Balance

When I was in school, we read poems regularly and analyzed what the poet meant with every line, word and punctuation. But after I left school I stopped reading poems actively because other things like Netflix lured me. I have picked it up again recently because I have found that it’s a way for me to slow down and be mesmerized by how beautifully emotion can be captured with words.

I have been feeling overwhelmed recently. In addition to starting a new job and a lot to deal with personally, all I wanted to do was take a break and breathe. With such exhaustion, it’s easy to want to take the easy way out of everything. That’s when, I stumbled upon “If” written by Rudyard Kipling and remembered how much I loved it when I read it as a teenager. Re-reading it now reminds me of how beautifully strong we are and how everything is about balance. I’d love to frame this someday and have it remind me this!

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!

—Rudyard Kipling

This is one of the best readings of this poem:

What are some of your favorite poems?

Feature Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

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