Poetry penetrates beyond the realm of mere logic and rational thought. It pierces between joint and marrow, to the depths of the soul. It is for this reason that taking time to meditate, and thoughtfully digest works of poetry is a must for every person.
Poetry helps us relate to and explore our deepest emotions. It helps us to understand ourselves, our situations and circumstances in ways rational thought and conversation cannot. It reminds us that we are not isolated, alone and forgotten in the mire and complexity of the human experience.
Poetry allows us to span the thin veil of life and death and reach back through the annals of history that we might partake of the wisdom, joy, sorrow, pain, victory, and vastly deep experiences of humans who have walked along similar trails; no matter what direction the path of their life ultimately took, in that moment, in that fleeting space of time, we find our lives connecting in some deeply eternal way to theirs.
The following are a selection of poems that have spoken at various times and in various ways to all of us here at Azimuth. We won't tell you why, or how to interpret these selections. We prefer to let the poetry speak for itself. We will say these poems have helped sustain leaders and remarkable people throughout history in tremendously dark times. Our hope is that the following selection of poems will speak to you, and perhaps spark an interest deep within you for more. We hope that you'll see the value in carving out time in the routine and the bustle of life to slow down, enjoy a spot of tea or dram of whiskey, and let the wisdom, experience and vitality of poetry wash over the depths of your inner most being.
We hope you'll find that in the end, you're too busy not to read works that go beyond logic and reason alone, and engage in the regular practice of the literature of the heart.
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!
"IF"- Rudyard Kipling
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
"Invictus"- William Ernest Henley
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"- Dylan Thomas