Friday, July 20, 2018

If

I understand there has been a remarkably childish row at Manchester University as a result of which a copy of Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" which was voted Britain's favourite poem a few years ago was painted over and replaced by a piece by Maya Angelou (with whom and with whose poetry I have no problem.)

Surely it should not be beyond the wit of humankind (note careful avoidance of gender-specific language) to celebrate and enjoy new poets from a range of backgrounds without judging those of the past by the standards of today and finding excuses to reject them?

I certainly do not agree with everything Kipling ever said or wrote, but he did come up with some things I do agree with. Today's "quote of the day" that paying "Dane-Geld" or blackmail money never gets rid of the people you pay it to is a good example.

So here is "If," not as any endorsement of Kipling's views in general but because it is a good poem.

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