Rudyard Kipling created a solution to life's problems in his clever piece 'IF'. Written to his son with tender care, he offers a variety of commonsensical advice that is practical which stands the test of time. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
These wise words can be applied even now, almost a hundred years after they were penned, and by a greater audience than the one originally intended. The skillful manner in which the poem is written allows any reader to fall under the paternal spell created by Kipling.
His words feel as if one were embraced by understanding and concern. He lulls by simple repetition "If" and ties it up in 8 line stanzas; it makes for an easy-to-read, thought provoking piece. Because of Kipling's style, many who typically dislike poetry find they are intrigued and pleasantly surprised after they read it.
The insight offered by the poet can be summarized in brief as: remain humble, avoid extremes, and enjoy the joys of life at every opportunity. Rise above the fray and find goodness in even the darkest circumstance! He wants to inspire and enlighten, he wants for the reader to see the possibilities, and he asks the reader to ponder the best of the best within that soul. After a hundred reads, new meanings and philosophies could be borne from this sage list of attributes given.
He sets the bar high when he defines what it means to him to be a man', or what could be interpreted to an adult versus a child. It is about maturation and throwing aside the bad habits children often possess. The poet gives us a measure of how to see the difference between the selfishness of youth and the aspirations of adulthood.
This poem is a beautiful, personal goal for thoughtful readers and those who wish to be better people. An inspirational pat on the back, it acts as a light in a window on a dark night.
Kipling, better known for his fictional works rather than his poetic endeavors, has written one the best poems ever penned, showing to all who have read it that his heart was, indeed, that of a poet.
Well done, Sir! Well done!