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What If



What if I like Rudyard Kipling’s
quest
to keep his head about him
without rest
while others, untrusting of selves
might doubt;
and in their doubting prance
about —
and in their pouting rant and rave
without abate,
unmindful of the viciousness
of their state…

What if I like Rudyard Kipling
wandering…
about the need for patience
not meandering…
while others sauntering, in ignorance
floundering —
preoccupied with thoughts
not sobering…
to find life’s pathways
troubling —
and with such mindset kept on
stumbling…

What if I like Rudyard Kipling
dreaming
of ways to make life better
beaming…
at opportunities that chance
does offer…
would seize that gift encased
within life’s coffer…
the valuable lessons learned
to make one wise…
instead of wasting time in telling lies…

What if I like Rudyard Kipling
writing…
could write the things one finds
exciting…
how one can dream and make the dream
come true…
could conjure up some magic potion—
even a brew
that would cure a timid mouse —
perhaps a nagging shrew…
could change misfortune into fortune—
providing start anew…

What if I like Rudyard Kipling —
rhyming…
with poetry of good timing…
the souls of men uplifting,
and in this act…
not rifting;
their hearts and minds not breaking…
Instead, their disappointments—
abating…

What if I like Rudyard Kipling…
musing —
with rhyme and meter—
fusing…
The Malabar scholar
scheming…
his melodious lyrics
streaming —
I would find my own lines
teeming…
my mellifluous messages
gleaming …

What if I like Rudyard Kipling’s literature
inspiring…
poets among others —
admiring…
his pen and ink the pages
bleeding…
the span of time his wisdom
not impeding…
and that I, bereft of youth, a neophyte
could find a way to scribble
in spite of limbs impaired, no longer firm
but shrivel…

Then I could ask the poet nesting
at Westminster Abbey, Poet’s Corner
resting—
for tips to keep an old mind
tinkering…
the body sore, yet spritely
limbering…
and so withal by making “just so stories”
brimming —
achieve the goal, a poet’s mind
not dimming…

Oh, with such a master’s granting I’d be
surely blessed
to have the legacy of poets
made manifest…
For poets like all artists court
the human soul —
‘Tis their everlasting innate impetus
to become whole…
Pray, with dispensation that I find
that royal place
where all poets in due time—
are given Grace.

About this poem

Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If” was perhaps the first poem that I learned to recite by memory and perform before audiences, while growing up as a 12 year-old school boy in Colonial Jamaica, of the British West Indies. My parents would proudly drag me from one performance to another, and I, the eldest of seven children, was eager to please them. Although more than 70 years have passed, and I can no longer recite the lines by memory, Kipling’s poem “If” has forever left an indelible imprint on my psyche. This poem, “What If” reveals the lasting influence of the poet Kipling on at least one of his neophyte subjects. 

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Written on October 09, 2021

Submitted by karlcfolkes on October 09, 2021

2:00 min read
136 Views

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

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    "What If" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 15 Aug. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/111650/what-if>.

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