Kipling Friday

This week’s poem is The Inventor. More Kipling, enjoy.

The Inventor

Time and Space decreed his lot,
But little Man was quick to note:
When Time and Space said Man might not,
Bravely he answered, “Nay! I mote.”

I looked on old New England.
Time and Space stood fast.
Men built altars to Distance
At every mile they passed.

Yet sleek with oil, a Force was hid
Making mock of all they did,
Ready at the appointed hour
To yield up to Prometheus
The secular and well-drilled Power
The Gods secreted thus.

And over high Wantastiquet
Emulous my lightnings ran,
Unregarded but afret,
To fall in with my plan.

I beheld two ministries,
One of air and one of earth —
At a thought I married these,
And my New Age came to birth!

For rarely my purpose errs
Though oft it seems to pause,
And rods and cylinders
Obey my planets’ laws.

Oil I drew from the well,
And Franklin’s spark from its blue;
Time and Distance fell,
And Man went forth anew.

On the prairie and in the street
So long as my chariots roll
I bind wings to Adam’s feet,
And, presently, to his soul!

Kipling Friday

Since it’s Friday, and I’m half-dead from the weeks festivities, here’s the usual Kipling to help you transition to the weekend. It also just so happens that I miss my dog. I’ve never been a cat person, but there’s just something about dogs, maybe it’s just the fact that no matter what’s bothering you, the dog is always there to cheer you up.

The Charlotte Dog

“The Power of the Dog”

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?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie —
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find — it’s your own affair —
But . . . you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit hat answered your every mood
Is gone — wherever it goes — for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept’em, the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long —
So why in — Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Kipling Friday

I’ve got something a bit different for the usual installment of Kipling Friday. There’s a great article over at New Criterion as well as a companion piece over at The Powerline. They both discuss Kipling’s importance in contemporary poetry and literature. As a Kipling fan, I’m well pleased. HAT TIP: Commander Salamander




If

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 imposters 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!

Friday Saturday Kipling

So I forgot to post the usual Kipling poem yesterday. I apologize. But to make up for it, here’s some Rudyard Kipling on Saturday.

A Smuggler’s Song

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again — and they’ll be gone next day!

If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm — don’t you ask no more!

If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be carefull what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!

Knocks and footsteps round the house — whistles after dark —
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie —
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!

If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood —
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie —
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Kipling Friday

Today is Friday, thank goodness. It’s been a long, rough week, so here’s some Kipling to carry you into the weekend.



The Sea-Wife

There dwells a wife by the Northern Gate,
And a wealthy wife is she;
She breeds a breed o’ rovin’ men
And casts them over sea.

And some are drowned in deep water,
And some in sight o’ shore,
And word goes back to the weary wife
And ever she sends more.

For since that wife had gate or gear,
Or hearth or garth or bield,
She willed her sons to the white harvest,
And that is a bitter yield.

She wills her sons to the wet ploughing,
To ride the horse of tree,
And syne her sons come back again
Far-spent from out the sea.

The good wife’s sons come home again
With little into their hands,
But the lore of men that ha’ dealt with men
In the new and naked lands;

But the faith of men that ha’ brothered men
By more than easy breath,
And the eyes o’ men that ha’ read wi’ men
In the open books of death.

Rich are they, rich in wonders seen,
But poor in the goods o’ men;
So what they ha’ got by the skin o’ their teeth
They sell for their teeth again.

For whether they lose to the naked life
Or win to their hearts’ desire,
They tell it all to the weary wife
That nods beside the fire.

Her hearth is wide to every wind
That makes the white ash spin;
And tide and tide and ‘tween the tides
Her sons go out and in;

(Out with great mirth that do desire
Hazard of trackless ways,
In with content to wait their watch
And warm before the blaze);

And some return by failing light,
And some in waking dream,
For she hears the heels of the dripping ghosts
That ride the rough roof-beam.

Home, they come home from all the ports,
The living and the dead;
The good wife’s sons come home again
For her blessing on their head!

Kipling Friday

Well, it’s Friday, so you know what that means: tomorrow is Saturday. Also, I get to post a wee bit o’ Kipling for your reading enjoyment. I enjoy it, too. Don’t fret with the notion that I dislike Kipling. In fact, he’s my favorite poet. I hope you have a good weekend.

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; ah, 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!

Kipling Fridays

A feature that will be returning from the old blog is Kipling Fridays. This week’s poem is entitled The King. Enjoy.




The King

“Farewell, Romance!” the Cave-men said;
“With bone well carved He went away,
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
And jasper tips the spear to-day.
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
And He with these. Farewell, Romance!”

“Farewell, Romance!” the Lake-folk sighed;
“We lift the weight of flatling years;
The caverns of the mountain-side
Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
Guard ye his rest. Romance, farewell!”

“Farewell, Romance!” the Soldier spoke;
“By sleight of sword we may not win,
But scuffle ‘mid uncleanly smoke
Of arquebus and culverin.
Honour is lost, and none may tell
Who paid good blows. Romance, farewell!”

“Farewell, Romance!” the Traders cried;
“Our keels have lain with every sea;
The dull-returning wind and tide
Heave up the wharf where we would be;
The known and noted breezes swell
Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!”

“Good-bye, Romance!” the Skipper said;
“He vanished with the coal we burn.
Our dial marks full-steam ahead,
Our speed is timed to half a turn.
Sure as the ferried barge we ply
‘Twixt port and port. Romance, good-bye!”

“Romance!” the season-tickets mourn,
“He never ran to catch His train,
But passed with coach and guard and horn —
And left the local — late again!”
Confound Romance!… And all unseen
Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.

His hand was on the lever laid,
His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
His whistle waked the snowbound grade,
His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
By dock and deep and mine and mill
The Boy-god reckless laboured still!

Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,
Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
With unconsidered miracle,
Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
Then taught His chosen bard to say:
“Our King was with us — yesterday!”

Hump-Day Humor

It’s the middle of the week, and if your week has been anything like mine, you’re ready for the weekend. So, to help get you through, here’s a humorous little video:




Oh, how I wish candles weren’t a prohibited item in Barracks. My room could definitely use a little pigskin smell.

Kipling Fridays

Seems I was a bit off in posting a bit o’ Kipling this Friday. Can you forgive me, all 2 of you reading this blog(Hi, Mom!)?

Anchor Song

Heh! Walk her round. Heave, ah, heave her short again!
Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on the pawl.
Loose all sail, and brace your yards aback and full —
Ready jib to pay her off and heave short all!
Well, ah, fare you well; we can stay no more with you, my love —
Down, set down your liquor and your girl from off your knee;
For the wind has come to say:
“You must take me while you may,
If you’d go to Mother Carey
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!),
Oh, we’re bound to Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!”

Heh! Walk her round. Break, ah, break it out o’ that!
Break our starboard-bower out, apeak, awash, and clear!
Port — port she casts, with the harbour-mud beneath her foot,
And that’s the last o’ bottom we shall see this year!
Well, ah, fare you well, for we’ve got to take her out again —
Take her out in ballast, riding light and cargo-free.
And it’s time to clear and quit
When the hawser grips the bitt,
So we’ll pay you with the foresheet and a promise from the sea!

Heh! Tally on. Aft and walk away with her!
Handsome to the cathead, now; O tally on the fall!
Stop, seize and fish, and easy on the davit-guy.
Up, well up the fluke of her, and inboard haul!
Well, ah, fare you well, for the Channel wind’s took hold of us,
Choking down our voices as we snatch the gaskets free.
And it’s blowing up for night,
And she’s dropping light on light,
And she’s snorting under bonnets for a breath of open sea,

Wheel, full and by; but she’ll smell her road alone to-night.
Sick she is and harbour-sick — Oh, sick to clear the land!
Roll down to Brest with the old Red Ensign over us —
Carry on and thrash her out with all she’ll stand!
Well, ah, fare you well, and it’s Ushant slams the door on us,
Whirling like a windmill through the dirty scud to lee:
Till the last, last flicker goes
From the tumbling water-rows,
And we’re off to Mother Carey
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!),
Oh, we’re bound for Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!

Kipling Fridays

This week it’s Tommy. An ode to the love of the military during times of great peril, but in good, peaceful times, the citizenry is filled with a certain antipathy towards the rough men who keep them out from under the yoke of oppression. Just some more Rudyard Kipling to start the weekend off on the right foot. Have a good one.

“I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!”

Kipling Fridays

The title of this one is A Ballade of Burial. A little Kipling, if you’re interested. I’m a wee bit of a fan, I hope you are, too.

“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 clamour 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” brake —
‘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.”

An Ode To Boots

My nicely polished boots

I sit in my room and sweep it with my eyes. The selector in iTunes suddenly comes to “Fanfare For The Common Man”, a stirring composition of horns and drums that moves me. My eyes fall upon my boots sitting on the floor. A pair of black, size 11 Jump Boots. The laces only laced up halfway, the zippers unzipped, and in the toe caps I can see my face. I have walked many miles in these boots. I have broken them in. They have given me blisters and rubbed my feet raw. I have marched and worked in them from before the sun rises to after the sun sets. I worn them and they have never failed me. And even after all this time, they still retain that brand new leather smell.

 

And then the thought hit me. Many men before me have worn boots like mine. Some have worn boots like these to their final resting place. Others have donned these boots and become heroes. Many have lost their lives in similar boots. I reflected on that for a moment. And for those that did make that ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our freedom, that was sometimes all they had left to send home to their loved ones, their boots.

 

Many who were scarred in battle can never wear boots again. They can never walk again because they have given their legs or feet or entire bod half to the fight. Some have stepped on land mines and are now confined to a wheelchair. Once, they were great warriors, men who laughed at death, because they had to, because that was the only thing that kept them sane. And a great many others have worn these boots and returned without a scratch and a few stories to tell. Boots are an integral part of warfare. A soldier has nothing if he can’t use his feet. In battles long past one of a soldier’s most prized posessions were his boots.

 

But to what end do these soldiers risk their lives and sometimes sacrifice them? In a country where it seems that many do not appreciate what they do and do not care. Where it seems that many care only enough to criticize and spew vile, hateful things from their mouths. A country where valiant warriors return home from a the hell that is war, only to be spat upon by some ignoramus. But could it be true, that a country’s citizens could be so callous towards those who act selflessly in order to protect what they believe in? They could persecute men and women who are not even U.S. citizens who fight for them because they love America and all it stands for? No, not all. Most appreciate what these brave few who do so much so that the many can prosper. It is only a handful of rotten apples who wish to tarnish the names of our servicemen and women. But most of America feels indebted to those who serve and hope and pray that they make it home safe.

 

And while thinking about that, I came to the realization that in the near future I would be donning those boots. That I would join the ranks of the service. That I would put on a uniform that represented more than two hundred years of tradition. To pledge my faithfulness to my country, like so many before me. And, if asked, be ready to lay down my life to ensure that my children and my children’s children and every generation after that enjoyed the same rights and freedoms that I do. And in the not-so-distant future I will be proud to wear those boots.

 

But for now, I only wear a pair of black, size 11, jump boots that I bought at a surplus store. And in closing I would like to share an old Army tradition. When a soldier is killed in combat, his unit holds a memorial service for him. Instead of his body they have his helmet resting upon his rifle that is posted in the ground. And at the base of his rifle are his boots. It comes full circle.

I Support Our Troops!