If – by Rudyard Kipling

PSLE is approaching and to motivate the P6 class for the final dash, Aaron’s teacher gave them poems. I love the poems and shall reproduce one here to share. Read it slowly, for even though the poet wrote it for his son, he speaks to me too.


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 imposters 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 wornout 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


About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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4 Responses to If – by Rudyard Kipling

  1. Chao says:

    Thanks for the post. I can’t remember when and where I came across this poem, but I had pasted it on my computer desktop for some time before.

  2. Trevor says:

    I love the poem “If” too. Thank you for sharing this! Over the years I have met many people, including my father, who have used this poem as a guide to life, in their studies, in business, in sports, in their personal lives.

    I am involved with a group of “If” enthusiasts in creating a website that is devoted to this poem, and it will include other similar poems, articles and music, all inspired by “If.” I thought that you and your readers may be interested in this. Please take a look: http://www.allthingsif.org

    Thank you and all the best for 2012

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