I've had a Spanish friend tell me of a poem that is claimed to be by Rudyard Kipling. However I was tipped off to it probably not being a Kipling poem by several facts: one, the English translation was on a little visited blog https://sloyu.com/blog/english/2014/02/21/chose-life/ Two, it had an English translation! Lastly, it doesn't sound like Kipling, in theme or meter.

It seems to be a Spanish poem called "elegi" (meaning "I chose"). My question therefore, can anyone definitively say it isn't by Kipling, possibly by identifying the true writer of the poem?

Googling it just gives me a small number of Spanish-language sites attributing the poem (in Spanish) to Kipling, plus some ominous "results removed for data protection warnings" but here is a link to the same blog with the Spanish version.


  • A somewhat different version (attributed to "un paciente") appears here. But I can't figure out which version came first. – Peter Shor Apr 1 '19 at 12:52
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    I thought the exact same thing - which has just led me to this thread. I don't think it is Kipling either and continue to try to find the author. It reads much more fluidly in Spanish and is disjointed in English. This also happened with another poem in Spanish "Aprendiendo- Despues de un tiempo" this was attributed to Borges – user7347 Jun 1 '19 at 4:30
  • The earliest I can find this poem on Google is June 28, 2010. Here. This predates the version in my last comment, attributed to a cancer patient, which was in 2011, which makes it clear where the cancer patient found the poem. This isn't quite the same as the version the OP links to; a few words have been changed and a line break has been removed. – Peter Shor Jun 1 '19 at 13:42

I can solve this question once and for all. The poem "Elegí la vida" was written by me in 1998, and not by Rudyard Kipling. My name is Elena Pérez Hoyos and the poem was written in Spanish. I have just learned that this poem has been reposted by many web sites stating that the author was Kipling. This has come as a shock to me. I am doing everything I can to clear up this issue and find out the origin of such misunderstanding. As it has been mentioned in previous comments, it is more than evident that the style is not Kipling's. And there is no mention of this text in relation with Kipling before 2010. The original poem has rhythm in the language in which it was written, Spanish. Some words have been strangely modified. And the gender has been changed, the voice of the original poem was a woman's voice. Mine. It is regrettable to see how some people, even in blogs about poetry or literature, spread mistakes like this without checking previously the authority of the work. I am very grateful for the opportunity this web offers me to claim my ownership of this text and I ask from you any help you can provide me to solve this problem. Thank you very much.

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  • Thanks for posting! Can you give us a link or reference to where you first published the original version of this poem? Then there would be solid proof to discredit the Kipling claim. – Rand al'Thor Sep 5 '19 at 15:59
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    That's the problem, and what makes this issue more surprising. This poem has not been officially published. I wrote it more than twenty years ago and at that time I shared it informally in my surroundings, on paper! (it was before the extension of the Internet). I have the original manuscript and a binding made in 1998 of several poems written by me, among them this one. The first misattribution I found on the Internet dates from 2008: maraluisaamalia.blogspot.com/2008/04/… As you can see, it's not precisely a literary blog. – Elena Pérez Hoyos Sep 7 '19 at 9:58

I am amazed of what I read here as I first heard the poem somewhere around 1980 ans seemed to be a well known poem in poetry circles by then, so it must be way older. So it is not possible to have been written in 1998. By the way I always heard it in Spanish and not in English

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Is there evidence of what was said about the poem existing at 1980? Because if not I can say, as an expert in Language and Literature, PhD in Linguistics, that this poem is not by Ruyard Kipling and it was originally written in Spanish for sure. So I do not have evidences of what Elena Pérez Hoyos says is true, what it is closer to true than the previous version of authorship.

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  • The problem here is it seems to be difficult to find evidence for anything, just lots of conflicting claims by people on the internet. – Rand al'Thor Mar 28 at 14:41

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