Sunday, April 14, 2013

Open Link Monday, 15th of my poems-a-day

Monday is a sort of day off at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. We have no prompt to write to, no photos to inspire us, although Kerry did include some pretty flowers to make northern-dwellers think of Spring, which is an illusion here, so far, at best. Now we are submitting to Day 15 of our poem-a-day challenge, and I'm still here to annoy you.

I may have recently mentioned Rudyard Kipling. I am of an age when I can get away with mentioning him from time to time, and I also live in an area where many people, who have never memorized any of his poems, still remember that he came through here by train in 1907 and called Medicine Hat, Alberta, "the city with all hell for a basement."

Of course, the world now sees Alberta as the Canadian province with oil for a basement, with senior levels of government hell-bent on sending that oil by pipeline, ship, tanker truck, train, milk cart, or mule team around the world at a serious risk to the Canadian environment. The Canadian federal government has no interest in such things as global warming, sick kids, the environment, endangered species, or the melting of the polar ice cap, but has an abiding interest in oil extracted from the earth by whatever means possible and legislated into transportation by any other means possible, and has therefore met a friend in need, a friend indeed, in the Alberta government.

This made me, for the second time this year, think of Rudyard Kipling, and how he would feel about throwing out the baby (the population) with the bathwater (the oil from the Alberta tar sands).

Unfortunately, I couldn't channel him in order to get his opinion, but I did get unspoken permission to mess with one of his poems, which is almost as good. You'll see I haven't written anything serious at all, because I almost never do.

(I have to call it Iffen because Kipling himself already wrote "If", you see.)


If you can keep your hat when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on God
Who made the wind, but didn’t drag them out there.
If you can trust your wife when all men doubt her
But make allowance for her doubting them.
If you can waltz and not be tired of waltzing,
Or being tied about with chains and lies,
Nor yet not look too good, nor talk too wise...

If you can walk with dogs and keep your kibble,
Or cat with queens, nor lose the softer touch,
And win, then hide up all your winnings,
To twist the knives and make a trap for fools,
If you can fill an unamusing minute
With a minute’s worth of international news,
If you can force your stomach, heart, and sinews
To serve your turn, long after you are gone,
And so hold on when nothing else is in you...

If you can keep your hat when all about you
Have lost theirs in the wind and then blamed you...
You’ll be a woman with bonnet tied, my son!
                                          Kay L. Davies, April, 2013


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Lovely to meet you Kay and I enjoyed this lighter view of keeping the cool! Checked your bio - I too love South Pacific and all things where the dog doesn't die!! Makes for a good starting connection I'd say.

Santi. YAM

Jinksy said...

Sense of humour and rhymes to boot! Who could ask for more?! LOL

Jim said...

You’ll be a woman her with bonnet tied, my son?

Kay, the babies were always the last in priority for using the bath water. It was often so dirty and cloudy that it was very easy to throw the tingy baby out with the dirty water.

aprille said...

ha ha ha
Loved your introduction as well and the way you spin a serious subject with a ligher note.
Wind in your hair or ribbon tied onder the chin, you are good to read.

Daryl said...


Mama Zen said...

How clever! For some reason, "Iffen" is just perfect.

Marian said...

i don't know, Kay, i recognize the Kipling and love your comical touch, but as often you do, there is a very serious subject under the lightness of your words that i really appreciate. excellent!

Susan said...

Sorry, Kay, I still laughed! Yet, I take in the necessity for a far reaching strength, the kind of thing that shows a feminine strength and preparation--else how could we take care of roof to sub-basement, how could anyone?

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Susan — I'm glad you laughed. I am seldom to be taken seriously but, when I am, I'll warn everyone.

Leo said...

LOL... I didn't see that ending coming, Kay :) Beautiful!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This was a fabulous read, Kay. I so enjoyed every word and line. I hear you about the dastardly govt and oil........LOVE your witty write!

Emma Major said...

I was so worried about what would happen to my favorite poem ever,but I love it and it made me smile which is the first time today, thanks so much

Reader Wil said...

You are clever to write another if! I like your sense of humour! There was a time that I could recite this "If" almost by heart.
Thanks for your comment on my crabtree and Cherry tree. I must confess that these photos were taken in May 2010.

Helen said...

Iffen I say I love this, will you believe me? Cause I do!

Susie Clevenger said...

Love it! How effective to use humor to convey that which would make us state it in a way that could bring people together and not push them further apart.

Margaret said...

I have to agree with Susie. Laughter is often the helping hand that is needed to smooth over bitter differences. And the land and oil and environment ... Pretty tense subject ! My thought here is I hate to see land destroyed, but if we insist on heating and cooling our homes the way we do and travel on ship, plane, and road the way we do. .... We all will eventually have to dig in our backyards.

Laura said...


Adura Ojo said...

Enjoyed that! lol. Nothing like good humour to put a smile on one's face.

Ellecee said...

I love your take on one of my favourite poems. As others have said, it take a creative talent to make a point with humor and not leave anyone offended. I agree with your comments about the oil industry as well. :-)

Loredana Donovan said...

The last line is especially hilarious. You sure do know how to address a serious subject with humor ... and rhymes! :)

Kim Nelson said...

You gave me the day's belly-laugh. I thank you.

Other Mary said...

Hahaha - this is delightful Kay!