If you can write your poems when all about you
Are philistines who just don’t understand.
If you can trust your judgement when folk doubt you
And not believe your work is writ in sand.
If you can bear to see the words you’ve written
“Critiqued” by clever folk and mocked by fools
And see your masterpiece with which you’re smitten
Put down for not conforming to their rules.

If you can dream but not make dreams your master,
But bear in mind one day you will succeed.
Though you may meet with triumph and disaster,
You’ll learn from both the lessons that you need.
If you can force your mind and heart and fingers
To serve your turn long after they’ve grown tired
And so keep on and seize the thought that lingers
The imagery and metaphor that it inspired.

If you can deal with PR men and suchlike
And feed your local press a storyline,
If you can talk to someone you don’t much like
And let them think you think they’re something fine.

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With several stanzas written off the cuff
Yours is the world of words and while you’re in it
You’ll be a Poet – that’s reward enough.




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