Happy 2018 – Day 76 – ‘If’

Yesterday, I was reminded of a poem that I’d known of forever, but hadn’t every really appreciated. It’s a hugely popular poem, and it’s not hard to see why. I enjoyed reading this so much that I ended up searching through various YouTube readings of it, by different celebrities with soothing voices. I highly recommend listening to the Sir Michael Caine reading, just to ‘up’ the Britishness if nothing else.

The ifs in this poem describe the way I strive to live my life these days. By no means am I always successful, but having re-read this, at least now I feel like I’m on the right path.

To me, this poem is a lot like a good horoscope – vague enough that any person could read it and apply it to their own lives; meaningful enough that they would actually find it useful, and gain/remember something from reading it. More so, if you’re going through something – advertisy, self-doubt, defeat or loss – this poem offers a blanket to wrap around yourself. It provides comfort and strength. If it wasn’t called ‘If,’ an alternative title might have been, ‘How to live a great (and happy) life.’

Before I get really cliched and start waffling about my singing heart, or planning to have the whole lot tattooed down my back, I’m going to pass over the Rudyard. Enjoy xx

If—

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!

 

 

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