If-- by Rudyard Kipling
This poem comes as close to religion for me as anything I know. It is written to a boy but applies equally to a woman. Perhaps you may find it some help, as I have, when facing life's sometimes difficult choices.
Casey At The Bat
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day: The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play, And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same, A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game. A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast; They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that— We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.” But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake, And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake; So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat, For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat. But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all, And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball; And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred, There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third. Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell; It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell; It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat, For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat. There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place; There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face. And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat, No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Casey at the bat. Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt; Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt; Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip. And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there. Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped— “That ain’t my style," said Casey. “Strike one!” the umpire said. From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore; “Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand; And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand. With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone; He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on; He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew; But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, “Strike two!” “Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!” But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed. They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again. The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate, He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate; And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow. Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright, The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light; And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout, But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
This poem is in the public domain.
Dad was a great admirer of Mencken and I was recently inspired to look up this interview with the man, made on June 30, 1948 a few months before Mencken died:
LIGO - A Tale of Great And Small
By now everyone has heard of the recent detection of gravitational waves produced by two black holes colliding a billion miles away. By the time those waves reached us here on Earth they moved us (you, me, everything, the entire planet) a tiny fraction of the diameter of a proton. A. Proton. Not a fraction of an atom. A tiny, tiny fraction of a proton.
‘The Senator Be Embezzling’
A fascinating tale of a state Senator's experience in prison after conviction for obstruction of justice related to violation of federal campaign laws. He's smart, educated and white, thrown into federal prison, full of men exactly unlike him. It's a kind of expose of prison life in the US and well worth the read.
For those who insist the Earth is just way too large for human activity to make much difference, here's a curious fact.
Kurt Vonnegut - Some Writing Advice
original posting was on this site
Eight rules for writing fiction:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.
From This Guy, who says it's OK if I post his comics here, which sounds maybe more special than it really is since he says anyone can do it, but still I like to think he knows who I am and said to himself "sure, this cvining.com guy is cool and I'm pleased as punch he posts my comics on his website."
A bowling ball and a feather walk into a vacuum chamber...
"Physicist Brian Cox of the BBC Two program Human Universe recently visited the world’s largest vacuum chamber at NASA’s Space Power Facility outside of Sandusky, Ohio, to demonstrate the effects of air on falling objects. In the video, a feather and bowling ball are dropped at the same time in normal Earth conditions and after the air has been removed from the room.