Sunday, January 1, 2012

If - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Young Hemant Sehgal shared this classic poem with me - 'If' by Rudyard kipling.

'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 all 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!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Fantastic stuff.

Hemant also sent me a profile of Rudyard Kipling, a concise version of which is reproduced here.

'If' first appeared in his collection 'Rewards and Fairies' in 1909. Lines from the poem appear over the player's entrance to Wimbledon's Centre Court. Rudyard Kipling's life was largely tragic, starved of love and attention and sent away by his parents; beaten and abused by his foster mother; and he was a failure at a public school which sought to develop qualities that were alien to him. In later life the deaths of two of his children also affected Kipling deeply.

Rudyard Kipling achieved fame quickly but he turned down many honours offered to him including a knighthood, Poet Laureate and the Order of Merit. However ,in 1907 he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The poem is highly inspirational.


Rajendra said...

Nothing Iffy about this!

Harimohan said...

Not at all. Says everything.

Dr. Ranjani said...

One of the most motivational poems ever written. Once again underscores the fact that poets can convey so much in so few words!

Harimohan said...

Yes Ranjani. To me that was what poetry is about. Unfortunately there are many poems I can never understand anything about. I like these that make sense to me.