Thursday, 7 May 2015

If not us, who? If not now, when?

I nearly did it. This morning, despite all my jabber over the last five years and more, I nearly decided to wuss out.

But then I had to go and read this, and then someone relocated my spine using the only technique guaranteed to work with the male of the species: flattery. 

Also crochet.
And that thing with cardboard rings to make bobbles for woolly hats.

And if the Scottish commies and their ‘English’ glove puppets break out the tumbrels to knit by over the next five years, then so be it.

And now for some poetry in the only language that has ever been spoken on the Moon, for some reason or other.

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods,


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!

Because maybe, just maybe, attending to the above might be better for everyone concerned than this:


It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late
With long arrears to make good,
 When the English began to hate.

They were not easily moved,
They were icy-willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the English began to hate.

Their voices were even and low,
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show,
When the English began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd,
It was not taught by the State.
No man spoke it aloud,
When the English began to hate.

It was not suddenly bred,
 It will not swiftly abate,
Through the chill years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the English began to hate.

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