Poetry: If by Rudyard Kipling

As previously mentioned, optimism (or as I call it, the last resort) has begun to alter my mind; I am in the midst of an ‘inspirational’ poetry discovery. My last slither of self respect lies in not having reached for anything too ‘flowery’; god forbid I become girly and optimistic, what sort of self respecting woman would that make me.

I doubt Kipling wrote this to be ‘inspirational’ (apologies, I just cannot write the word seriously without the inverted commas), however, the man has a point. Although, I want to re-write the last line to say adult rather than man; all these things will take you from childhood to womanhood as well.

IF….. by Rudyard Kipling

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!

He also makes exceedingly good cakes.

One thought on “Poetry: If by Rudyard Kipling

  1. Yes, his cakes are fantastic 😉 I’ve heard of this poem but never actually read it before; despite my general lack of understanding of poetry (as in I don’t tend to “get” it) I really like it. Pretty eternal. “Inspirational” is overused. It’s a good word, but, yeah.


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