Tag Archives: manliness

There are men too gentle to live among wolves

“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.

“We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

“For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”

James Kavanaugh on his first book of poems There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves. An ex-priest, he wrote it in the early Seventies when he was living in a tiny flat in New York, surviving off peanut butter and processed cheese. He died in 2009 at the ripe age of 81.

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Here are three from it:

Where are you hiding my love?
Each day without you will never come again.
Even today you missed a sunset on the ocean,
A silver shadow on yellow rocks I saved for you,
A squirrel that ran across the road,
A duck diving for dinner.
My God! There may be nothing left to show you
Save wounds and weariness
And hopes grown dead,
And wilted flowers I picked for you a lifetime ago,
Or feeble steps that cannot run to hold you,
Arms too tired to offer you to a roaring wind,
A face too wrinkled to feel the ocean’s spray.

and

I saw my face today
And it looked older,
Without the warmth of wisdom
Or the softness
Born of pain and waiting.
The dreams were gone from my eyes,
Hope lost in hollowness
On my cheeks,
A finger of death
Pulling at my jaws.

So I did my push-ups
And wondered if I’d ever find you,
To see my face
With friendlier eyes than mine.

plus of course

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant’s world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.
There are men too gentle to live among wolves

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant’s world
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

The Man Quote: Teddy Roosevelt

Being English, I was never really taught much about American politicians. Our own are, of course, far more inspiring, with their legendary sang froid and phlegmatic approach to life and morality.

Would that it were as simple as that. America has produced heroes and legends alike. For me, Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) is a fascinating character. A true man. Politics is only part of his legend, he was also a brilliant naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, conservationist and soldier.

Sickly as a child – he suffered terribly from asthma – he fought back and “made” his body, with the help of a gym his father made for him and a huge amount of perseverance. When he graduated, Roosevelt underwent a physical examination and his doctor told him that, due to serious heart problems, he should find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity. He chose to embrace strenuous life instead. (the picture below is from his days at Harvard – he’s wearing a sculling costume, but also enjoyed boxing).

In 1861, he went through what no one should ever have to endure. His wife Alice gave birth to their first child, a daughter, but died two days later of undiagnosed kidney failure. If that wasn’t enough, his mother also died (of Typhoid), on the same day, in the same house. He was broken. In his diary he wrote a large X on the page and wrote “the light has gone out of my life.” Roosevelt wrote headed for the badlands of Dakota to heal. Working shoulder to shoulder with all kinds of men in the west he said, “took the snob” out of him. Working the ranch brought about a profound love of the open land, unique geography and animal species that were fast disappearing with increased settlement and development.

Eventually he remarried – his long-term friend, Edith – and moved back to Washington before heading to New York as Police commissioner. He was famous for prowling the streets at all hours learning more about the police as well as the worst corners of the city. He greatly reduced corruption, increased the use of technologies and created one of the first academies for police training. In 1898 he raised a volunteer troop of cowboys and college athletes – the Rough Riders – to help fight the Spanish in Cuba. He lead one charge on horseback and one charge on foot, inspiring his troops but exposing himself to enemy fire.

His exploits here, and the way he stood up for his men (he was a volunteer too) propelled him into politics, and when President McKinley was shot in 1901, Roosevelt became, at 42, America’s youngest ever President. I’ll skip a chunk, as for the rest you should read books on and by him, but you should know that his life didn’t end with the presidency. He went on a mammoth safari in Africa, explored South America (mapping The River of Doubt, which flows into the Amazon, nearly died from malaria, oversaw the Panama Canal’s construction, fought for America to join the First World War… in short, he led the sort of life most of us can only ever dream of, but one we should all aspire to.

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards.

A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.

Appraisals are where you get together with your team leader and agree what an outstanding member of the team you are, how much your contribution has been valued, what massive potential you have and, in recognition of all this, would you mind having your salary halved.

Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.

Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.

Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.

I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.

I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!

I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.

Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.

No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.

No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse.

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.

The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.

The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.

The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.

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The Man Quote – Clint Eastwood

I shouldn’t even feel the need to say it, but: Clint Eastwood is the sort of man we should aspire to emulate. Courteous, unflappable, no-BS, self-contained but not self-centred. And check the CV – Clinton “Clint” Eastwood (born May 31, 1930) is a film actor, director, producer and composer. He has received five Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, two Cannes Film Festival awards, and five People’s Choice Awards — including one for Favorite All-Time Motion Picture Star.

In real life, he has come through a few scrapes without using stuntmen – in 1951, while on army leave, Eastwood rode in a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of fuel and crashed in the ocean near Point Reyes. After escaping from the sinking fuselage, he and the pilot swam three miles to the shore.

Although sympathetic towards her bid for the presidency, Eastwood expressed disappointment with Hillary Clinton for engaging in a duck-hunting photo op, saying, “I was thinking: ‘The poor duck, what the hell did she do that for?’ I don’t go for hunting. I just don’t like killing creatures. Unless they’re trying to kill me. Then that would be fine.”

My old drama coach used to say, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ Gary Cooper wasn’t afraid to do nothing.

If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.

They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.

I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.

I’m interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice.
Clint Eastwood

I’ve never met a genius. A genius to me is someone who does well at something he hates. Anybody can do well at something he loves – it’s just a question of finding the subject.

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.

In school, I could hear the leaves rustle and go on a journey.

It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.

We boil at different degrees.

and Clint can sing too: