5 thoughts on “IF by Rudyard Kipling

  1. I was not only introduced to Kipling in school, but my English teacher made every student memorize this poem and deliver it in front of the rest of the class – a couple of students a day. So we heard it every day for about 2 1/2 weeks.

  2. I was introduced to Kipling via the movie Gunga Din with Cary Grant when I was a kid. That caused me to actually seek his stuff out and read it. Unlike Bitter, I was never exposed to Kipling in school, and my kids today haven’t been either. But they know who he is and my middle girl loves his work. Kind of fits her too, she wants to be a veterinarian in the Marines.

  3. I was. But I didn’t go to a coercively-funded government-approved propaganda factory (except for some of college & some of grad school).

  4. Call me a heathen, but I liked very little of the Kipling that I’ve read. Don’t remember any from HS. Tone-wise it always sounds to me like bad beatnik free verse at open mike night, even if what it “says” is something I’d generally agree with. Take “If” for example; it seems to be implying that only those that rise to such superhuman, idealized qualities that few ever attain can be rightly called “a MAN.” Also, the meter seems very awkward to me – maybe I just need to hear it spoken by someone that really gets it. Seems rather over-the-top in ways that don’t appeal.

    • Ideals are seldom if ever achieved, that is true (the American Principles of Liberty come to mind) but it is none the less good to have them.

      As for the poetry; you’re right, or so it seems to me, but I was looking at the message only. I also like “Gods of the Copybook Headings” which I’ve referenced here before.

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