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Rudyard kipling

Rudyard Kipling

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
10

I’VE NEVER sailed the Amazon,
I’ve never reached Brazil;
But the Don and Magdalena,
They can go there when they will!

   Yes, weekly from Southampton,
   Great steamers, white and gold,
   Go rolling down to Rio
   (Roll down—roll down to Rio!)
   And I’d like to roll to Rio
   Some day before I’m old!

I’ve never seen a Jaguar,
 Nor yet an Armadill
O dilloing in his armour,
And I s’pose I never will,

   Unless I go to Rio
   These wonders to behold
   Roll down—roll down to Rio
   Roll really down to Rio!
   Oh, I’d love to roll to Rio
   Some day before I’m old!

It I have given you delight
    By aught that I have done,
Let me lie quiet in that night
    Which shall be yours anon:

And for the little, little, span
    The dead are born in mind,
Seek not to question other than
    The books I leave behind.

I do not look for holy saints to guide me on my way
Or male and female devilkins to lead my feet astray.
If these are added I rejoice - if not, I shall not mind
So long as I have leave and choice to meet my fellow-kind.
  For as we come and as we go (and deadly soon go we!)
  The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

Thus I will honour pious men whose virtue shines so bright
(Though none are more amazed than I when I by chance do right)
And I will pity foolish men for woe their sins have bred
(Though ninety-nine percent of mine I brought on my own head)
  And Amorite or Eremite or General Averagee
  The people, Lord, Thy people are good enough for me

And when the bore me overmuch, I will not shake mine ears
Recalling many thousand such whom I have bored to tears
And when they labour to impress I will not doubt nor scoff
Since I myself have done no less and sometimes pulled it off
  Yea as we are and we are not and we pretend to be
  The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

And when they work me random wrong as oftentimes hath been
I will not cherish hate too long (my hands are none too clean)
And when they do me random good I will not feign surprise
No more than those whom I have cheered with wayside courtesies
  But as we give and as we take - whate’er our takings be)
  The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

But when I meet with frantic folk who sinfully declare
There is no pardon for their sin, the same I will not spare
Till I have proved that Heaven and Hell which in our hearts we have
Show nothing irredeemable on either side the grave
  For as we live and as we die - if utter Death there be
  The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

Deliver me from every pride - the Middle, High and Low
That bars me from a brother’s side, whatever pride he show
And purge me from all heresies of thought and speech and pen
That bid me judge him otherwise than I am judged.  Amen
That I might sing of Crowd or King or road-borne company
That I may labour in my day, vocation and degree
To provr the same by deed and name, and hold unshakenly
(Where’er I go, whate’er I know, whoe’er my neighbour be)
  This single faith in Life and Death and to Eternity
  “The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.”

FULL thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail.
It cost a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail;
But, spite all modern notions, I found her first and best—
The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest.

Fair held the breeze behind us—’twas warm with lovers’ prayers.
We’d stolen wills for ballast and a crew of missing heirs.
They shipped as Able Bastards till the Wicked Nurse confessed,
And they worked the old three—decker to the Islands of the Blest.

By ways no gaze could follow, a course unspoiled of Cook,
Per Fancy, fleetest in man, our titled berths we took
With maids of matchless beauty and parentage unguessed,
And a Church of England parson for the Islands of the Blest.

We asked no social questions—we pumped no hidden shame—
We never talked obstetrics when the Little Stranger came:
We left the Lord in Heaven, we left the fiends in Hell.
We weren’t exactly Yussufs, but—Zuleika didn’t tell.

No moral doubt assailed us, so when the port we neared,
The villain had his flogging at the gangway, and we cheered.
’Twas fiddle in the forc’s’le—’twas garlands on the mast,
For every one got married, and I went ashore at last.

I left ’em all in couples a—kissing on the decks.
I left the lovers loving and the parents signing cheques.
In endless English comfort by county—folk caressed,
I left the old three—decker at the Islands of the Blest!

That route is barred to steamers: you’ll never lift again
Our purple—painted headlands or the lordly keeps of Spain.
They’re just beyond your skyline, howe’er so far you cruise
In a ram—you—damn—you liner with a brace of bucking screws.

Swing round your aching search—light—’twill show no haven’s peace.
Ay, blow your shrieking sirens to the deaf, gray—bearded seas!
Boom out the dripping oil—bags to skin the deep’s unrest—
And you aren’t one knot the nearer to the Islands of the Blest!

But when you’re threshing, crippled, with broken bridge and rail,
At a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head to gale,
Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taffrail dressed,
You’ll see the old three—decker for the Islands of the Blest.

You’ll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver spread;
You’ll hear the long—drawn thunder ’neath her leaping figure—head;
While far, so far above you, her tall poop—lanterns shine
Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles round a shrine!

Hull down—hull down and under—she dwindles to a speck,
With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her deck.
All’s well—all’s well aboard her—she’s left you far behind,
With a scent of old—world roses through the fog that ties you blind.

Her crew are babes or madmen? Her port is all to make?
You’re manned by Truth and Science, and you steam for steaming’s sake?
Well, tinker up your engines—you know your business best—
She’s taking tired people to the Islands of the Blest!

LONG years ago, ere R—lls or R—ce
 Trebled the mileage man could cover;
When Sh—nks’s Mare was H—bs—n’s Choice,
 And Bl—r—ot had not flown to Dover
When good hoteliers looked askance
 If any power save horse—flesh drew vans—
’Time was in easy, hand—made France,
 I met the Curé of Saint Juvans.

He was no babbler, but, at last,
 One learned from things he left unspoken
How in some fiery, far—off past,
 His, and a woman’s, heart were broken.
He sought for death, but found it not,
 Yet, seeking, found his true vocation,
And fifty years, by all forgot,
 Toiled at a simple folks’ salvation.

His pay was lower than our Dole;
 The piteous little church he tended
Had neither roof nor vestments whole
 Save what his own hard fingers mended
While, any hour, at every need
 (As Conscience or La Grippe assailed ’em),
His parish bade him come with speed,
 And, foot or cart, he never failed ’em.

His speech—to suit his hearers—ran
 From pure Parisian to gross peasant,
With interludes North African
 If any Légionnaire were present:
And when some wine—ripe atheist mocked
 His office or the Faith he knelt in,
He left the sinner dumb and shocked
 By oaths his old Battalion dealt in. . .

And he was learned in Death and Life;
 And he was Logic’s self (as France is).
He knew his folk—man, maid, and wife—
 Their forebears, failings, and finances.
Spite, Avarice, Devotion, Lies—
 Passion ablaze or sick Obsession—
He dealt with each physician—wise;
 Stern or most tender, at Confession.

To—day? God knows where he may lie—
 His Cross of weathered beads above him
But one not worthy to untie
 His shoe—string, prays you read—and love him!

WHO recalls the twilight and the rangèd tents in order
(Violet peaks uplifted through the crystal evening air?)
And the clink of iron teacups and the piteous, noble laughter,
And the faces of the Sisters with the dust upon their hair?

(Now and not hereafter, while the breath is in our nostrils,
Now and not hereafter, ere the meaner years go by—
Let us now remember many honourable women,
Such as bade us turn again when we were like to die.)

Who recalls the morning and the thunder through the foothills
(Tufts of fleecy shrapnel strung along the empty plains?)
And the sun—scarred Red—Cross coaches creeping guarded to the culvert,
And the faces of the Sisters looking gravely from the trains?

(When the days were torment and the nights were clouded terror,
When the Powers of Darkness had dominion on our soul—
When we fled consuming through the Seven Hells of Fever,
These put out their hands to us and healed and made us whole.)

Who recalls the midnight by the bridge’s wrecked abutment
(Autumn rain that rattled like a Maxim on the tin?)
And the lightning—dazzled levels and the streaming, straining wagons,
And the faces of the Sisters as they bore the wounded in?

(Till the pain was merciful and stunned us into silence—
When each nerve cried out on God that made the misused clay;
When the Body triumphed and the last poor shame departed—
These abode our agonies and wiped the sweat away.)

Who recalls the noontide and the funerals through the market
(Blanket—hidden bodies, flagless, followed by the flies?)
And the footsore firing—party, and the dust and stench and staleness,
And the faces of the Sisters and the glory in their eyes?

(Bold behind the battle, in the open camp all—hallowed,
 Patient, wise, and mirthful in the ringed and reeking town,
These endured unresting till they rested from their labours—
Little wasted bodies, ah, so light to lower down!)

Yet their graves are scattered and their names are clean forgotten,
Earth shall not remember, but the Waiting Angel knows
Them that died at Uitvlugt when the plague was on the city—
 Her that fell at Simon’s Town in service on our foes.

Wherefore we they ransomed, while the breath is in our nostrils;
 Now and not hereafter—ere the meaner years go by—
Praise with love and worship many honourable women,
Those that gave their lives for us when we were like to die!

HE THAT hath a Gospel
To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it utterly —
Body, soul and mind —
Though he go to Calvary
Daily for its gain —
It is His Disciple
Shall make his labour vain.

He that hath a Gospel
For all earth to own —
Though he etch it on the steel,
Or carve it on the stone —
Not to be misdoubted
Through the after—days —
It is His Disciple
Shall read it many ways.

It is His Disciple
(Ere Those Bones are dust)
Who shall change the Charter,
Who shall split the Trust —
Amplify distinctions,
Rationalize the Claim;
Preaching that the Master
Would have done the same.

It is His Disciple
Who shall tell us how
Much the Master would have scrapped
Had he lived till now —
What he would have modified
Of what he said before.
It is His Disciple
Shall do this and more....

He that hath a Gospel
Whereby Heaven is won
(Carpenter, or cameleer,
Or Maya’s dreaming son),
Many swords shall pierce Him,
Mingling blood with gall;
But His Own Disciple
Shall wound Him worst of all!

Old Mother Laidinwool had nigh twelve months been dead.
She heard the hops was doing well, an’ so popped up her head
For  said  she:  “The  lads  I’ve picked  with  when  I  was young and fair,
They’re bound to be  at hopping and  I’m bound to meet 'em  there! ”

               Let me up and go
                Back to the work I know, Lord!
                Back to the work I know, Lord!
                For it is dark where I lie down, My Lord!
                An’ it’s dark where I lie down!

Old Mother Laidinwool, she give her bones a shake,
An’ trotted down the churchyard-path as fast as she could make.
She met the Parson walking, but she says to him, says she: —
“Oh, don’t let no one trouble for a poor old ghost like me!”

'Twas all a warm September an’ the hops had flourished grand.
She saw the folks get into 'em with stockin’s on their hands—
An’ none of ‘em was foreigners but all which she had known,
And old Mother Laidinwool she blessed ’em every one.

She saw her daughters picking an’ their children them-beside,
An’ she mowed among the babies an’ she stilled 'em when they cried.
She saw their clothes was bought, not begged, an’ they was clean an’ fat,
An’ old Mother Laidinwool she thanked the Lord for that.

Old Mother Laidinwool she waited on all day
Until it come too dark to see an’ people went away—
Until it was too dark to see an’ lights began to show,
An’ old Mother Laidinwool she hadn’t where to go.

Old Mother Laidinwool she give her bones a shake
An 'trotted back to churchyard-mould as fast as she could make.
She  went  where  she  was  bidden  to  an’  there  laid  down  her ghost,  .  .  .
An’ the Lord have mercy on you in the Day you need it most!

            Let me in again,
             Out of the wet an’ rain, Lord!
             Out of the wet an’ rain, Lord!
             For it’s best as You shall say, My Lord!
             An’ it’s best as You shall say!

IF down here I chance to die,
Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of “I”
To the Hills for old sake’s sake,
Pack me very thoroughly
 In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry—
 This observe for old sake’s sake.

To the railway station hie,
There a single ticket take
For Umballa—goods—train—I
Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly
Spite of clamor coolies make;
Thus in state and dignity
Send me up for old sake’s sake.

Next the sleepy Babu wake,
Book a Kalka van “for four.”
Few, I think, will care to make
Journeys with me any more
As they used to do of yore.
I shall need a “special” break—
Thing I never took before—
 Get me one for old sake’s sake.

After that—arrangements make.
 No hotel will take me in,
And a bullock’s back would break
’Neath the teak and leaden skin
Tonga ropes are frail and thin,
 Or, did I a back—seat take,
In a tonga I might spin,—
 Do your best for old sake’s sake.

After that —your work is done.
 Recollect a Padre must
Mourn the dear departed one—
Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don’t go down at once. I trust
You will find excuse to “snake
Three days’ casual on the bust.”—
Get your fun for old sake’s sake.

I could never stand the Plains.
Think of blazing June and May
Think of those September rains
Yearly till the Judgment Day!
I should never rest in peace,
 I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease,
To the Hills for old sake’s sake.

ALL day long to the judgment—seat
The crazed Provincials drew —
All day long at their ruler’s feet
Howled for the blood of the Jew.
Insurrection with one accord
Banded itself and woke,
And Paul was about to open his mouth
When Achaia’s Deputy spoke —

“Whether the God descend from above
Or the Man ascend upon high,
Whether this maker of tents be Jove
Or a younger deity—
I will be no judge between your gods
And your godless bickerings.
Lictor, drive them hence with rods—
I care for none of these things!

Were it a question of lawful due
Or Caesar’s rule denied,
Reason would I should bear with you
And order it well to be tried;
But this is a question of words and names,
I know the strife it brings.
I will not pass upon any your claims.
I care for none of these things.

One thing only I see most clear,
As I pray you also see.
Claudius Caesar hath set me here
Rome’s Deputy to be.
It is Her peace that ye go to break—
Not mine, nor any king’s.
But, touching your clamour of ‘Conscience sake,’
I care for none of these things.

Whether ye rise for the sake of a creed,
Or riot in hope of spoil,
Equally will I punish the deed,
Equally check the broil;
Nowise permitting injustice at all
From whatever doctrine it springs—
But– whether ye follow Priapus or Paul,
I care for none of these things!”

O YE who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet—flare to judgment Day,
Be gentle when “the heathen” pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda’s Lord, the Bodhisat,
The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura,

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss—sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura—

The grey—robed, gay—sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master’s eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
Of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A—flower ’neath her golden htee
The Shwe—Dagon flare easterly
From Burmah to Kamakura,

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums,
And droned—“Om mane padme hums”—
A world’s—width from Kamakura.

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh—Gaya’s ruins pit the hill,
And beef—fed zealots threaten ill
To Buddha and Kamakura.

A tourist—show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?

Nothing in life has been made by man for man’s using
But it was shown long since to man in ages
Lost as the name of the maker of it,

Who received oppression and shame for his wages—
Hate, avoidance, and scorn in his daily dealings—
Until he perished, wholly confounded.

More to be pitied than he are the wise
Souls which foresaw the evil of loosing
Knowledge or Art before time, and aborted
Noble devices and deep—wrought healings,
Lest offence should arise.

Heaven delivers on earth the Hour that cannot be thwarted,
Neither advanced, at the price of a world nor a soul, and its Prophet
Comes through the blood of the vanguards who dreamed– too soon– it had sounded.