage ? and that courage is indomitable ( indomptable in French ) - not sure if I used the correct word here...hmm but I expext the rest of his poetry are just as powerful. Maybe I liked it because it reminded me of Arabic poetry as well - the style ...

Programmer_Craig, yes that poem is all about courage my friend , I'm glad you've read it all now. Would you like to share with us Your favourity poem or song :). I'd love to hear it and I'm sure the rest would as well ...