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IF

A recent conference with the cousins somehow got centered on literature and everybody kept spewing forth shakespearean dialogues. (At the end of it all Ryan came to the conclusion that Shakespeare probably didn't get laid much, what with nobody being able to understand his dialogues.)

That aside, I remembered this poem by Rudyard Kipling, IF. Read it somewhere a few years back and thought it was beautiful... (no, it isn't about flowers or rainbows or birds).

If
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 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 breath 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!


Comments

mazhalai said…
thanks for this poem.. it has been my fav for ages!
Anonymous said…
If i sang that to my son...he wouldnt respect me anymore!
You do not sing this poem to anyone especially not to babies or children. For kids you sing rhymes. When your kid grows up and comes across this poem and thinks "yeah, dad was like that..." then be happy.
Ryan W.F. said…
hey i'm quite a feature in ur blog...wooohoo.....should i start gettin royalties??? lol but the pride of seein my name here is more than enough!!! [:)]
A good reminder ...
The Mahathma said…
IF is see u now Ill whack you
Megha said…
y is only ryan featured and not me?
Ryan W.F. said…
k the central idea is perhaps an instillation of morality n the word IF produces a rhythm n maybe even suggests a start of his ideas and possibly a sense of ambiguity cos teh word IF shows no certainty and there is a repitition of ideas...
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
THIS IS ABT WEALTH

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
THIS IS ABT DOUBTING

Rudyard is simply playing with the words perhaps to show enforcement of ideas and maybe even to entertain the reader...

SEE KAREN!!! I understand poetry...afterall i do read cleo don't i? how could i not be in touch with the feminine side of me!!!
ryan stick to making jokes and wise cracks... don't pull kipling or socrates or shakespeare into this...
Megh's you will be featured... all in good time.
The Mahathma said…
Change the IF to BUT

...

But you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
But you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
But 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;

But you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
But you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
But you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
But 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 lBute to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

But 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 breath a word about your loss;
But 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";

But you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
But neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
But all men count with you, but none too much;
But 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!
The Mahathma said…
and But sounds sexy too :-)
sajeeve, that was a stroke of geniousness... no wonder you have the name "The Mahathma"
Ryan W.F. said…
hey how bout When?? in place of IF and BUT?
then i can say When i understand this poem I will do a disection.....lol at least theres a certainity that i will understand it....
Wolfsong said…
Does Mahatma mean genius? I didn't know. Nice "but version" as well. It makes sense in a way. This is one of the nicer poems considering I'm not into poetry. When I had to find poems to send to my grandparents, this was one of the few I had selected. Interesting how so many people like it.
The Mahathma said…
geniousness! :-O ... never heard of naythin like that!!

btw ! jude is snoring here next to me now! we got back sometime back after watching one of the best movies ever "Pursuit of Happyness " . tis just a stunning movie! Im still feeling lost !! and this poem relates a lot to the movie!
The Mahathma said…
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=geniousness

says

geniousness isn't defined yet, but these are pretty close:
jude.britto said…
what is a knave?
Ryan W.F. said…
the female of a knive?
Why didn't you google it jude? Already taking a break from 'work' before joining...
anyway Knave means: An unprincipled, crafty fellow.
And ryan what's a knive?
Jude said…
very funny :)

offtopic: apparently google disapproves of people using its name as a verb!
see this -> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3006486.stm

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