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Beautiful December

Now, when the garden awaits the return of spring
Now, when the silence is deep and blue
Now, when the winter has cast her spell again
Beautiful December, Beautiful December

Here, where the snow is as soft as a woolly lamb
Here, where the nightfall is deep and blue,
Here, where the stars are so bright, you reach for them
Beautiful December, Beautiful December

Child, may you sleep in gentle peace tonight
Dream of songs that rise on silken wings!
When you wake, enchanted by the snowspun light
Sing the songs that came to you in dreams,
Your beautiful December dreams
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If.....

mheredgemheredge TeacherHere and therePosts: 28,481 mod
What do you think of this poem by Rudyard Kipling?

If

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 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!
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Comments

  • DeucalionDeucalion Posts: 627 ✭✭✭
    edited September 21
    I think this poem addresses mainly the rational and does it in a codified way, something that makes it difficult for non native English speakers to descifer its meanings . In my viewpoint poetry are first of all for evoking feelings in people, and less of challenging their frontal cortexes.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    edited September 21
    This is a great inspirational poem providing a set of measures to value a man’s spirit. An exhaustive one, I would say, at least very close to the exhaustive. I think the full meaning of this verse is open only to a man of certain life experience. And, indeed, as I have read, it was a message by a father to a son. The verse is also a piece of great poetry. Especially I like ‘the unforgiving minute’.

    This poem is also very well embedded in the great former culture of Britain.

    I was assigned to learn this poem by heart during my English classes in the university.
  • PaulettePaulette Posts: 7,871 mod
    Indeed @Deucalion to get completely understand the core of the poem, English must be your native language. But I know it's about a father who wants to prepare his son for his later life. I think that people who has studied English literature like very much this poem.
    I understand much better his famous book: "The Jungle Book".
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 5,897 mod
    This is one of the most famous poems, and I learned it when I was at school. I think it's an absolutely wonderful poem, and is certainly one that can make you think carefully about things!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    I never had to learn this poem off by heart but I had to study Kipling's poetry for A'level and loved this one. It somehow epitomises for me what was great about the era in which he wrote.
  • DeucalionDeucalion Posts: 627 ✭✭✭
    > @GemmaRowlands said:
    > This is one of the most famous poems, and I learned it when I was at school. I think it's an absolutely wonderful poem, and is certainly one that can make you think carefully about things!

    I think it's beneficial when it occurs to someone there is something else besides ceaseless platitudes.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 5,897 mod
    mheredge said:

    I never had to learn this poem off by heart but I had to study Kipling's poetry for A'level and loved this one. It somehow epitomises for me what was great about the era in which he wrote.

    We were made to learn it when we first got to secondary school (aged 12). At one time, I could recite the whole thing, though I can't do that anymore.
  • DeucalionDeucalion Posts: 627 ✭✭✭
    edited September 22
    Hmm, aren't famous poems for discussing and learning the deepness of thoughts?
    What relevance has someone's mechanical memorization? :bawling:
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    edited September 22
    > @Deucalion said:
    > Hmm, aren't famous poems for discussing and learning deepness of thoughts? What relevance has somebody's mechanical memorization? :)

    Human mind unintentionally analyzes what's a person is doing, especially if he's doing it for a long time. It's called reflection. That's why multiple repeats help to get the sense better.

    I'm unsure that the headline verse is adequate for understanding by a 12 y.o. child. Children should be taught the literature they can absord and make use of at their age. Here schools often fail in it. What was your impression of the verse back at that time, @GemmaRowlands ?

    This verse an piece of advice to a son by a father and therefore a good thing to be taught at schools, but, I think at the age when students start to think what they're going to achieve in their lives. I think they usually do it in their teen years, though I'm not 100% sure.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    I'm not at all into rote learning. Some people at good at it while others are useless (like me) but I don't think it has much to do with understanding.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:
    > I'm not at all into rote learning. Some people at good at it while others are useless (like me) but I don't think it has much to do with understanding.

    I agree on rote learning, it really doesn't help understanding - by definition:

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/rote_learning

    But, learning by repeating and rote learning aren't the same thing to me. The difference is that in the first case a person concentrates on the words he's repeating. That's difficult, of course. And it was noticed as early as the first guide books for monastics appeared. At that time the whole thing was about prayer.

    Once a person knows a piece by heart he can split his mind and take an outside look at it. That's the way in which memosing helps understanding.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    I'm not quite sure I know what you mean @Practical_Severard.

    I have been to a couple of yoga classes where the teacher asks us to repeat a mantra after her. It is really funny how if she just gives us a couple of words, we can all make a fairly respectable job of repeating what she has said, but as soon as it is more than this, we dissolve into mumbling and bad pronunciation. And goodness knows what it means! Om!!
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:
    > I'm not quite sure I know what you mean @Practical_Severard.
    >
    > I have been to a couple of yoga classes where the teacher asks us to repeat a mantra after her. It is really funny how if she just gives us a couple of words, we can all make a fairly respectable job of repeating what she has said, but as soon as it is more than this, we dissolve into mumbling and bad pronunciation. And goodness knows what it means! Om!!

    As far as I know about meditation and yoga, pronouncing "om!" isn't enough. Your yoga classes collegues are like toddlers trying to imitate their parents activities, and mumbling you've mentioned is another proof of this.

    Instead, disciples should be fully, in the utmost degree concentrated on the 'om' sound and be pondering on its meaning. No wandering thoughts, no distractions. Actually, that's very, very difficult and the first success is a quite short period of concentration. BTW, I guess Nepal is the place you can get a proper instruction on meditation.

    My rationalistic picture of meditation is: a person's brain has two independent circuits, one of them does thinking and the other reflex-based habitual activities. During a meditation the first is contemplating the sound 'om' which the second is mechanically pronouncing. My idea with verses has been that we can substitute in this process the 'om' with a verse.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 5,897 mod
    Deucalion said:

    Hmm, aren't famous poems for discussing and learning the deepness of thoughts?

    What relevance has someone's mechanical memorization? :bawling:

    I don't know really, but when I was at school learning things off by heart was something that we were made to do quite a lot!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    @Practical_Severard I'm not sure most people have any idea what Om even signifies. For me meditation has nothing to do with chanting words but is more to do with clearing the brain of its usual clutter. But each to their own!
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:

    >For me meditation has nothing to do with chanting words but is more to do with clearing the brain of its usual clutter. But each to their own!

    Well, chanting is a method (among others) to clear one's brain, what is a prerequisite for meditation. Taking chanting for the aim is wrong, of course.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    I suppose if the chanting is meaningless, then maybe it could be argued as a good way to meditate. I prefer to meditate in peace and quiet @Practical_Severard. I find it easier when there are no distractions.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:
    > I suppose if the chanting is meaningless, then maybe it could be argued as a good way to meditate. I prefer to meditate in peace and quiet @Practical_Severard. I find it easier when there are no distractions.

    And it's certainly better than chanting a sound which is meaningless to the people unfimiliar with Hinduism.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    My Hindi isn't that great @Practical_Severard (better than my Russian though).
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:
    > My Hindi isn't that great @Practical_Severard (better than my Russian though).

    That's not really a problem, the Hare Krishna missionaries has made it available in English.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    I will have to see if I can find the story @Practical_Severard but Buffoon Boris was reputedly in Myanmar spouting Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was an unashamed imperialist so I suppose it's no surprise as Johnson still seems to believe Britain is 'Great' as in the sun never sets on its colonies.
  • DeucalionDeucalion Posts: 627 ✭✭✭
    The Kipling's poem sounds like a checklist. I considered every its item and discovered that I meet all of them. : B)
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2
    > @mheredge said:
    > I will have to see if I can find the story @Practical_Severard but Buffoon Boris was reputedly in Myanmar spouting Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was an unashamed imperialist so I suppose it's no surprise as Johnson still seems to believe Britain is 'Great' as in the sun never sets on its colonies.

    That was the most unprofessional behaviour from a foreign minister. He had to be stopped by a subordinate of his! The UK is the least country of which diplomat I would have expected to hear things like these. He's also an Old Etonian and an Oxford graduate!

    Unfortunately, many nowdays foreign ministries' spokespersons speak in the very same manner. At least, they're not ministers. I definitely miss the poker-faced diplomats of the past.

    The poem is titled 'Mandalay' and my knowledge of English isn't enough to enjoy its rhyme and rhythm. The "White's Man Burden" is no less imperialistic, but I can notice it's beauty.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    There's a lot of resentment in his own party and I understand that quite a few Tory backbenchers are Tweeting him to resign as he is undermining the party just when it needs to be strong (I'm sure he won't). He has the support of hard Brexiters even though he's behaving so unprofessionally. I think this is why May can't just so easily fire him like Trump seems to do when he doesn't like the colour of any of his people's tie!

    I really despair at how things are going on in the UK right now @Practical_Severard.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:

    > I really despair at how things are going on in the UK right now @Practical_Severard.

    I've spoken to a number of people from other countries, both in person and online. Brits, Americans, Chinese, Frenchmen, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Tajiks. Noone has been happy at how things were going in their countries.

    I think we must value good things we're used to have and hardly notice. Like a fish which never notices the water it lives in. Until a fisherman has dragged it out. For example, I guess, whatever problems the UK has now they're nowhere near the Nepali ones.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    True enough but it's all relative. I haven't met any Americans happy with what is happening in their country (even Trump supporters). Similarly I'm not sure if all Brexiters are all that happy either @Practical_Severard. I think everywhere has its problems but it's a matter of degree.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    It's all relative @Practical_Severard but at the moment I think Brits and Americans are going through a particularly rough patch.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:
    > It's all relative @Practical_Severard but at the moment I think Brits and Americans are going through a particularly rough patch.

    Well, it may be, but it's not another Great Depression, isn't it?

    I'm used to post and/or lurk on Freerepublic, it's a conservative American forum. The people are unhappy with homosexual marriages, legal abortions, illegal aliens, liberal professors and such. I read some American mainstream newspapers' forums. The people are unhappy with gun posession, Trump, whatever. The common thing is: they both are unhappy and the both think America is going down.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,481 mod
    Which means that pretty well everyone has a pessimistic view of the US even if it's from different perspectives. @Practical_Severard I hate to say this, but there's a strong likelihood of another financial melt-down by 2018. So there may well be another 'Great Depression'.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 645 ✭✭✭
    > @mheredge said:
    > Which means that pretty well everyone has a pessimistic view of the US even if it's from different perspectives. @Practical_Severard I hate to say this, but there's a strong likelihood of another financial melt-down by 2018. So there may well be another 'Great Depression'.

    The US economy is so big and so interconnected with economies of other developed countries that this won't going to happen, I think. I can't imagine the Bank of China employees sticking greenbacks to the walls of their bank's toilets like wallpaper. Other countries will just bail the USA out.
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