Rudyard Kipling – ‘If’

While I enjoy writing poetry when I get the time and inspiration, I don’t often find poetry written by others that really resonates with me.  When I do, however, it is definitely something worth making a note of, because a good bit of poetry is a beautiful thing.

Yesterday I stumbled on the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling over at The Art of Manliness.  It definitely falls in the ‘resonates-with-my-soul’ category, so I thought it would be worthwhile sharing it on here…

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 all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath 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!

What do you think?  What other poems are worth checking out?

2 Thoughts.

  1. Mr Brown,

    I can relate, understand and appreciate how these words hold so much meaning at present.
    It’s a very famous poem, which I remember being read to me a very long time ago- it also doubled as a TV advert in the UK a few years back for something very commercial- and although I have never remembered the poem word for word, I know of it as soon as the first line is read.
    I enjoyed reading it mate. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Cheers Dom. Yeah I’d read it sometime in the past also, so it sounded vaguely familiar. In particular the line about ‘thinking but not making thoughts your aim’ resonated with me, and I’ve been trying to track it down for a while!

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