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Old 21-03-2010, 12:34 AM   #1
kon jean
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Default Kipling

My knowledge of poetry is almost non-existant but a few lines of Kipling I can recall from memory:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your God like a soldier."

I know Kipling is probably unpopular amongst poets due to his reputation of being "The poet of British empiralism" a status sure to draw ire and contempt from the traditionally liberal outlook of your average penner of prose.

However this verse was retained in my memory after one look. Its cadence rolls simply and captures the gung ho bravery and youthful exuberance which some soldiers feel at the thought of battle (alien outlook to me). This fighting mans' confidence is shown while the verse details one of the most terrifying ends a soldier could expect. If Kipling was simply a poet propagandist he would have penned sugar coated verse of endless victory and johnny foreigners defeat.

Also this poem is of use to someone like me who knows nothing of poetry but is a keen social scientist; it can be interpreted as a historical document and compared and contrasted to the empirial powers exerience fighting in Afghanistan today. Using a poem in this way is an approach novel to me.
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Old 18-06-2010, 03:33 AM   #2
magic
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I know little about him or poetry either, however I realise from his poem "Ulster" he supported Irish Unionism, supported the possibility of civil war in my country to defend the Empire. I also believe his poem "If" is the greatest on this planet... enclosed is my favourite reading of it.

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!

Last edited by magic; 18-06-2010 at 03:39 AM.
 
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