An old friend, this poem. Kipling.

I had this poster on my dorm room wall.  It needs no introduction, however, pay attention to the first few lines….IF…..

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:

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!’

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!




Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, Motherhood, My Posts

11 Responses to An old friend, this poem. Kipling.

  1. Kathy

    It is a wonderful thing when old friends re-enter our lives. Thank you for sharing yours with us! Beautiful!

  2. Cindy Pitre


    I find it amazing that you are in Montana and I am sitting here in Montrel, Quebec, Canada and I get to see what you are thinking about in real time…… It is as though I am getting to know you…
    what you value, and cherish and wish you could change….

    • lauramunson

      Ah, the power of the internet. My life is very quiet here. Very unwitnessed outside of my little family. I have grown quite fond of my internet community. Thanks for being a part of it, Cindy! yrs. Laura

  3. Star Roberts


    You’ve transported me back to a time when I learned words would be the life line I needed to get through a tough childhood. I forgotten the name of my sixth grade teacher who made us memorize this poem but I will be forever grateful. Thanks for the reminder!

    • lauramunson

      I’m so glad that it brought back memories of a great teacher! We need to honor them more often! I had a teacher who had us memorize Desiderata in seventh grade. I need to track him down and thank him… yrs. Laura

  4. Sean carriere

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful poem. I may now have a new favorite poem. Having recently finished your story “This is not the story you think it is”, and being an accidental student of buddhist philosophy, I sere many connections to both.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and continuing the dialog with your readers that you started in your book!

    • lauramunson

      Thanks for finding me here, Sean and for spending time with my book. I love when it lands in the hands of people practicing Buddhism. Regardless of faith base, I’m a big fan of Pema Chodron. Stay in touch. yrs. Laura

  5. Jan Larson Myhre

    My dad introduced me to Kipling in general and this poem in particular. The one thing that changed for me was the ending line…”be a man my son.” I read it as “you’ll be a human being my child.” Either way it’s powerful and more meaningful to me now (at 70) than ever before. Thank you. Hope your holidays are filled with love and laughter.

  6. Tahir Al Qahtan

    Kipling. Kipling, has attracted me with his wisdom words. The first time I read this was in 1987. I just have to believe how time travel fast, friends we made, friends we lost, friends we heard twisting the truth, even making traps for fools. He said it all. He said despite all the severe weather around you, look for friends, those who will be able to show at that terrible time,can only be friends. I like the words ; keep up and above, but make doubts for what’s going around you.

  7. Michelle Roberts

    My mother’s father lived to be 100 years old and shared his love of poetry from memory well into his 90′s. This was one of his favorites and I remember how proud I was to recite it for him in middle school. So much of it was lost on me as a twelve year old but at forty-one “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same” is such a powerful lesson. Accepting what is without judgement. Thank you for the chance to tap into my grandfather’s wisdom through Kipling. Michelle

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