As Easy as A.B.C.
Another favorite Kipling poem. I first encountered this in my teens, reading a science fiction novel whose title I now forget. One of the characters recited it.
I have occasionally amused myself trying to find out where the unnamed explorer in the poem started from. Since the poem was written in 1898 South Africa and the Cape Colonies would be a good bet. The geography does not fit, though. It does not seem to be Australia, either. The western US might be a better geographic match, but not culturally. I have concluded that the place existed only in Kipling’s mind, but as with so much of his poetry he gives it a reality.... [Read More]
(Note: Diego Valdez appears to be a fictional creation of Kipling. He seems real, but I cannot find any Spanish admiral from the Great Age of Sail with that name. It is another example of Rudyard Kipling bringing a character to life through the power of his words. This poem is one of my favorites. It speaks of the burdens of success.)
Song of Diego Valdez
1902... [Read More]
The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the sea,
An’ the pens broke up on the lower deck an’ let the creatures free —
An’ the lights went out on the lower deck, an’ no one near but me.
I had been singin’ to them to keep ’em quiet there,
For the lower deck is the dangerousest, requirin’ constant care,
An’ give to me as the strongest man, though used to drink and swear.... [Read More]
This is one of my favorites – just the right mix of humor and retribution. (Note: a Pharisee is a “fairy” – as in a magical being.)
The Ballad of Minepit Shaw
“The Tree of Justice” in Rewards and Fairies... [Read More]
(Sometimes the course of true love fails to run smoothly. . .)
The Mare’s Nest
Jane Austen Beecher Stowe de Rouse
Was good beyond all earthly need;
But, on the other hand, her spouse
Was very, very bad indeed.
He smoked cigars, called churches slow,
And raced — but this she did not know.... [Read More]
(The choice was inspired by the 2018 SOTU speech.)
The Dawn Wind
The Fifteenth Century... [Read More]
Norman and Saxon
“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–
“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.... [Read More]