If – A Poem for Graduating and Life

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My son Calvin is graduating from High School this weekend, which made me think about the poem If by Rudyard Kipling.  It’s a parent’s advice to their child about life. I think it’s a wise and fitting message for graduates.

MP3 of the poem “If”

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 wornout 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!

Read by Martin Clifton

Congratulations to Calvin and this year’s grads!

xo Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 9:27 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, England, English, Graduation Poem, Graduations, Holidays Around the World, Languages, MP3's of Poems, Poems, Poems about Being a Good Person, Poems about Life, Poetry, Poets, Recordings of Poems, Rudyard Kipling, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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