Tag Archives: Poetry

Hymn to Physical Pain

I haven’t had time to make the next post in the Omega’s Guide series, so here’s some Kipling instead, because it’s always a good time for Kipling:

Dread Mother of Forgetfulness
Who, when Thy reign begins,
Wipest away the Soul’s distress,
And memory of her sins.

The trusty Worm that dieth not–
The steadfast Fire also,
By Thy contrivance are forgot
In a completer woe.

Thine are the lidless eyes of night
That stare upon our tears,
Through certain hours which in our sight
Exceed a thousand years:

Thine is the thickness of the Dark
That presses in our pain,
As Thine the Dawn that bids us mark
Life’s grinning face again.

Thine is the weariness outworn
No promise shall relieve,
That says at eve, “Would God ’twere morn”
At morn, “Would God ’twere eve!”

And when Thy tender mercies cease
And life unvexed is due,
Instant upon the false release
The Worm and Fire renew.

Wherefore we praise Thee in the deep,
And on our beds we pray
For Thy return that Thou may’st keep
The Pains of Hell at bay!


Hymn Before Action

I’ve been too busy to create original content, so that’s an excellent excuse to post more Kipling. Here’s his Hymn Before Action:

The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions —
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and froward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow —
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee —
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us
At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us,
Lord, let their faith atone!
If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror
Revenge that knows no rein —
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again,
Cloke Thou our undeserving,
Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving
To taste Thy lesser death.

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave!
Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need —
True comrade and true foeman —
Madonna, intercede!

E’en now their vanguard gathers,
E’en now we face the fray —
As Thou didst help our fathers,
Help Thou our host to-day.
Fulfilled of signs and wonders,
In life, in death made clear —
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, hear!


Lost Kipling Poems – The Press

As long-time readers may know, I’m a fan of Kipling, and I think you should be too.

The news out of Britain is that that 50 new Kipling poems have been discovered. They are being put in a new collection that will contain all of his known poems? I haven’t drooled as much over a book since the Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Sadly, the $295 price tag is a bit higher than I’m willing to pay at this time. Hopefully, they’ll release a paperback version in the future at a more reasonable price.

Here’s one of the new poems:

The Press by Rudyard Kipling

Why don’t you write a play –
Why don’t you cut your hair?
Do you trim your toe-nails round
Or do you trim them square?
Tell it to the papers,
Tell it every day.
But, en passant, may I ask
Why don’t you write a play?

What’s your last religion?
Have you got a creed?
Do you dress in Jaeger-wool
Sackcloth, silk or tweed?
Name the books that helped you
On the path you’ve trod.
Do you use a little g
When you write of God?

Do you hope to enter
Fame’s immortal dome?
Do you put the washing out
Or have it done at home?
Have you any morals?
Does your genius burn?
Was you wife a what’s its name?
How much did she earn?

Had your friend a secret
Sorrow, shame or vice –
Have you promised not to tell
What’s your lowest price?
All the housemaid fancied
All the butler guessed
Tell it to the public press
And we will do the rest.

Why don’t you write a play?

It’s a solid poem, far better than the works of most poets, but nowhere near the level of his best poems, such as: If, Hymn Before Action, or Hymn to Physical Pain.

I find the title’s kind of odd as he already has a poem called The Press.

Anyway, Kipling’s awesome and his ‘new’ poem is solid. I can’t wait to read the other poems once they become available at a reasonable price (or on the internet).


An Entertaining Ditty

Commenter an observer posted this in the comments at the Woman and the Dragon. I could not let it get lost in the comments, so here it is reproduced as is for your enjoyment:

On the train, here i sit
Riding the rails, hating it
Going to work, another day
Same old shit, just new day

Surrounded by women, i just want to scream
All playing for women, the indivisible team
Heads up their arses, eyes on their phones
Praying for affirmation, dont throw them a bone

I roll into work, early as hell
Hope for a good day, too soon to tell
Boss bitch aint here yet, thats a good start
On hubs number two, no way shes all heart.

Blondes to the right of me, cows on all sides
Land whales are common, stretched clothes dont hide
Hr’s been regraded, jobs for the girls
Salute team woman flag, whilst it unfurls

I did the right thing, and got a degree
Born the wrong gender, dont waste tears on me
A middle aged man, bottom of the hierarchy
A much hated member of the oppressive patriarchy

Oh cubicle world, such a strange place
A sanitised and identical, six by six space
Privacy and respect a thing of the past
Enjoy the decline, eat and drink whilst it lasts

Corporate busywork beckons, perhaps i should go
Producing report, tables and graphs for people who dont know
Corporate climbers, back stabbers and sociopaths are thee
That rule cubicle plebs, and failed professionals like me

Land whales, and entitlement hangs in the air,
If only policies and guidelines meant it would go nowhere
With saturnalia coming soon, most parents take leave
So the childless, and the single, keep working to breathe

Let think i a grinch, keep reading to see,
The effect the holiday season, really has on me. . .

One late Christmas Eve after I’d staggered to my bed
Reeking of booze and sore in the head
I woke with a headache to the barking of dogs
Cursed neighbours at length and sought out my clogs.

‘Twas on hands and knees that I fell down the stairs
Wishing I’d never matched drink-for-drink those damn Bundy bears
The atm receipts told their own sorry tale,
A long night of woe consuming too many an ale.

Downstairs in the lounge was the big Christmas tree
Lights blinking and flashing but no presents for me
The high cost of toys meant nothing was free
Except the pain of paying for it all, you see.

The credit cards were nestled with their overworked credit lines
The banks were making money, with many fees and fines,
I couldn’t remember how I fell into such debt
But recalled record bank profits, no end in sight yet.

In the kitchen, there was candy and chocolate and sugar,
My waistline was expanding and becoming more fuller,
The end of year showed as there was nothing to see,
With dreadful shows screening all day on TV

The lounge looked a mess and the kitchen no better,
The fridge gaped open and spilt milk made it wetter,
The kids dirty washing was draped on the floor with much care,
In hopes that a washerwoman, soon would be there.

I’d driven up to the house over a drive strewn with toys,
Doubtless left out by hurried girls and boys
High as kites on fast food and red cordial to boot,
But they still managed to sleep, without giving a hoot.

Twas late that same night and still wide awake
Guzzling wine and many biscuits lest someone else should take
A soft knock at the door brought my AK to heel
Clicking in the first cartridge, the lead warm to the feel.

Ho ho ho, outside softly whispered a big man in red,
I’ve got something for you, was the last thing he said,
Yes, thanks for that, you housebreaker, I’ve seen your boot tread,
For you I have plenty of hot, shiny lead.

The sack full of “toys” fell straight to the ground,
And many bags of white powder were spread all around,
At least I’d made good, my much hurried aim,
It was in self defence, I still had to claim.

I couldn’t believe it when finally it was done
That fake jolly fat man selling drugs on the run
The irritating Christmas music and extra pay lost in tax
Perhaps over this break I could finally relax

Santa looked up to smile, one last time at me
I smiled and smiled back as happy as can be
I said to the kids “move on, back to bed, it’s too late for tea”
Their grief at a shot Santa was not good to see

Soon after many police came to see me,
And after taking a lengthy statement, as efficient as can be,
They guided me back to my warm comfy bed,
Where visions of presents and sugar plums danced right through my head

In my dream the solicitor yelled in that cold winters night
“Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight”

The very next morning when I woke from my dreams,
My sanity was back in its place so it seemed.
I knew it was real as the lawyer left me a note
Merry Christmas you Grinch, while I enjoy my new boat

He’d left his invoice at the end of my bed
A jolly big total at the end of it said:
“My very best helper the best of them all
Thanks to you, a new Beemer, much sooner than ‘Fall.”

After waking I dressed and stumbled to the tree
I looked at the presents but what could I see
Shocked children so traumatised their gifts were still wrapped
The spouse winked and I yawned, needing a nap

Now every Christmas since then I remember the sight
When a lowlife drug dealer slid into the night
So what if the gang should decide to revenge kill
The AK is waiting, and a cartridge is filled.

Every year since then when bells make their way down
To ring out the fun when another Santa comes to town
I will always remember that magical night
When bad Santa rode to the moon wishing us a good night


The Gods of the Copybook Heading

Kipling is by far my favourite poet. Richard Anderson recently posted this poem on bureaucracy, so I’m taking the opportunity to do so as well.

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I Make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place.
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

* * * * *

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire —
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


Kipling: Public Waste

Public Waste

	Walpole talks of "a man and his price."
		List to a ditty queer --
	 The sale of a Deputy-Acting-Vice-
		Resident-Engineer,
	 Bought like a bullock, hoof and hide,
	 By the Little Tin Gods on the Mountain Side.

By the Laws of the Family Circle ’tis written in letters of brass
That only a Colonel from Chatham can manage the Railways of State,
Because of the gold on his breeks, and the subjects wherein he must pass;
Because in all matters that deal not with Railways his knowledge is great.

Now Exeter Battleby Tring had laboured from boyhood to eld
On the Lines of the East and the West, and eke of the North and South;
Many Lines had he built and surveyed — important the posts which he held;
And the Lords of the Iron Horse were dumb when he opened his mouth.

Black as the raven his garb, and his heresies jettier still —
Hinting that Railways required lifetimes of study and knowledge —
Never clanked sword by his side — Vauban he knew not nor drill —
Nor was his name on the list of the men who had passed through the “College.”

Wherefore the Little Tin Gods harried their little tin souls,
Seeing he came not from Chatham, jingled no spurs at his heels,
Knowing that, nevertheless, was he first on the Government rolls
For the billet of “Railway Instructor to Little Tin Gods on Wheels.”

Letters not seldom they wrote him, “having the honour to state,”
It would be better for all men if he were laid on the shelf.
Much would accrue to his bank-book, an he consented to wait
Until the Little Tin Gods built him a berth for himself,

“Special, well paid, and exempt from the Law of the Fifty and Five,
Even to Ninety and Nine” — these were the terms of the pact:
Thus did the Little Tin Gods (lon may Their Highnesses thrive!)
Silence his mouth with rupees, keeping their Circle intact;

Appointing a Colonel from Chatham who managed the Bhamo State Line
(The wich was on mile and one furlong — a guaranteed twenty-inch gauge),
So Exeter Battleby Tring consented his claims to resign,
And died, on four thousand a month, in the ninetieth year of his age!