Blue Moleskine

Poems that I've taken the time to write down in a Moleskine... now available on Tumblr!

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 allowances 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 to 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 to build’em up with worn-out tools;

if you can make one heap of all your winnings
and rist 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 if the Earth and everything that in it,
and - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!

—   Rudyard Kipling, “If”

“The bonsai tree
in the attractive pot
could have grown eighty feet tall
on the side of a mountain
till split by lightning.
But a gardener
carefully pruned it.
It is nine inches high.
Every day as he
whittles back the branches
the gardener croons,
it is your nature
to be small and cozy,
domestic and weak;
how lucky, little tree,
to have a pot to grow in.
With living creatures
one must begin very early
to dwarf their growth;
the bound feet,
the crippled brain,
the hair in curlers,
the hands you
love to touch.”

—   Marge Piercy, “A Work of Artifice”


Like This” by Rumi

Read by Tilda Swinton

Sit down. Inhale. Exhale.
The gun will wait. The lake will wait.
The tall gall in the small seductive vial
will wait will wait:
will wait a week; will wait through April.
You do not have to die this certain day.
Death will abide, will pamper your postponement.
I assure you death will wait. Death has
a lot of time. Death can
attend to you tomorrow. Or next week. Death is
just down the street; is most obliging neighbor;
can meet you any moment.

You need not die today.
Stay here — through pout or pain or peskyness.
Stay here. See what the news is going to be tomorrow.

Graves grow no green that you can use.
Remember, green’s your color. You are Spring.

—   Gwendolyn Brooks, “To the Young Who Want to Die”

If for years before I die,
I linger and wither and forget
myself, like the old apple tree
in the orchard I cannot bring myself
to fell; if sadness or some other cancer
has spindled me to breaking;

then add that blue future
to the list of reasons to remember me
as I am now, bursting in my glee,
in love with this day, this forest,
and these trees, these dark
and lovely trees.

—   Taylor Mali, “Remember Me From Now”