Rudyard Kipling and IF…
Mr Kipling, as well as making exceedingly good cakes, was an all-rounder when it came to writing. Born in London in 1863, he was a short-story writer, novelist, poet and journalist. Among some of his notable works was The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous and Gunga Din.
As well as IF, another favourite of mine is My Boy Jack that Kipling wrote after the disappearance of his son during World War One. I can’t deny that both poems resonate with me because of my son.
I’m lucky that he’s a thriving young man but the thought of losing him in such a manner is beyond words. The other side of this coin of course is IF, full of inspiration, purpose and the message of being true to yourself.
I hope you like it as much as I do.
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!