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Chapter Headings From 'beast And Man In India' Post by :leywin Category :Poems Author :Rudyard Kipling Date :November 2010 Read :1468

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Chapter Headings From 'beast And Man In India'

They killed a child to please the Gods
In earth's young penitence,
And I have bled in that Babe's stead
Because of innocence.

I bear the sins of sinful men
That have no sin of my own,
They drive me forth to Heaven's wrath
Unpastured and alone.

I am the meat of sacrifice,
The ransom of man's guilt,
For they give my life to the altar-knife
Wherever shrine is built.

_The Goat._

Between the waving tufts of jungle-grass,
Up from the river as the twilight falls,
Across the dust-beclouded plain they pass
On to the village walls.

Great is the sword and mighty is the pen,
But greater far the labouring ploughman's blade,
For on its oxen and its husbandmen
An Empire's strength is laid.

_The Oxen._

The torn boughs trailing o'er the tusks aslant,
The saplings reeling in the path he trod,
Declare his might--our lord the Elephant,
Chief of the ways of God.

The black bulk heaving where the oxen pant,
The bowed head toiling where the guns careen,
Declare our might--our slave the Elephant
And servant of the Queen.

_The Elephant._

Dark children of the mere and marsh,
Wallow and waste and lea,
Outcaste they wait at the village gate
With folk of low degree.

Their pasture is in no man's land.
Their food the cattle's scorn,
Their rest is mire and their desire
The thicket and the thorn.

But woe to those who break their sleep,
And woe to those who dare
To rouse the herd-bull from his keep,
The wild boar from his lair!

_Pigs and Buffaloes._

The beasts are very wise,
Their mouths are clean of lies,
They talk one to the other,
Bullock to bullock's brother
Resting after their labours,
Each in stall with his neighbours.
But man with goad and whip,
Breaks up their fellowship,
Shouts in their silky ears
Filling their souls with fears.
When he has ploughed the land,
He says: 'They understand.'
But the beasts in stall together,
Freed from the yoke and tether,
Say as the torn flanks smoke:
'Nay, 'twas the whip that spoke.'



The doors were wide, the story saith,
Out of the night came the patient wraith.
He might not speak, and he could not stir
A hair of the Baron's minniver.
Speechless and strengthless, a shadow thin,
He roved the castle to find his kin.
And oh! 'twas a piteous sight to see
The dumb ghost follow his enemy!

_The Return of Imray._

Before my spring I garnered autumn's gain,
Out of her time my field was white with grain,
The year gave up her secrets, to my woe.
Forced and deflowered each sick season lay
In mystery of increase and decay;
I saw the sunset ere men see the day,
Who am too wise in all I should not know.

_Without Benefit of Clergy._



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.

(The end)
Rudyard Kipling's poem: Chapter Headings: 'Beast And Man In India'

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