The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Love this because it is a great reminder of how victory is transient, no matter what stage of life you are in.
2. Daffodils- William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
Growing up in India, I never really saw daffodils, and always wondered what they looked like. Also tried to imagine what ten thousand daffodils would look like…so I love the visual imagery in this poem…
3. Success is counted sweetest- Emily Dickinson
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
As he defeated – dying –
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!
I always remember this poem when in the throes of jealousy and self-pity over something I am never good at, while someone I know really excels at it. Overall I agree that I have experienced success more than failure in my life…
4. She walks in beauty- Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
These lines are just hopelessly romantic and lusciously lovely….the way every woman would like to be described, and the way every man’s lady love would appear…
5. If- Rudyard Kipling
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 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!’
I saved the best for the last, this is the most inspiring poem I have ever read in my life. The first verse about triumph and disaster is mentioned on the walls of Wimbledon, and I aspire to be able to follow it..
The second verse mentioned here is something I wrote in an unsteady hand as I was developing progressive paralysis of all 4 limbs from a rare nervous system disease called “Guillaine-Barre syndrome” at the age of 14 on a poster and had mounted on the wall. My paralysis progressed to where I could no longer write, and then 6 agonizing months of recovery followed during which these lines gave me strength.
So here are my favorite lines. What are some of your favorite verses?