Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I found a poem in an email forwarded by Rohan. He also told me that this poem was partly or fully recited by Federar and Nadal in a ceremony at Wimbledon. I started reading it. Soon I realized the weightage of each line. Although it appeared mostly as a verse but its rythm was unmistakable, pleasant with recurring rhyming. It ended, as if it was addressed to a child, as a set of qualities a man should possess in order to be called as a virtuous man. It remained unclear if the eloquence was made by a father or a mother or a guru. A brief search on google told me that the poem was titled 'IF' and was composed by none other than Rudyard Kipling. What a master piece of poetry this poem is!

In this poem, the words 'you'll be a man, my son' make the identity of the audience clear albeit literally. But on a second thought, it also makes us admit that the mantra given in the poem is essentially meant for all men and all women alike - a guide to become a virtuous human being.


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 (1865 - 1936)