Wednesday, 6 November 2013


IF by Rudyard Kipling is my favourite inspirational poem. Kipling is well known for his 'Jungle Book' that was turned into a Walt Disney full length cartoon.

Rudyard Kipling's IF is that epic evocation of the British virtues of a 'stiff upper lip' and stoicism in the face of adversity. Once named as the nation's favourite poem and praised as 'unforgettable'.

What is not in doubt is that Kipling's four eight-line stanzas of advice, written to his son, in 1909, have inspired the nation for a century.

Two of its most resonant lines, 'If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same', stand above the players' entrance to the Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Kipling the poet had become the first English-speaking recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. However, he refused a knighthood and the Order of Merit from the British Government and the King. Just as he refused the posts of Poet Laureate and Companion of Honour.

For the truth is that the words of IF were composed by Kipling to celebrate the achievements of a man who was betrayed and imprisoned by the British Government. The Scots-born colonial adventurer Dr Leander Starr Jameson.

IF is a small word that has so much influence. IF can challenge us all. Non more so than the people who will read this blog who can compare themselves to the rest of the world population.

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