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Thursday, June 14, 2012

POETRY powers human spirit—Wazir Gul Anis

 Holding on when there is nothing in you Except the
WILL that says ‘Hold on!’
Re-reporting, minor editing by Carolyn Bennett

Wazir Gul Anis is a poet, politician and father living in a troubled land. He was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s “The State We’re In” last week. The theme: “Mightier than the Sword.”

In Afghanistan, the program revealed, Wazir Gul Anis “is a civic leader who has a deep love for classical Persian poetry. Poetry helped Wazir Gul Anis cope with the Soviet invasion, the Taliban’s takeover, and getting warring clans to reconcile” in his country. He connects “Poetry and peacemaking,” poetry and the human spirit. 

At the end of his segment on The State We're In, he recited a poem that he said pulled him through his darkest hours, when his son was kidnapped. This poem, “If” by Rudyard Kipling, brings back my own memories and touches my sensibility. 
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was a poet, short-story writer, and novelist who was born in India (the Bombay Presidency of British India, December 30, 1865) and grew up in England. 

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 … doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
…Being lied about not deal in lies,
Or being hated, not give way to hating,
Poetry mightier than sword
And yet do not look too good or talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
…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,
…Watch things broken you gave your life to,
And stoop and build them 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,
Lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

Music mightier than sword
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And … 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,
…Walk with Kings – and not lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds… of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and all therein…

Sources and notes
“Mightier than the Sword,” The State We’re In, June 9 2012, http://www.rnw.nl/english/radioshow/mightier-sword

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