If You Can Keep Your Head When All About You Are Having Dreams

The bonus of living with other writers is that not only do you get to hear the blogs before they get posted (or never get posted), you also get to discuss them around the kitchen table. Kelli has posted her Martin Luther King Jr. Day blog — it’s all about dreams — dreams of men in times past, and possible dreams for our future.

Since leaving Tennessee, I’ve slept better than I’ve slept in over ten years. It means I haven’t had the wild and crazy dreams I’ve based a lot of my short stories on — luckily I have more than enough to write at the moment so I don’t miss them…yet. Instead I’ve had waking dreams, dreams in lieu of fears, dreams about how I’m going to paint my future and what I’m going to wear when I go skipping through the watercolors.

The best part of is all is having the freedom to dream these things, and the freedom to follow through with whichever path I take. And each of these paths is a high road, because I am the person I choose to be.

Who is this person, you might ask? I’ll give you a hint enclosed in one of my favorite poems, a poem that has been stuck in my head for the last six weeks. I learned it in high school, after a production of See How They Run. It reminds me of who I am.

Who are you?

What are your dreams?



by 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 imposters 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 wornout 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 breath 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!