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africansunset

A beautiful poem by Kipling – and an interesting history behind this poem.

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 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!

Rudyard Kipling

 

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From The Tempest: Miranda and Ferdinand playing chess

Image: Wikipedia
The Chess Players attributed to Karel van Mander. This was identified in 1916 as an image of Ben Jonson and Shakespeare playing chess. Most scholars consider this to be pure speculation, but the claim was revived in 2004 by Jeffrey Netto, who argued that the chess game symbolises “the well known professional rivalry between these figures in terms of a battle of wits”.

Update: 2016 – Shakespeare died 400 years ago and today is Shakespeare day! I’ve decided to repost an entry of 4 years ago. Please enjoy my ‘contribution’ to Shakespeare day. The following is my entry of 2012.

I’ve written another cento – I had to, because it’s a chess one! I’ve taken again Shakespeare lines – like my Moonrider-cento , where I also used Shakespeare. A cento is a form of poetry, where you use lines of different poems. In this case [like Moonrider], I’ve used lines of Shakespeare’s works – and not different poems. This cento was much easier to put together than Moonrider, as they are shorter lines and I didn’t really spent that much time thinking how to merge it into a poem that makes sense. I couldn’t give it a title other than ‘A Game of Chess’. I have made minor changes here and there – to the word order or adding of an exclamation mark – just for effect. This ‘poem‘ is almost like a dialogue – as it’s various characters speaking in role from Shakespeare’s plays.

A Game of Chess
Sweet lord, you play me false
For a score of kingdoms you should wrangle
and I would call it fair play
How fares the king?
His hour is almost past

A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
And I have horse – will follow where the game makes way.
I have his horse!
Give me another horse!
So, the good horse is mine.
My day’s delight is past, my horse is gone.
The rascal hath removed my horse.

Are the knights ready to begin their triumph?
A wandering knight?
I am undone! The knight is here!
Great shouts within all cry ‘the mean knight!’
Great is the humour of this dreadful knight.

I dare thereupon pawn
My life I never held but as a pawn
I have not pawn’d to you my majesty?
I pawn’d thee none!
I’ll send some bishop to entreat
The bishop will be overborne by thee
Wat says my bully rook?

There stands my castle!
His queen, it was his queen!
Queen of queens, how far dost thou excel?
Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
Sir your queen must overboard!
Will take your queen
Farewell sweet queen!

I’ll move the king.
The skipping king, he ambles up and down
This may gall him for some check
No mates for you!
We’ll draw!
My lord, your son drew my master
Where’s the master? Play the men!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown 

[Shakespeare-lines -]
Click on this link to read more about the Cento and to read what Folger Education think about my cento. I feel humble – you can view their comments in their comments box. Thank you!

–Click on this link to see the complete list of chess quotes with the references to the works of Shakespeare.

Enjoy Shakespeare day with some chess dancing!

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sa

This is one of my own poems. It is a cento. A cento is a poem written using other author’s lines or passages. This ‘cento’ though has been written using my own poems. The poems I used are all from my Afrikaans poems. I do write English too, but as I said before, it’s just playing with words. I don’t try to be professional. I decided a few years ago to do my ‘bit’ for Afrikaans on the 14th August every year. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen last year and I couldn’t let another year go by without having one on this day! This is the history behind the 14th August.

The Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (Afrikaans for “Society of Real Afrikaners”) was formed on 14 August 1875 in the town of Paarl by a group of Afrikaans speakers from the current Western Cape region. From 15 January 1876 the society published a journal in Afrikaans called Die Afrikaanse Patriot (“The Afrikaans Patriot”) as well as a number of books, including grammars, dictionaries, religious material and histories. Die Afrikaanse Patriot was succeeded in 1905 by today’s Paarl newspaper. You can read more about this Society on this link on the site of Wikipedia.

If you are Afrikaans,  I hope you enjoy these couple of lines.

seagold-

My siel op haelwit wolke

In gietende reën sypel my gedagtes: eindloos!
Ek stuur vir jou die goud
van sondeurdrenkte landskappe
in die galery van my stille gemoed.
My opgevoude gedagtes steek vas
en onderhou my geheue
wat onvermydelik verstrengel is
en soos gister
vind jy my siel op haelwit wolke;
my gedagtes wentel om die aura van my taal
en rol ragfyn ligstraaltjies voor my uit:
wat die tuimelende bergstilte
laat rol oor die dansende blou waters
na die holtes van my gedagtes.

==Nikita 14/08/2015 


Mantovani is one of my real big favourites. On this video you’ll find a whole library of his music to keep you company. I hope you enjoy!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would know that I do play chess myself too. I’ve blogged quite a few chess games in the past. This is one of my most recent chess games on chess.com Time is little to play rated chess games and I was tricked into this game, but managed to escape the worst. Rated games involve more concentration and I tend to play friendlies just for fun and I feel I can ‘escape’ or shut down from normal work and enjoy the game. 

chesscom
I like how I managed to checkmate my opponent, though he was very close to checkmate me! I played white in this game – not my favourite colour, as I discovered I play better games when I play black. If you are interested, please click here to play through the game. If you are a chess player yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and Dan, if you read here, you might want to analyse my game…hehe.

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boerwar_concentration_camps

Picture from FB: Mother with her dead child – Boer War: Concentration camps. I was so shocked when I saw this picture. How this mother must have felt and the poor little kids. This is what went through my mind:

The camp
White tents, white ant hills.
Strange, awkward stenches fills the war-torn air
Weak, but still proud, with no disinfectant
Sitting around in poverty: deprived!
Waiting for food. Waiting for water.
Humiliation. Disgrace. Filth.
Dead bodies carrying along white rows
They don’t care, they don’t think!
They can’t think. They kill.
The pain inside: it cuts deep, very deep.
No sound. No breath. No life.
No words. Only thoughts.
Blue vitriol, no food.
Children crying, children dying

Hunger screams, hunger wails
Endless waiting and timeless prayers.
Shock. Horror. Pain.
Forgotten lives.
Panic. Fright. Terror.
God! My child is dead!
Footsteps. No words.
Empty arms. Eyes watching.
Not my child!
Patience:
Another seepkissie will arrive soon
Silence…

Nikita 22/8/2013

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Click on the images to read about the images – taken by twitter-users. I’ve chosen these images, as they are from the moon from various locations – and not like most other images, images from the moonlanding, Neil Armstrong, newspaper clippings, etc. Enjoy the poem by Walter de la Mare – and I like the next quote from a statement by Neil’s family, just after the news of his death had emerged:

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Source: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/people/features/armstrong_obit.html

Silver

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Walter de la Mare

To the Moon
“O, thou.”
–CLAUD HALCRO.
BLESS thy bright face! though often blessed before
By raving maniac and by pensive fool;
One would say something more– but who as yet,
When looking at thee in the deep blue sky,
Could tell the poorest thought that struck his heart?
Yet all have tried, and all have tried in vain.
At thee, poor planet, is the first attempt
That the young rhymster ventures. And the sigh
The boyish lover heaves, is at the Moon.
Bards, who — ere Milton sung or Shakspeare played
The dirge of sorrow, or the song of love,
Bards, who had higher soared than Fesole,
Knew better of the Moon. ‘T was there they found
Vain thoughts, lost hopes, and fancy’s happy dreams,
And all sweet sounds, such as have fled afar
From waking discords, and from daylight jars.
There Ariosto puts the widow’s weeds
When she, new wedded, smiles abroad again,
And there the sad maid’s innocence — ‘t is there

That broken vows and empty promises,
All good intentions, with no answering deed
To anchor them on the substantial earth,
Are shrewdly packed. — And could he think that thou,
So bright, so pure of aspect, so serene,
Art the mere storehouse of our faults and crimes?
I’d rather think as puling rhymsters think,
O; love-sick maidens fancy — Yea, prefer
The dairy notion that thou art but cheese,
Green cheese –than thus misdoubt thy honest face.

–From Poems of John Brainard / by John Brainard 
Brainard, John G. C. (John Gardiner Calkins), 1796-1828
Courtesy of the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative American Verse Project.
http://www.windows2universe.org/art_and_music/tothemoon.html

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image: googleimages

CENTO
A poem consisting only of lines from other poems. This, from the Italian word for patchwork, is almost a technique rather than a form, especially as it can be of any length, and any metre, and need not rhyme; however, as the finished poem is referred to as a cento, just as a sonnet is called a sonnet, it is a form.

This is not my own poem. It’s actually not even a ‘real’ poem. All these lines are Shakespeare’s writing. What I’ve done, was to take lines – with the same theme, which is the moon, and put them together – and I was trying to get it to make sense. The title is my own though, of course. This is what  you call a ‘cento.’

I do love Shakespeare and my favourite is Hamlet, maybe because it was the book prescribed when it was my matric-year. It was always a nightmare, having to study Shakespeare and knowing all those quotes – I think I studied about 50 of the quotes. We had to know from what Act/Scene the quote was and you never knew which quotes you would get, but even that didn’t put me off from Shakespeare.

Moonrider

The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth
It is the very error of the moon
Swifter than the wandering moon
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon
This old moon wanes!
She lingers my desires

Sweet moon, I thank thee for they sunny beams
So many journeys
That I, being govern’d by the waterymoon
Of the extreme verge:
for all beneath the moon
You moonshine revellers and shades of night
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!

Another moon: but, o, methinks, how slow
And the moon changes even as your mind
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon
My lord, I am a mile beyond the moon

-Shakespeare-‘lines’ (c) Nikita

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image:weatherphotos.org

This is a rough translation of my Afrikaans poem, which I wrote first and James, a blog reader asked then to ‘translate; -so here goes:

Folded memories
Slowly and quietly,
in pouring rain –
my mind seeped: endless!
in the nuances of silent calls
to dust-loaded, plastered
and mutilated places.
Dusted images commuted by
my folded thoughts –
that voluntarily escaped
a Hillbrow of yesteryear
—nikita-

Opgevoude herinneringe
Traag en stilweg,
in gietende reën –
sypel my gedagtes: eindloos!
in nuanses van stille gesprekke
na stofbelaaide, toegepleisterde
en verminkte plekke.
Afgestofde beelde pendel deur
my opgevoude gedagtes –
wat onwillekeurig onstnap
na ‘n Hillbrow van vervloë

–nikita – 14/7/2012 – en ja, ek is die blogeienaar, nie soos iemand op
twitter
gedink het dat ‘nikita‘ ‘n ander persoon is [nogal ‘n digter wat welbekend is] wie se gedigte hier neergeplak word nie. [lol] Sien die twitter-gesprekke op die link.
Hierdie inskrywing oor Hillbrow was die inspirasie vir hierdie gegriffel. Nadat ek die inskrywing gemaak het, moes ek net iets in die vorm van wat hier is, skryf. Miskien eerder die paar woorde in plaas van die inskrywing! Hoe ookal, dis die gedagtes wat ek van ontslae wou raak, sodat ‘n ander reis onderneem kon word. 

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