If by Rudyard Kipling

Do you read poetry? While I’ve read it occasionally, I have to admit it wasn’t something I routinely turned to.  I have my favorite poets and have shared a few of their works on this site.

After reading Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing last year, I decided to make reading poetry part of my daily routine. Bradbury said you must feed the muse a diet of poetry, essays, and short stories. In fact, he recommended reading one essay, one poem and one short story every night before going to bed.

“Poetry, essays. What about short stories, novels? Of course. Read those authors who write the way you hope to write, those who think the way you would like to think. But also read those who do not think as you think or write as you want to write, and so be stimulated in directions you might not take for many years. Here again, don’t let snobbery of others prevent you from reading Kipling, say, while no one else is reading him.” ~ Ray Bradbury

 

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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6 thoughts on “If by Rudyard Kipling”

  1. Pure brilliance. Thanks for posting the poem! The really weird thing is that reading it gave me a mix of flashbacks to my undergrad (when I’m sure I first read it) and an episode of The Simpsons when Grandpa quotes the last few lines… 😉

  2. I read poetry at times. I keep wanting to implement Bradbury’s routine of one short story, one poem and one essay and day, but on top of all the other reading and writing I have to do, I never find the time. I wish I had two heads.

    That’s a great poem by the way! (and that Simpson’s video is really funny!)

    1. It’s not any easy routine to commit to when you add novel reading to the mix. I keep a book of short stories and poems on my nightstand, but sometimes the novel I’m reading is too hard to put down.

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