Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The poem below has long been a favorite of mine. I was introduced to it in high school by two English teachers (Ms. Ruth Smith and Ms. Sonia Walters) who both have had great influence on my way of thinking. In fact, I have pictures of both of them in my office today. They are both gone now. I wish I could say I enjoyed it as much back then as I do now. Age and experience bring a richness to its words. The wisdom it proclaims is “way cool”… in today’s language. It was written in 1895 by one of England’s most famous authors and poets, Rudyard Kipling. If you have never heard or read it I’d like to know how you like it and what it means to you. If you are familiar with it, I hope it makes you pause and think as much as it does me.


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 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!

Like I said…way cool!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Easy to read, hard to live.

Rob likes your style of writing as well as your thoughts.