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!

– Rudyard Kipling


24 thoughts on “If

  1. I not only like this poem, I love it. I love it so much I had it done in calligraphy and mounted in an oaken frame with glass. It has always been in a position of prominence in my home. I hope my three boys read it once in a while but I never call their attention to it.

  2. This is a link to Dennis Hopper reciting this poem on You Tube. One of my favourites too!

  3. Its my favorite poem, I sent it to my son when he joined Indian Navy.

  4. Wonderful. I have one Kiplings short saying on my desk.

      • It’s about his five best friends quote:
        What, Who, Where, When, Why.

      • This one?

        “I Keep Six Honest
        Serving Men …”

        I KEEP six honest serving-men
        (They taught me all I knew);
        Their names are What and Why and When
        And How and Where and Who.
        I send them over land and sea,
        I send them east and west;
        But after they have worked for me,
        I give them all a rest.

        I let them rest from nine till five,
        For I am busy then,
        As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
        For they are hungry men.
        But different folk have different views;
        I know a person small—
        She keeps ten million serving-men,
        Who get no rest at all!

        She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
        From the second she opens her eyes—
        One million Hows, two million Wheres,
        And seven million Whys!

        The Elephant’s Child

  5. YOU are GOOD! Yes, six! I say five and missed out How. I say five because I don’t like Why. It’s Ganesh’s poem. Thank you.

  6. another great quote, Ela – not too many could measure up. That’s in the Gandhi, Buddha category. But it’s good to aim high.

  7. […] you, Poet4Justice: If for helping me solve a […]

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