Colombo Telegraph

If You Can Dear Sir!

By Rajasingham Narendran

Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

If you can tell  the truth when all about you
Are lying in your name  and the people blame  it on you,
If you are dishonest and good men expose you,
Pause to explore whether you can be honest;
If you can follow the rules  and not be tired by what it takes,
Or if lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t act to look too good, nor talk to rouse hate:If you can dream a vision—and let  the people know;
If you can think—and  think through your thoughts;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the lies  you’ve spoken ,
Exposed  by braves to make the people know the truth,
Or watch the promises  people gave their  votes for, broken,
And stoop and remedy ’em up with honesty:If you can make one heap of all your mistakes,
And admit to them  in one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And gain, to start again at your beginnings,
And be honest about correcting  your mistakes;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To leave a respected country  long after you are gone,
And not hold on when there is nothing good to give,
Except the Will to say to the people, “ Good bye!”:If you can talk with crowds and be honest,
Or walk with Kings and not lose your head,
If neither foes , kin nor fair weather  friends can hurt you,
And  all citizens count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving time given to you,
With  worthy  and  honest service,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, Dear Sir!
*The intro – (With apologies to Rudyard Kipling) – of the earlier version of the poem above was mistakenly edited out . We apologize to our readers and to the author.

Back to Home page