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Allspirit Poetry

Selected Poetry of Rudyard Kipling

POEMS


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 wornout 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 breath 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! 

~Kipling

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The Song of the Women

How shall she know the worship we would do her?
  The walls are high, and she is very far.
How shall the woman's message reach unto her
  Above the tumult of the packed bazaar?
    Free wind of March, against the lattice blowing,
    Bear thou our thanks, lest she depart unknowing.

Go forth across the fields we may not roam in,
  Go forth beyond the trees that rim the city,
To whatsoe'er fair place she hath her home in,
  Who dowered us with walth of love and pity.
    Out of our shadow pass, and seek her singing --
    "I have no gifts but Love alone for bringing."

Say that we be a feeble folk who greet her,
  But old in grief, and very wise in tears;
Say that we, being desolate, entreat her
  That she forget us not in after years;
    For we have seen the light, and it were grievous
    To dim that dawning if our lady leave us.

By life that ebbed with none to stanch the failing
  By Love's sad harvest garnered in the spring,
When Love in ignorance wept unavailing
  O'er young buds dead before their blossoming;
    By all the grey owl watched, the pale moon viewed,
    In past grim years, declare our gratitude!

By hands uplifted to the Gods that heard not,
  By fits that found no favor in their sight,
By faces bent above the babe that stirred not,
  By nameless horrors of the stifling night;
    By ills foredone, by peace her toils discover,
    Bid Earth be good beneath and Heaven above her!

If she have sent her servants in our pain
  If she have fought with Death and dulled his sword;
If she have given back our sick again.
  And to the breast the wakling lips restored,
    Is it a little thing that she has wrought?
    Then Life and Death and Motherhood be nought.

Go forth, O wind, our message on thy wings,
  And they shall hear thee pass and bid thee speed,
In reed-roofed hut, or white-walled home of kings,
  Who have been helpen by ther in their need.
    All spring shall give thee fragrance, and the wheat
    Shall be a tasselled floorcloth to thy feet.    

Haste, for our hearts are with thee, take no rest!
  Loud-voiced ambassador, from sea to sea
Proclaim the blessing, mainfold, confessed.
  Of those in darkness by her hand set free.
    Then very softly to her presence move,
    And whisper: "Lady, lo, they know and love!"

~Kipling

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When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted
1892 - L'Envoi To "The Seven Seas"

When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.
And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair.
They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
Andd no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!

~Kipling

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Kim

Unto whose use the pregnant suns are poised,
With idiot moons and stars retracting stars?
Creep thou between -- thy coming's all unnoised.
Heaven hath her high, as Earth her baser, wars.
Heir to these tumults, this affright, that fray
(By Adam's, fathers', own, sin bound alway);
Peer up, draw out thy horoscope and say
Which planet mends thy threadbare fate, or mars.

~Kipling

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Gunga Din

You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
      He was "Din! Din! Din!
  You limpin' lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
      Hi! slippery hitherao!
      Water, get it!  Panee lao!      [Bring water swiftly.]
  You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din."
 
The uniform 'e wore
Was nothin' much before,
An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
For a piece o' twisty rag
An' a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay
In a sidin' through the day,
Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted "Harry By!"           [Mr. Atkins's equivalent for "O brother."]
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
      It was "Din! Din! Din!
  You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
      You put some juldee in it                               [Be quick.]
      Or I'll marrow you this minute                           [Hit you.]
  If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"
 
'E would dot an' carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin' nut,
'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
With 'is mussick on 'is back,                               [Water-skin.]
'E would skip with our attack,
An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire",
An' for all 'is dirty 'ide
'E was white, clear white, inside
When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
      It was "Din! Din! Din!"
  With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
      When the cartridges ran out,
      You could hear the front-files shout,
  "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"
 
I shan't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green:
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
      It was "Din! Din! Din!
  'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
      'E's chawin' up the ground,
      An' 'e's kickin' all around:
  For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!"
 
'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink", sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone --
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
      Yes, Din! Din! Din!
  You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
      Though I've belted you and flayed you,
      By the livin' Gawd that made you,
  You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

~Kipling

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The Glory of the Garden

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of
           all ;
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks:
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the
           planks.                                  

And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
For except when seeds are  planted and we shout to scare the
            birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:--"Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives

There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further
            orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to 
            harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hand and 
              pray 
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!

~Kipling

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