Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

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If


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!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Read poems about / on: loss, trust, son, truth, dream, lost, hate, running, friend

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  • John Richter (10/20/2014 7:58:00 AM)

    Every line in this poem rings so true, even in todays world. Kipling outlined all of life's turmoil and successes, and did it in a most personal way. I think he'll be added to my favorite poets list.... I find this to be an exceptionally well written poem. (Report) Reply

  • Chris Howie (10/11/2014 8:49:00 PM)

    I wish my dad would write a poem to me, at all, let alone one this fantastic. Great stuff. (Report) Reply

  • Sagnik Chakraborty (10/5/2014 2:32:00 AM)

    Kipling's 'If' is the most translated English poem of all time. The poem goes deep into the stoic philosophy and serves as an enduring piece of inspiration.

    'If you can fill the unforgiving minute/ With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, ': the mood of the entire poem couldn't have been better summed up. Indeed, no minute that goes by ever comes back, but if that minute is well lived and well spent, there should be no regrets. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Taylor (9/8/2014 12:10:00 PM)

    Obviously, an inspirational poem. I like to memorize it using the following method. I first identify any patterns. I noted that it is ' a-b-a-b' for 8 quatrains or 32 lines. I managed to find an image for each quatrain. Then I rehearse and write out each quatrain on a flash card. I attempt to recall each image with each quatrain. I write them out until I remember a train of 8 images and the corresponding 8 quatrains. I learn to recall the train of images and quatrains through repetition. It is a pretty good memory technique. Then I like to sit quietly and slowly remember the poem, line by line, with my eyes closed, sitting on a chair in a quiet room. It is a simple way to meditate on inspirational writing. (Report) Reply

  • Maddy Zoe (5/28/2014 2:52:00 PM)

    This poem he wrote for his son... It is one of the most wonderful poem written by a father to his son... [3 it! (Report) Reply

  • Goldheart Bird (4/30/2014 4:51:00 PM)

    Wow, my sis told me to read it, I love this one! It's one of Kipling's best poems ever! :) (Report) Reply

  • Nathan Coppedge (4/28/2014 12:22:00 PM)

    It reminds me vaguely of my poem, God-in-the-Box. Where I am not as convincing, I am also more of an idealist. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Sanchez (4/28/2014 11:42:00 AM)

    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; (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (4/27/2014 12:03:00 AM)

    .......an amazing poem....and if you do all these miraculous things you will truly be a man of greatness....and one any woman would truly be fortunate to claim as her own... (Report) Reply

Read all 248 comments »

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