“We are all made of Star stuff”. Carl Sagan

plough2The plan for my blog today was simple.  It is 1 year to the day today since my ‘downfall’ began.  My plan was always to write about where I am now, 1 year on from the complaint Email dropping into a senior managers .Gov Email account inbox.  I’m not going to do that though, I’m just not or I’ll get upset at the fact that an entire year of my life has flashed by like a tube train at a minor Essex station on the North Eastern part of London Underground’s Central line.  A year of my life in which, if dealing with both my parents deaths less than 8 months prior to that is not enough, I have lost my best friend, confidant and the only woman I have ever truly loved, my home, all of my life savings, all of my personal belongings that I could sell, my job, my mental health has taken a huge knock, I’ve had my professional licence removed (now reinstated),  I’ve had to see a psychiatrist on a number of occasions, two criminal charges each carrying a possible 10 year prison sentence levelled at me (all now quashed), I’ve had a full mental breakdown and many minor ones,  had my 4 year course of professional study majorly interrupted – but still managed to complete the final exams and all the practical assessments and tests, I’ve been declared bankrupt, and, one of my best friends took his own life, ohh and the car finance company called this morning to say they’re coming to take it back.  Besides from that … it’s been just fine.  365 very short days.

So instead of talking about where I am a year later, I’m going to say this instead.  Last night I had a visitor, a very special visitor.  It was Sophie.  Sophie is Steve’s daughter and if you are reading this not having read any of my other ramblings, I would strongly suggest you read my post entitled TRUMPTON to understand who Steve is before going any further.  Sophie is just about to start a new job (her first real job after University) as a Teacher, and she will be spending the next few months dealing with all the complexities and administration linked to her fathers untimely death only days ago, instead of doing what teachers do in July and August, which is get drunk, sleep in late and pray that the Government don’t change the educational curriculum on them again.  Sophie won’t give a damn about the curriculum because she has a hellish few months ahead, not only dealing with the administration, but dealing with her own heart and soul, which I may add are both ENORMOUS.  We were sat in Marks walled garden to his flat.  Mark was indoors trying to sleep.  Above us a star splattered sky of intense, deep, cobalt blue held on to the last wavelengths of light that the sun was emitting on this side of our spinning ball of rock and water, before giving them up to total darkness.  There was no wind and only the sound of occasional passing rubber on tarmac could be heard from the road nearby.  I sat with my head back on the unforgiving metal garden seat, and staring intently at the seven stars of the plough in the constellation of Ursa Major, Sophie told me a story.   She explained that as a teenager, she was down in the dumps and upset about some personal issues that her mum hadn’t quite understood, and after confiding in him with her troubles, her dad read her a poem to try to go some way to explaining that life is not so easy sometimes.  While staring off into the blackness of space she recited every single word to me – verbatim.

Now, I know the poet that wrote the words she recited to me last night very well indeed.  He is my favourite poet and I am lucky enough to have in my constructive possession, a second and a fifth edition of some of his books.  The poem was also written on the rear page of Steve’s funeral Order of Service.  I now know why..

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.
If.
By Rudyard Kipling.
Steve and Sophie’s favourite poem and a big lesson for me.

2 thoughts on ““We are all made of Star stuff”. Carl Sagan

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