Friday, August 4, 2017

Meme Wars: Poetry Battle

This past Wednesday, President Trump's based policy adviser Stephen Miller gave a press briefing on the President's new immigration proposal.  The briefing starts at about 45 minutes and offers a lot of viewing pleasure if you're into this kind of thing, but the choice bit comes at about 1:11:25, where Miller calls on CNN's Jim Acosta and Acosta cites The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, as inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, and asks Miller whether the proposed legislation violates that sacrosanct bit of doggerel.

Now, I am a simple minded girl, so I appreciate poetry that approximates complete sentences and that sincerely tries to get a point across.  In that respect, if no other, I give Emma high marks.  Still higher marks go to Rudyard Kipling, whose poems not only rhyme and scan, they also contain true statements!  I will skip the obvious rejoinder, which was recently recited dramatically by Stefan Molyneux.  Instead, I want to share the one I think of more often, the one that helps me get into the frame of mind to write for the LaFond readership:


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

1 comment:

  1. Lynn, you have just doubled the number of Englishmen I admire. Richard F. Burton is no longer alone in the England of my mind's eye.