Subscribe to Sally's mailing list

© Sally Grumbridge 2019

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon

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 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 a 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

This poem, written in full in my father's journal, is incorporated as text into two of the paintings: If and The Bridge as well as the intaglio print Hellfire Pass

No, not the poppy

No, not the poppy in this remembrance

But the pale orchid

Hidden by clumps of thick bamboo

Shadowed by black banana leaves

Stencilled against a golden sky, a brilliant night

 

No, not the poppy in this remembrance

But the pale orchid

Alone and flowering

Above the scorpion

Crawling with all its deadly sting

Where the snake curves and spits out venom

 

No, not the poppy in this remembrance

But the pale orchid

Leaning towards the unknown graves

Long overgrown and lost forever

Hiding the bones whose flesh was once

Concerned with parishes through half of England

 

No, not the poppy

But the pale orchid

Blooms in the dark of this remembrance

Dennis Griffiths Far East Prisoner of War

This poem was the inspiration for the painting Not the Poppy