Great Poetry – The “If ” Poem by Rudyard Kipling

12

Great Poetry – The “If ” Poem by Rudyard Kipling

This has to be one of the best poems ever written. I believe the ‘If’ provides the best advice that an older person can pass down to a young person.

It tells us just how great we can be if we practice greatness, kindness, be confident but not cocky, stay humble and open-minded. Follow suit, and all will be ok. If everyone lives by these words we would have no regrets. That I am sure of. (See included detailed summary at the bottom of the post.)
 
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 for 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.
 
Check out this great summary by Schulzie on www.enotes.com
 
The poem is a father defining for his son the qualities of a good man. He is setting the parameters or boundaries for his son and giving him a goal to achieve.  The poem deals with life’s challenges and how to deal with them.

Stanza one deals with being confident about the decisions you make and taking responsibility for those decisions.  If others, who cannot take that responsibility for themselves, react negatively, you will be patient with them and not reduce yourself to their level by telling lies or dealing in hate.  However, don’t ever think you are above anyone else.

Stanza two states that it is good to dream, but don’t let your dreams control your life. It is good to think, but those thoughts need to be put into action. You will experience both triumph and disaster in your life.  Don’t take them too seriously because they are not the substance of life, they are the extremes.  If you hear things you said misused or things you have done destroyed, you need to be able to pick yourself up and rebuild them with everything you have left in you.

Stanza three counsels not to be afraid to take risks and possibly lose everything.  If you do lose everything, don’t talk about it, just start all over again at the beginning.  When you have pushed yourself to your limit and you are tired and exhausted, use your mind and your will to move forward.  Push through it.

Stanza four deals with a person’s reaction to others.  You need to be able to talk to a large group of people and not let them influence your belief in what is right, wrong, moral, or immoral.  You need to be able to walk beside men of power and influence and yet not lose touch with the common man and his needs.  You need to know yourself and your beliefs so well that neither your friends nor your enemies can hurt you because you know who you are and what you stand for.  People can depend on you, but don’t let others become too dependent on you.  It is important that you live every single minute of every single day of your life to the fullest.  If you do these things, then the world is yours, and you will be a good man.

We would love to hear your opinion, leave a comment.

Image credits: FS Blog

For the most up to date posts from addicted to everything click the logo.

Share.

12 Comments

  1. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.
    All the best

  2. I just wanted to post a brief message in order to say thanks to you for some of the superb advice you are placing on this website. My extensive internet research has at the end of the day been paid with reputable facts to write about with my colleagues. I would say that most of us readers actually are quite lucky to exist in a very good community with many brilliant people with good opinions. I feel quite lucky to have discovered your site and look forward to tons of more enjoyable moments reading here. Thanks a lot again for all the details.

Leave A Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons