Mayor’s Message: A message of clarity and hope through poetry

Mayor Louis Manzo

These are uncertain times in too many ways to mention. That may be the biggest understatement ever! What if this happens? What if that happens? What should we do when (fill in the blank).

It brings to mind a poem that some of us may have encountered growing up, Rudyard Kipling’s “If.” Written in 1910, it is widely considered one of the most inspirational poems ever penned. And it seems an appropriate mindset to embrace as we make our way through this unprecedented episode.

Though clearly written from a masculine perspective, father to son, Kipling’s “If” transcends the boundaries of gender. It delivers a message of clarity and hope that is conveyed by a voice of wisdom and experience to the heart and mind of blissful ignorance and naivety. Gender, race, ethnicity and socio-economic status are irrelevant.

If you’re interested in reading about the poem’s meaning, check out its Poem Analysis page at Or just let the words speak for themselves:

“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!”