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  • 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

  • i leant upon a coppice gate
    when frost was spectre-grey,
    and winter's dregs made desolate
    the weakening eye of day.
    the tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    like strings of broken lyres,
    and all mankind that haunted nigh
    had sought their household fires.

    the land's sharp features seemed to be
    the century's corpse outleant,
    his crypt the cloudy canopy,
    the wind his death-lament.
    the ancient pulse of germ and birth
    was shrunken hard and dry,
    and every spirit upon earth
    seemed fervourless as i.

    at once a voice arose among
    the bleak twigs overhead
    in a full-hearted evensong
    of joy illimited;
    an aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    in blast-beruffled plume,
    had chosen thus to fling his soul
    upon the growing gloom.

    so little cause for carolings
    of such ecstatic sound
    was written on terrestrial things
    afar or nigh around,
    that i could think there trembled through
    his happy good-night air
    some blessed hope, whereof he knew
    and i was unaware

    thomas hardy the darkling thrush

  • i wish i wrote the way i thought
    obsessively
    incessantly
    with maddening hunger
    i’d write to the point of suffocation
    i’d write myself into nervous breakdowns
    manuscripts spiralling out like tentacles into abysmal nothing
    and i’d write about you
    a lot more
    than i should

    - benedict smith