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If—A Powerful Poem by Rudyard Kipling

I must be literarily challenged! Every now and then I come across something that everybody else knows of, but somehow I missed. Does that ever happen to you? This may be one of those cases.

Yesterday, while reading, I came across a powerful poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1895. It’s simply called “IF”—I’m sure I’ve heard it, but had long forgotten about it, and I found it challenging and useful. I hope you will be encouraged by it and pass it along or use it in some way…

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!

By Rudyard Kipling, 1895

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  • About 13 years ago I recited this in my speech class in high school. I haven’t seen it since then. Thanks for the reminder.
    By the way, I just found your blog yesterday and am really enjoying it.

  • Excellent, Bro. Cary. Thanks for sharing. I haven´t seen this in ages…but am thinking that it would be something worth reading periodically! Joy

  • I love this poem! It was in our A Beka spelling and poetry curriculum in school, and I have loved it ever since.

  • I can’t comprehend this . Will someone explain this poem to me pls.? I am interested to know.

  • I learned this in grade school, and have never forgotten it. I make a point to read it at least a few times a year, and it means something different to me each time. SO rich in meaning.

  • I had a teacher that made us memorize this poem in grade school. It was amazing how much of it I still remembered as I read it through! She also made us memorize 1 Cor 13:11 and recite it. Too bad the schools have lost GREAT teachers and TEACHINGS like that! Thanks for the memories!

  • I really needed this post right now. Thank u so much 🙂

  • Dr. J Frank Norris said this was his favorite poem.


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