Saturday, August 11, 2012

If - By Rudyard Kipling

This poem is a worthy read, and life quest. My only quandary comes with the last line, which I would prefer to revise to something gender-neutral and inclusive to all who are seeking out a good life.

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!

--- To revise this last sentence, I believe that "Man" and "son" should be revised to implicate their full meaning - leadership through strength of heart, character, soul, actions, and words. To persevere through great difficulty in life is not an easy task. We are faced with temptation, anger, frustration, exhaustion, and are worn down on every side. It is easy to give up and succumb in times of trial. Yet - I believe that those who hold strong, who face mighty storms and sail on with a gentle strength, whose leadership is solidified through humble example, make the world a better place by just being in it. And if there is, in fact, 6 degrees of separation between us all, one individual of great character will make all the difference and give the world the hope it needs to pursue a higher road together.

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