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  • Writer's


New Mexico

March 4, 2020

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!


"If—" first appeared in the "Brother Square Toes" chapter of the book Rewards and Fairies, a collection of Kipling's poetry and short-story fiction, published in 1910. In his posthumously published autobiography, Something of Myself (1937), Kipling said that, in writing the poem, he was inspired by the character of Leander Starr Jameson, leader of the failed Jameson Raid against the Transvaal Republic to overthrow the Boer Government of Paul Kruger. The failure of that mercenary coup d’état aggravated the political tensions between Great Britain and the Boers, which led to the Second Boer War (1899–1902)..

Women’s Version

I was pleased to find a female version of the Kipling classic.

As part of the BBC's summer of women's sport, spoken word artist Deanna Rodger has written a special version of Rudyard Kipling's famous poem, If.

Rodger reimagines and appropriates the inspirational poem as a powerful message for the modern day woman.

Deanna Rodger's If (2019)

If you can keep your head when those around you

Don't notice what you do;

If you can trust yourself when others doubt you,

Because the only trust you need comes from you;

If you believe in more than you have ever seen;

If you dream big every time you train;

If you've ever learned about winning and losing,

And how to treat those feelings both the same;

If you stand against trolls and gossip

That twist your words into clickbait headlines;

If you've been hated and kept on chasing champion status,

Taking any backlash in your stride;

If you can chase the wins despite injuries

Which have sat you out from selection,

And all alone face your recovery,

Refusing to let it bench ambition;

If you can force your focus and your muscles,

When they've nothing left to give,

To keep on working and, despite the struggle,

Dig deep and say… "I can do this!"

If your heart beats loud at stadium support,

And if you leave it all in the ring, on the track, the pitch or court,

You'll know that greatness is greater than gold,

It's inspiring change from what's gone before;

If you've ever felt unstoppable,

Or felt that together is what makes you strong,

Yours will be the world to take by storm,

And you'll be a woman - who's won!

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