“If” by Rudyard Kipling

This poem was read out loud and printed on the inside cover of the program at a memorial service almost 13 years ago. All I could do was cry that day… and stare at the picture of my friend on the front cover of the program. The paper shows signs of wear now. There are small holes where thumbtacks used to hold it to the wall. The picture on the front has faded, and the edges have browned and brittled with age. It hides in a box now, with other seemingly distant memories from my past.
On occasion though, like today, when I pull that crusty program from it’s hiding place… my friend is still smiling at me, and there is still a poem printed on the inside:

“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 imposters 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 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!

—–leest1—–

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About Lee Stone -leest1-

The world is changing: Stand for Something. Soporte Para Algo. Independent Poet/Artist. Portland, OR · http://facebook.com/sonstone
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