Monday, May 13, 2013

If You Can Think

Have you ever considered how much a part of our lives poetry is?  Both the King James Version of the Bible and Shakespeare has touched our lives in part because of the form (meaning and effect) in which they are presented.  Human kind has been elevated to a higher level because of the inspiration embedded within these great poetic works.

Consider one of my favorite poems "If" by Rudyard Kipling, a didactic poem, which is meant to give instruction, in this poetry adaptationThe poem is visually presented as it is delivered audibly and accompanied by music.

This poem captured my attention and admiration because of its loftiness but seemingly contradictory advice, with narratives such as instructing us to be self-confident yet humble.  Kipling creates a paradox for us as we hear how important it is that we "can dream and yet not allow those dreams to control your life." He uses irony throughout the poem, such as "If you can think and not make thoughts your aim," which causes us to ponder on lofty ideals without allowing them to take over our lives.  Kipling's repetition in using "If you" through out the poem, with"If" being used to stress the possibility of being in a certain situation and "you" which places the responsibility on us directly, since "If" is written in second person.

Kipling imparts several "If you" situations that persuade us to maintain righteous behavior when faced with unrighteousness.  Skillfully, he is able to inspire us towards a higher moral grounding while simultaneously warning us of the perils that await us there.

From this perspective, Kipling's "If" is not unlike Shakespeare and the Bible. 

1 comment:

  1. YES. This poem, with THIS music? Totally belongs in a scene from The Hobbit. Or Lord of the Rings. Right?

    K, maybe not, but. This poem is grand. I forgot about it!