I'll bet You've Never Seen Kipling Illustrated Like This...

The kids in our co-op have been practicing elocution this year, and for our finale next week they are all planning to dramatically recite a piece of poetry. Kipling's masterpiece about what it means to be a man, If, is the choice of my 14-year old son, Paul. This entire four stanza poem is comprised of one very long sentence. Realizing that Paul was struggling to keep straight the contents of each stanza, the elocution teacher suggested he create some visual reminders of the sequence in this poem.

So Paul turned to his favorite medium: Lego bricks.

I'm not sure if Rudyard Kipling would roll over in his grave or laugh at this, but it makes me chuckle. So here goes...


By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you 
 Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,    

Our hero
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
(Triumph in red; Disaster in black)
       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! 


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