June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
This is the third and final poem in this short series. For the other two, go and look here and here. Unlike the first two, this poem does not have any obvious connection with the world of rugby. Many years ago, ex-IBMer, Dermot Bradley, used the first verse of this poem to close some of his clever sales training classes, albeit with a little light editing. What follows is a relatively ‘pure’ version. We’ve seen it called either The Set of the Sails or The Winds of Fate. The poet is Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
One ship drives east and another drives west; With the selfsame winds that blow; ‘Tis the set of the sails; And not the gales; Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate; As we voyage along through life; ‘Tis the set of a soul; That decides its goal; And not the calm or the strife.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850 – 1919
June 20, 2016 § 1 Comment
Continuing the theme from yesterday’s post, here is another poem with a [tenuous, this time] rugby connection. In the film, Invictus, the poem of that name featured as a motivator for the captain of the Springboks – Francois Pienaar, played by Matt Damon. It’s a short poem by William Henley – originally untitled, but subsequently called Invictus when it was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse.
Out of the night that covers me; Black as the pit from pole to pole; I thank whatever gods may be; For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance; I have not winced nor cried aloud; Under the bludgeonings of chance; My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears; Looms but the horror of the shade; And yet the menace of the years; Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gait; How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley, 1849 – 1903
June 19, 2016 § 2 Comments
Yesterday, England beat Australia in the second test in Melbourne, winning the series – a historic first for English rugby union. We’re told that defence coach Paul Gustard used the poem ‘The Guy in the Glass’ by Dale Wimbrow as part of his attempt at motivating an English team which had won the previous week’s test in Brisbane. It’s an antidote to hubris. Here it is, in its entirety.
When you get what you want in your struggle for gain; And the world makes you king for a day; Just go to the mirror and look at yourself; And see what that man has to say!
It isn’t your father or mother or wife; Whose judgment upon you must pass; The one whose verdict counts most in your life; Is the man staring back in the glass.
He’s the one you must satisfy beyond all the rest; For he’s with you right up to the end; And you will have passed the most difficult test; If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be the one who got a good break; And you think you’re a wonderful guy; But the man in the glass says you’re only a fake; If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years; And get pats on the back as you pass; But your final reward will be heartache and tears; If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Peter ‘Dale’ Wimbrow, 1895 – 1954