Rain on your parade

Publisher Craig Potton has launched a competition to find out what New Zealanders 'best-loved' poems are.

"Two, four, six, eight, dig in, don't wait."
doesn't count.

Not surprisingly Kipling's 'If' is among the top contenders. According to the spin it is tussling with 'Rain' by by Hone Tuwhare. Not much of a death match, considering that only four people in the world have even heard of 'Rain' by Hone Tuwhare. Or Hone Tuwhare. Remind me to look it/him up.

You might think I am being flippant but I'm not...really. Let's faced it. Poetry is not a national obsession. When I lived in the UK during the mid 90s a similar populist take on poetry was run. 'If' won - hands down.

When you ask a general audience for their preferences they fall a) go with a brand they know. Who's heard of W.H. Auden? O.K. Kipling...rightyo....and b) is it sentimental? That, in simple terms is what most of us like in poetry. Silly, romantic and nostalgic material will win hands down.

To be relevant we should consider lyricists like Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn on the roster of our poets. Loyal would ace If any day of the week.

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 impostors 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 worn-out 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 breathe 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!

Four Seasons in One day
by Tim Finn

Four seasons in one day

Lying in the depths of your imagination

Worlds above and worlds below

The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain

Even when youre feeling warm

The temperature could drop away

Like four seasons in one day

Smiling as the shit comes down

You can tell a man from what he has to say

Everything gets turned around

And I will risk my neck again, again

You can take me where you will

Up the creek and through the mill

All the things you cant explain

Four seasons in one day

Blood dries up

Like rain, like rain

Fills my cup

Like four seasons in one day

It doesnt pay to make predictions

Sleeping on an unmade bed

Finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain

Only one step away

Like four seasons in one day

Blood dries up

Like rain, like rain

Fills my cup

Like four seasons in one day

My vote goes to....


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