Rudyard Kipling: ‘IF’

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.

To celebrate the 30th poetry competition, politicians were asked for their favourite poems.        I think our Prime Minister’s choice is quite an interesting and fitting one:                                                                    The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Prime Minister

Favourite poem: “If” by Rudyard Kipling, “Kipling’s poem is dated in some ways and a bit antiquated in others but it has inspired generations of boys including the teenaged Tony Abbott”.


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!


I wonder if you have a favourite poem?

16 thoughts on “Rudyard Kipling: ‘IF’

    1. bkpyett Post author

      I agree, I think he was playing safe with something masculine from his youth. I doubt that he reads poetry now. The Arts don’t feature in his interests, I fear.


  1. nonsmokingladybug

    I am not too crazy about poems or poetry, mainly because I have been tortured with Goethe and Schiller in school, but I love this one. “If you can dream—and not make dreams your master” great poem. Printed it out and that rarely happens (with poems).Thank you Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Outlier Babe

    Well, I shall be obnoxious and self-link:

    My favorite poem is my Uncle Walt’s “Blithe Spirit”, which is mushy in the extreme. I know you’ve read that already over at my place, Barbara.

    I grew up adoring Kipling, with “If” being a favorite, but one day became irked that there was nothing of equivalent quality with an equivalent moral, inspiring message for a daughter. (Never occurred to me to write something–didn’t occur to me I might be capable.). And one day, when the world’s sexism was particularly grating, “If” served as my vehicle for expressing this.

    Liked by 1 person


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