Ruddy Young Man in Scruffy Town


I know that poetry month is over but poetry can be habit forming. Today,  I'm watching Chandler at a Hurricane Jr. golf event in Knoxville. It's the first of his tournaments I've been able to follow him from start to finish.
I didn't go looking for a random poem to share, rather I found myself thinking along these lines as I watched my boy  take to the tees and hold his own amongst competitors of all kinds. ..and some who are not kind at all. 
He's playing well enough- might not take home the biggest trophy today- but he's right on par in his pursuit of  becoming a man, a real-life gentleman...and that's who this game belongs to, no?
I'm his mom, I'm supposed to be proud I guess - but this reaches beyond pride into hopefulness and joy. 
If he never plays golf well again another day of his life, but holds to integrity and fosters the growth of good character in every facet of his life for the rest of those same days, a green jacket will pale in the splendor of his array. 

IF
Rudyard Kipling

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!


Poetry Month: Day Thirty

And so, I end this month-long tip of the hat to Poetry Month with another poem-prophetic.

I am reminded too, of so many porches filled now with emptiness;
barren swings and rocking chairs where stories used to sit. I see loved ones lingering in the twilight, soon to take sweet rest. Of all the seats in the house, yours with mine is best.
Thinking back over the porches we've shared,sitting in hammocks or worn-out lawn chairs- beautiful landscapes or time passing through, the view is improved for watching with you.

 
Wendell Berry

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.


Poetry Month: Day Twenty-Nine

One of my favorites. 


BILLY COLLINS

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.