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!

Add yours Comments – 4

  • Jen

    on December 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I thought this was beautiful and very true! I very much liked your use of opposites and what they can draw from us and make us into. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sunrisegirl114

    on December 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I absolutely love this! You inspire me to be a better writer! Beautiful!!

  • David Gary Wright

    on December 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is a wonderful site, so personal and ambitious. I was just thinking today about how we can make a better world through the humanities. This is a shining example of what people need to see instead of all the violence and ugliness. Happy Holidays Allison!

  • Beth

    on December 24, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Really amazing poem.
    Beautiful and true.