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Lizzie’s story: An ‘If’ for Girls… Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.

With apologies to Mr. Rudyard Kipling
by Elizabeth Lincoln Otis

I never carried this poem in my pocket, but on my wall since I was 16 – I saved this framed poem from the bin when the English mistress decreed a clear-out in my school library (a girls’ school, needless to say). Such an awful parody of the magnificent ‘If’, and to us today so sexist and patronising  … and yet, well – there could be worse messages for life …

Someone else clearly had the same idea!

Lizzie MacGregor has been a lover of poetry since she was twelve, a librarian since she was twenty-one, and has been at the SPL since 1993, happily combining professional practice and personal preference. Library training was done with Lanarkshire County Libraries, and a degree in Librarianship at Strathclyde University was followed by a cataloguer’s post at Edinburgh University Library. At the SPL, as well as cataloguing and indexing, Lizzie looks after the periodicals collection and answers reference enquiries.


1. Sherri Street - Friday, 27 May 2011

I have the very same original framed poem. My grandfather gave it to me for my birthday when I was 12. I memorized it immediately to recite to him the next time I saw him and have never forgotten it. I kept it on my bedroom wall as a kid and in my dorm room when I was at college. Now it is on my office wall. My youngest daughter, 21, stopped by my office today. She said, “Mom, I’ve always loved that poem. Will you find it somewhere and frame it for me for Christmas?”

So, did you find it? If so, where?

2. Alice Dick - Wednesday, 12 May 2010

This is the original framed one I had on my wall and can’t figure out how to copy it so I can frame it again. I said this every day while watching Dave Garroway on the Today show. When I went away to college, my Mother had gotten rid of it …and my story book doll collection.

3. Rachel Fox - Friday, 29 January 2010

Never seen this before. Fascinating…and not all bad…those ‘unfriendly snubs and slurs’…they’re still around!

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