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Rudyard Kipling - Poems

The Mother-Lodge

Rudyard Kipling

There was Rundle, Station Master,
An' Beazeley of the Rail,
An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,
An' Donkin' o' the Jail;
An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
Our Master twice was 'e,
With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Eduljee.
Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!
We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!
We 'adn't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
Excep', per'aps, it's us.
For monthly, after Labour,
We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquits,
Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'e knew the best.
So man on man got talkin',
An' not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
Changin' pickets in our 'ead.
Full oft on Guv'ment service
This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
An' bore fraternal greetin's
To the Lodges east an' west,
Accordin' as commanded
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!
I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an' brown,
With the trichies smellin' pleasant
An' the hog-darn passin' down; [Cigar-lighter]
An' the old khansamah snorin' [Butler]
On the bottle-khana floor, [Pantry]
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more!
Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

My New-Cut Ashlar

Rudyard Kipling
My new-cut ashlar takes the light
Where crimson-blank the windows flare
By my own work before the night,
Great Overseer, I make my prayer.
If there be good in that I wrought,
Thy Hand compelled it, Master, Thine ---
Where I have failed to meet Thy Thought
I know, through Thee, the blame was mine.
One instant's toil to Thee denied
Stands all Eternity's offence.
Of that I did with Thee to Guide,
To Thee, through Thee, be excellence.
The depth and dream of my desire,
The bitter paths wherein I stray ---
Thou knowest Who has made the Fire,
Thou knowest Who hast made the Clay.
Who, lest all thought of Eden fade,
Bring'st Eden to the craftsman's brain ---
Godlike to muse o'er his own Trade
And manlike stand with God again!
One stone the more swings into place
In that dread Temple of Thy worth.
It is enough that, through Thy Grace,
I saw nought common on Thy Earth.
Take not that vision from my ken ---
Oh whatsoe'er may spoil or speed.
Help me to need no aid from men
That I may help such men as need!

King Solomon`s Banquet

(BANQUET NIGHT)
Rudyard Kipling
"Once in so often," King Solomon said,
Watching his quarrymen drill the stone,
"We will club our garlic and wine and bread
And banquet together beneath my throne.
And all the Brethren shall come to that mess
As Fellow Craftsmen--no more and no less.
"Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre,
Felling and floating our beautiful trees,
Say that the brethren and I desire
Talk with our Brethren who use the seas.
And we shall be happy to meet them at mess
As Fellow Craftsmen--no more and no less.
"Carry this message to Hiram Abif ---
Excellent Master of forge and mine:
I and the Brethren would like it if
He and the Brethren will come to dine
(Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress)
As Fellow Craftsmen--no more and no less.
"God gave the Hyssop and Cedar their place ---
Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn ---
But that is no reason to black a man's Face
Because he is not what he hasn't been born.
And, as touching the Temple, I hold and Profess
We are Fellow Craftsmen--no more no less."
So it was ordered and so it was done,
And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark
With foc'sle hands of the Sidon run
And Navy Lords from the Royal Ark,
Came and sat down and were merry at mess
As Fellow Craftsmen--no more and no less.
The Quarries are hotter than Hiram's forge,
No one is safe from the dog-whips' reach.
It's mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge,
And it's always blowing off Joppa beach;
But once in so often, the messenger brings
Solomon's mandate: "Forget these things!
Brother to Beggars and Fellow to Kings,
Companion of Princes-forget these things!
Fellow Craftsman, forget these things!"

If

Rudyard Kipling
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 of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal with 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 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 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!


A Pilgrim's Way

Rudyard Kipling
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 per cent. 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 they 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 charities.
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 of 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 may sing of Crowd or King or road-borne company,
That I may labour in my day, vocation and degree,
To prove the same in deed and name, and hold unshakenly
(Where'er I go, whate'er I know, whoe'er my neighbor be)
This single faith in Life and Death and to Eternity:
"The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!

When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted

Rudyard Kipling
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 set us to work anew.
And those that were good will be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten league canvas with brushes of comet's 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;
And 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!

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