If by Joni Mitchell and Rudyard Kipling
If you can fill the journey
Of a minute
With sixty seconds worth of wonder and delight
The Earth is yours
And Everything that’s in it
But more than that
You’ll be alright
You’ll be alright.
Just one minute. Sixty seconds. That’s all.
But first, for just a moment, a note on a poem I didn’t choose. It’s November, not long before Thanksgiving, and I was trying to think of a poem that speaks to gratitude. The first poem that came to mind was the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins about dappled things. I was thinking how naming might have something to do with gratitude. Naming being the first step.
I found the poem. It’s called Pied Beauty. And it’s a nice poem with truly lovely images:
Rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim
But the poem as a whole struck me as not quite as inclusive as what I was looking for—
And then I was listening to music the other day and came upon this rendering of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If, which begins as he does but with a few slight changes.
Rudyard Kipling’s first stanza:
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,
Joni Mitchell’s first verse:
While all about you
People are losing theirs and blaming you
If you can trust yourself
When everybody doubts you
And make allowance for their doubting too.
So the men in the first stanza of Kipling’s poem become everybody. And the line breaks change, and some punctuation.
I went looking for something that might speak to Ms. Mitchell’s thoughts in adapting Kipling’s poem and found a nice piece at the library on her website.
About this song, If, she writes:
This morning I’m grateful for many things and one of them is poetry, this poem in particular. I’m grateful that Joni Mitchell took this quite wonderful old poem and made it new.
A link to lyrics of this song at Joni Mitchell’s website.
Picture is painting by Joni Mitchell: In the Park of the Golden Buddha from her website.
Also of interest—-here is Joni Mitchell, describing, in her liner notes, the first track on Shine, an instrumental piece called One Week Last Summer: