Showing posts with label Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). Show all posts

Rudyard Kipling – A Ballade of Jakko Hill

Rudyard-Kipling- A Ballade of Jakko Hill

One moment bid the horses wait,
Since tiffin is not laid till three,
Below the upward path and straight
You climbed a year ago with me.
Love came upon us suddenly
And loosed -- an idle hour to kill --
A headless, armless armory
That smote us both on Jakko Hill.

Ah Heaven! we would wait and wait
Through Time and to Eternity!
Ah Heaven! we could conquer Fate
With more than Godlike constancy
I cut the date upon a tree --
Here stand the clumsy figures still:
"10-7-85, A.D."
Damp with the mist of Jakko Hill.

What came of high resolve and great,
And until Death fidelity!
Whose horse is waiting at your gate?
Whose 'rickshaw-wheels ride over me?
No Saint's, I swear; and -- let me see
To-night what names your programme fill --
We drift asunder merrily,
As drifts the mist on Jakko Hill.

Princess, behold our ancient state
Has clean departed; and we see
'Twas Idleness we took for Fate
That bound light bonds on you and me.
Amen! Here ends the comedy
Where it began in all good will;
Since Love and Leave together flee
As driven mist on Jakko Hill!

Rudyard Kipling – Justice

Rudyard-Kipling- Justice

Across a world where all men grieve
   And grieving strive the more,
The great days range like tides and leave
    Our dead on every shore.
Heavy the load we undergo,
    And our own hands prepare,
If we have parley with the foe,
    The load our sons must bear.

Before we loose the word
    That bids new worlds to birth,
Needs must we loosen first the sword
    Of Justice upon earth;
Or else all else is vain
    Since life on earth began,
And the spent world sinks back again
    Hopeless of God and Man.

A People and their King
    Through ancient sin grown strong,
Because they feared no reckoning
    Would set no bound to wrong;
But now their hour is past,
    And we who bore it find
Evil Incarnate held at last
    To answer to mankind.

For agony and spoil
    Of nations beat to dust,
For poisoned air and tortured soil
    And cold, commanded lust,
And every secret woe
    The shuddering waters saw—
Willed and fulfilled by high and low—
    Let them relearn the Law:

That when the dooms are read,
    Not high nor low shall say:—
"My haughty or my humble head
    Has saved me in this day."
That, till the end of time,
    Their remnant shall recall
Their fathers' old, confederate crime
    Availed them not at all:

That neither schools nor priests,
    Nor Kings may build again
A people with the heart of beasts
    Made wise concerning men.
Whereby our dead shall sleep
    In honour, unbetrayed,
And we in faith and honour keep
    That peace for which they paid.

October, 1918

Rudyard Kipling – The Bell Buoy

Rudyard-Kipling- The Bell Buoy

They christened my brother of old—
   And a saintly name he bears—
They gave him his place to hold
   At the head of the belfry-stairs,
   Where the minster-towers stand
And the breeding kestrels cry.
   Would I change with my brother a league inland?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I !

In the flush of the hot June prime,
   O’er sleek flood-tides afire,
I hear him hurry the chime
   To the bidding of checked Desire;
   Till the sweated ringers tire
And the wild bob-majors die.
   Could I wait for my turn in the godly choir?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I!

When the smoking scud is blown—
   When the greasy wind-rack lowers—
Apart and at peace and alone,
   He counts the changeless hours.
   He wars with darkling Powers
(I war with, a darkling sea);
   Would he stoop to my work in the gusty mirk?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not he!

There was never a priest to pray,
   There was never a hand to toll,
When they made me guard of the bay,
   And moored me over the shoal.
   I rock, I reel, and I roll—
My four great hammers ply—
   Could I speak or be still at the Church’s will?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I!

The landward marks have failed,
   The fog-bank glides unguessed,
The seaward lights are veiled,
   The spent deep feigns her rest:
   But my ear is laid to her breast,
I lift to the swell—I cry!
   Could I wait in sloth on the Church’s oath?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I!

At the careless end of night
   I thrill to the nearing screw;
I turn in the clearing light
   And I call to the drowsy crew;
   And the mud boils foul and blue
As the blind bow backs away.
   Will they give me their thanks if they clear the banks?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not they!

The beach-pools cake and skim,
   The bursting spray-heads freeze,
I gather on crown and rim
   The grey, grained ice of the seas,
   Where, sheathed from bitt to trees,
The plunging colliers lie.
   Would I barter my place for the Church’s grace?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I!

Through the blur of the whirling snow,
   Or the black of the inky sleet,
The lanterns gather and grow,
   And I look for the homeward fleet.
   Rattle of block and sheet—
‘Ready about—stand by!’
   Shall I ask them a fee ere they fetch the quay?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I!

I dip and I surge and I swing
   In the rip of the racing tide,
By the gates of doom I sing,
   On the horns of death I ride.
   A ship-length overside,
Between the course and the sand,
   Fretted and bound I bide
             Peril whereof I cry.
Would I change with my brother a league inland?
(Shoal! ’Ware shoal!) Not I!


Rudyard Kipling – Harp Song of the Dane Women

Rudyard-Kipling- Harp Song of the Dane Women

“The Knights of the Joyous Venture” — Puck of Pook’s Hill

What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in —
But one chill bed for all to rest in,
That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,
But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you—
Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,
And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,
Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken—

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters.
You steal away to the lapping waters,
And look at your ship in her winter-quarters.

You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables,
The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables—
To pitch her sides and go over her cables.

Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow,
And the sound of your oar-blades, falling hollow,
Is all we have left through the months to follow.

Ah, what is Woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

Rudyard Kipling – The Children

Rudyard-Kipling- The Children

("The Honours of War"—A Diversity of Creatures)

These were our children who died for our lands: they were dear in our sight.
    We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter.
    The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, not another’s hereafter.
Neither the Alien nor Priest shall decide on it.    That is our right.
        But who shall return us the children?

At the hour the Barbarian chose to disclose his pretences,
    And raged against Man, they engaged, on the breasts that they bared for us,
    The first felon-stroke of the sword he had long-time prepared for us—
Their bodies were all our defence while we wrought our defences.

They bought us anew with their blood, forbearing to blame us,
Those hours which we had not made good when the Judgment o’ercame us.
They believed us and perished for it.    Our statecraft, our learning
Delivered them bound to the Pit and alive to the burning
Whither they mirthfully hastened as jostling for honour—
Nor since her birth has our Earth seen such worth loosed upon her.

Nor was their agony brief, or once only imposed on them.
    The wounded, the war-spent, the sick received no exemption:
    Being cured they returned and endured and achieved our redemption,
Hopeless themselves of relief, till Death, marveling, closed on them.

That flesh we had nursed from the first in all cleanness was given
To corruption unveiled and assailed by the malice of Heaven—
By the heart-shaking jests of Decay where it lolled in the wires—
To be blanched or gay-painted by fumes— to be cindered by fires—
To be senselessly tossed and retossed in stale mutilation
From crater to crater.    For that we shall take expiation.
        But who shall return us our children?

Rudyard Kipling – The Long Trail

Rudyard-Kipling-The Long Trail

There’s a whisper down the field where the year has shot her yield,   
   And the ricks stand grey to the sun,
Singing: ‘Over then, come over, for the bee has quit the clover,
   ‘And your English summer's done.’   
      You have heard the beat of the off-shore wind,   
      And the thresh of the deep-sea rain;
      You have heard the song—how long? how long?   
      Pull out on the trail again!
Ha’ done with the Tents of Shem, dear lass,   
We’ve seen the seasons through,
And it’s time to turn on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
Pull out, pull out, on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new!

It’s North you may run to the rime-ringed sun
   Or South to the blind Horn’s hate;
Or East all the way into Mississippi Bay,
   Or West to the Golden Gate—
      Where the blindest bluffs hold good, dear lass,   
      And the wildest tales are true,
      And the men bulk big on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
      And life runs large on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new.

The days are sick and cold, and the skies are grey and old,   
   And the twice-breathed airs blow damp;
And I’d sell my tired soul for the bucking beam-sea roll   
   Of a black Bilbao tramp,
      With her load-line over her hatch, dear lass,   
      And a drunken Dago crew,
      And her nose held down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail
      From Cadiz south on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new.

There be triple ways to take, of the eagle or the snake,   
   Or the way of a man with a maid;
But the sweetest way to me is a ship’s upon the sea   
   In the heel of the North-East Trade.
      Can you hear the crash on her bows, dear lass,   
      And the drum of the racing screw,
      As she ships it green on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
      As she lifts and ’scends on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new?

See the shaking funnels roar, with the Peter at the fore,
   And the fenders grind and heave,
And the derricks clack and grate, as the tackle hooks the crate,
   And the fall-rope whines through the sheave;
      It’s ‘Gang-plank up and in,’ dear lass,
      It’s ‘Hawsers warp her through!’
      And it's ‘All clear aft’ on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
      We’re backing down on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new.

O the mutter overside, when the port-fog holds us tied,
   And the sirens hoot their dread,
When foot by foot we creep o’er the hueless, viewless deep
   To the sob of the questing lead!
      It’s down by the Lower Hope, dear lass,
      With the Gunfleet Sands in view,
      Till the Mouse swings green on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
      And the Gull Light lifts on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new.

O the blazing tropic night, when the wake’s a welt of light
   That holds the hot sky tame,
And the steady fore-foot snores through the planet-powdered floors
   Where the scared whale flukes in flame!
      Her plates are flaked by the sun, dear lass,   
      And her ropes are taut with the dew,
      For we’re booming down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
      We’re sagging south on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new.

Then home, get her home, where the drunken rollers comb,   
   And the shouting seas drive by,
And the engines stamp and ring, and the wet bows reel and swing,
   And the Southern Cross rides high!
      Yes, the old lost stars wheel back, dear lass,   
      That blaze in the velvet blue.
      They’re all old friends on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
      They’re God’s own guides on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new.

Fly forward, O my heart, from the Foreland to the Start—
   We’re steaming all too slow,
And it’s twenty thousand mile to our little lazy isle   
   Where the trumpet-orchids blow!
      You have heard the call of the off-shore wind   
      And the voice of the deep-sea rain;
      You have heard the song—how long?—how long?   
      Pull out on the trail again!

The Lord knows what we may find, dear lass,
   And The Deuce knows what we may do—
But we’re back once more on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,
   We’re down, hull-down, on the Long Trail—the trail that is always new!

Rudyard Kipling – If The City of Sleep

Rudyard-Kipling- If The City of Sleep

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 –
Where the poor may lay their wrongs away,
   And the sick may forget to weep?
But we – pity us! Oh, pity us!
   We wakeful; ah, pity us! –
We must go back with Policeman Day –
   Back from the City of Sleep!
Weary they turn from the scroll and crown,
   Fetter and prayer and plough –
They that go up to the Merciful Town,
   For her gates are closing now.
It is their right in the Baths of Night
   Body and soul to steep,
But we – pity us! ah, pity us!
   We wakeful; oh, pity us! –
We must go back with Policeman Day –
   Back from the City of Sleep!
Over the edge of the purple down,
   Ere the tender dreams begin,
Look – we may look – at the Merciful Town,
   But we may not enter in!
Outcasts all, from her guarded wall
   Back to our watch we creep:
We – pity us! ah, pity us!
   We wakeful; ah, pity us! –
We that go back with Policeman Day –
   Back from the City of Sleep!

Rudyard Kipling – If


(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

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!

Rudyard Kipling – "Tin Fish"

Rudyard-Kipling- Tin Fish

(Sea Warfare)

The ships destroy us above
    And ensnare us beneath.
We arise, we lie down, and we move
    In the belly of Death.

The ships have a thousand eyes
    To mark where we come . . .
But the mirth of a seaport dies
    When our blow gets home.

Rudyard Kipling – Danny Deever

Rudyard-Kipling- Danny Deever

‘What are the bugles blowin’ for?' said Files-on-Parade.  
‘To turn you out, to turn you out,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
‘What makes you look so white, so white?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘I’m dreadin’ what I’ve got to watch,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      For they’re hangin’ Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,
      The Regiment’s in ’ollow square—they’re hangin’ him to-day;
      They’ve taken of his buttons off an’ cut his stripes away,
      An’ they're hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.

‘What makes the rear-rank breathe so ’ard?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘It’s bitter cold, it's bitter cold,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
‘What makes that front-rank man fall down?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘A touch o’ sun, a touch o’ sun,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      They are hangin’ Danny Deever, they are marchin’ of ’im round,
      They ’ave ’alted Danny Deever by ’is coffin on the ground;
      An’ ’e’ll swing in ’arf a minute for a sneakin’ shootin’ hound—
      O they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin!’

‘’Is cot was right-’and cot to mine,’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘’E’s sleepin’ out an’ far to-night,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
‘I’ve drunk ’is beer a score o’ times,’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘’E’s drinkin’ bitter beer alone,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      They are hangin’ Danny Deever, you must mark ’im to ’is place,
      For ’e shot a comrade sleepin’—you must look ’im in the face;
      Nine ’undred of ’is county an’ the Regiment’s disgrace,  
      While they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.

‘What’s that so black agin the sun?’ said Files-on-Parade.  
‘It’s Danny fightin’ ’ard for life,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.  
‘What’s that that whimpers over’ead?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘It’s Danny’s soul that’s passin’ now,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      For they’re done with Danny Deever, you can ’ear the quickstep play,
      The Regiment’s in column, an’ they’re marchin’ us away;
      Ho! the young recruits are shakin’, an’ they’ll want their beer to-day,
      After hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’!

Rudyard Kipling – The Conundrum of the Workshops


When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden's green and gold,  
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mold;  
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,  
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it Art?"  
Wherefore he called to his wife and fled to fashion his work anew—
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;  
And he left his lore to the use of his sons—and that was a glorious gain  
When the Devil chuckled: "Is it Art?" in the ear of the branded Cain.  
They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,  
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: "It's striking, but is it Art?"
The stone was dropped by the quarry-side, and the idle derrick swung,  
While each man talked of the aims of art, and each in an alien tongue.  
They fought and they talked in the north and the south, they talked and they fought in the west,
Till the waters rose on the jabbering land, and the poor Red Clay had rest—  
Had rest till the dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start, 
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: "It's human, but is it Art?"  
The tale is old as the Eden Tree—as new as the new-cut tooth—  
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;  
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,  
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: "You did it, but was it Art?" 
We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice-peg,  
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yolk of an addled egg,  
We know that the tail must wag the dog, as the horse is drawn by the cart;  
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: "It's clever, but is it Art?"  
When the flicker of London's sun falls faint on the club-room's green and gold, 
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mold—  
They scratch with their pens in the mold of their graves, and the ink and the anguish start  
When the Devil mutters behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it art?"  
Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the four great rivers flow,  
And the wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept, and softly scurry through,  
By the favor of God we might know as much—as our father Adam knew.