Poet’s Beat ~ If by Rudyard Kipling


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I believe I was born a writer at heart.  Mom taught me to read at 3 years old.  Jazz was introduced into my life before I could speak.  When I was 10 years old, Dad came into my room and sat beside me.   Turning to face me… Listen carefully to the music. It will inspire you and will give you comfort to heal.  It will teach you a lot about yourself, your community and the world at large.  Respect your individuality and self expression as well as those of others.  I was reading “Rikki Tikki Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling,  the story of a heroic mongoose.  He had brought in a placque with a poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled “If”.

My life was transformed the moment I read it.  I would recite to everyone.  Funny thing, Mom and Dad didn’t ask me to shut up.  I memorized it because of the feeling I got when I listened to the words.



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 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