Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling Poems

Rudyard Kipling was an incredibly popular poet and writer during his lifetime and for the years following his death. His poem, If, is one of the most quoted and celebrated pieces of literature ever produced. Read more about Rudyard Kipling.


by Rudyard Kipling

Many people consider ‘If—’ to be one of the most inspirational poems ever written. It is certainly a poem that has garnered a great deal of attention in popular culture.

Rudyard Kipling's poetry, including 'If,' is known for its didactic and moralistic tone. His poetry often imparts life lessons and wisdom, aiming to guide readers towards ethical and virtuous behavior. "If" exemplifies Kipling's style, offering a set of values and virtues to be embraced as a guide to navigate life's challenges. His poetry is characterized by its directness and clarity, presenting concise and impactful messages. 'If' is without a doubt his best-known poem and his most commonly studied.

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;


A Child’s Garden

by Rudyard Kipling

‘A Child’s Garden’ by Rudyard Kipling is written from the perspective of a young sick boy who is dreaming of escaping his confining and frightening life by taking to the sky in an airplane.

Now there is nothing wrong with me

Except -- I think it's called T.B.

And that is why I have to lay

Out in the garden all the day.

L’Envoi (1881)

by Rudyard Kipling

‘L’Envoi’ by Rudyard Kipling reflects on the nature and purpose of poetry and considers the poet’s legacy.

Rudyard Kipling's poetry is renowned for exploring universal themes, and 'L'Envoi' is a powerful example of this. Through his writing, Kipling encourages readers to contemplate their own lives and legacies and focus on the things that truly matter.

Rhymes, or of grief or of sorrow

Pass and are not,

Rhymes of today—tomorrow 

  Lie forgot.

The Sea and the Hills

by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Sea and the Hills’ by Rudyard Kipling depicts the ocean, its heaving waves, incredible winds, and ever-present danger. It has evoked longing in men throughout time and will continue to do so, just as one longs to return home. 

Although not one of Kipling's best known poems, 'The Sea and the Hills' is undoubtedly one of his finest works.

Who hath desired the Sea? - the sight of salt water unbounded -

The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber wind-hounded?

The sleek-barrelled swell before storm, grey, foamless, enormous, and growing

Stark calm on the lap of the Line or the crazy-eyed hurricane blowing -

The Way Through the Woods

by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Way through the Woods’ by Rudyard Kipling explores the hidden depths of a forgotten road, once traversed but now concealed beneath the resurgent power of the natural world.

Rudyard Kipling's poem exhibits a unique blend of narrative storytelling and vivid imagery. The poem describes a natural scene in beautiful detail and in such a way that readers may find themselves incredible curious about the context. This is not his best-known poem but it is a good example of his verse.

They shut the road through the woods

      Seventy years ago.

Weather and rain have undone it again,

      And now you would never know

There was once a road through the woods

Blue Roses

by Rudyard Kipling

Roses red and roses white

Plucked I for my love's delight.

She would none of all my posies,

Bade me gather her blue roses.


by Rudyard Kipling

‘Boots’ by Rudyard Kipling is a memorable poem. In it, Kipling uses repetition to emphasize the struggle of soldiers on a forced march. 

We're foot—slog—slog—slog—sloggin’ over Africa!

Foot—foot—foot—foot—sloggin’ over Africa—

(Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!)

            There’s no discharge in the war!


by Rudyard Kipling

‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy’ is claimed to be a humorous piece written by the famous British poet Rudyard Kipling. It speaks on the gallantry of Hadendoa warriors who are referred to by the derogatory term Fuzzy-Wuzzy.

We've fought with many men acrost the seas,

An' some of 'em was brave an' some was not:

The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;

But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.

Gunga Din

by Rudyard Kipling

You may talk o' gin and beer

When you're quartered safe out 'ere,

An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;

But when it comes to slaughter


by Rudyard Kipling

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,

There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:

"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"

Explore more poems from Rudyard Kipling


by Rudyard Kipling

‘Mesopotamia’ by Rudyard Kipling describes the aftermath of the siege of Kut-al-Amara and those who do and do not feel the imapct of it.

They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,

The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:

But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,

Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?


by Rudyard Kipling

‘Recessional’ by Rudyard Kipling was written in 1897 for the Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and speaks on the state of the British Empire. 

God of our fathers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung battle line,

Beneath whose awful hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine,

The Appeal

by Rudyard Kipling

It I have given you delight

By aught that I have done,

Let me lie quiet in that night

Which shall be yours anon:

The Camel’s Hump

by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Camel’s Hump’ is a fun poem on the repercussions of lethargy and inactivity. Humorously, we may grow a “Cameelious hump” if we feel like “we haven’t enough to do.”

The Camel's hump is an ugly lump

    Which well you may see at the Zoo;

But uglier yet is the hump we get

    From having too little to do.

The City of Sleep

by Rudyard Kipling

Over the edge of the purple down,

Where the single lamplight gleams,

Know ye the road to the Merciful Town

That is hard by the Sea of Dreams,

The Glory of the Garden

by Rudyard Kipling

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,

Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,

With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;

But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

The Gods of Copybook Headings

by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Gods of Copybook Headings’ by Rudyard Kipling speaks on the nature of progress and humanity’s eventual return to basic principles of a good life. 

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

The Power of the Dog

by Rudyard Kipling

There is sorrow enough in the natural way

From men and women to fill our day;

And when we are certain of sorrow in store,

Why do we always arrange for more?

The Undertaker’s Horse

by Rudyard Kipling

‘The Undertaker’s Horse’ by Rudyard Kipling is a strangely dark poem in which the speaker uses the image of a horse to discuss death and how, no matter where one hides, it’s impossible to escape from it.

The eldest son bestrides him,

And the pretty daughter rides him,

And I meet him oft o' mornings on the Course;

And there kindles in my bosom

The White Man’s Burden

by Rudyard Kipling

In this controversial poem, Rudyard Kipling taps into the imperialist mindset and what he, and others, saw as the “white man’s burden.”

Take up the White man's burden

Send forth the best ye breed

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need;

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted

by Rudyard Kipling

Published in 1922, Kipling’s ‘When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted’ describes the “last” painting of mother earth and how it will be painted by the “good” people. No matter how this world ends, there will always be a new beginning, a new painting to admire.

When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,

When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,

We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it - lie down for an aeon or two,

Till the Master of All Good Workmen Shall put us to work anew.

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