Sunday, March 29, 2009


The poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling came to mind yesterday and I wondered if it might not fit into another post I'd written on my other blog. But when I re-read it, I realized I was reading a mantra of determination that could have been written by our new president. This beautiful poem is about believing and doing in spite of all obstacles and the opinions of others...walking the walk, perhaps?

(Official White House portrait by Pete Souza)


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 all 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!

--Rudyard Kipling

One caveat, George Bush may very well have believed this to be his mantra too, in his own mis-guided way.


R.L. Bourges said...

laughing at the caveat because I have a vision of George trying to make his way through the poem. There's a skit in there, somewhere ... :-)

Unknown said...

I have always loved this poem. If every person followed the credo set forth in it, this world would be a wonderful place in which to live. I hadn't thought about it in relation to President Obama, but you are right on the mark. He seems to have studied the poem well.

And I don't think Bush would even understand the poem's meaning, much less follow it's instructions.

California Girl said...

RL & Susan: you are both right and it is comical to imagine "W" trying to follow this poem. I'm sure he thinks he's a "man" however.