Poem by Rudyard Kipling

The Parting of the Column

We’ve ridden and fought and ate and drunk as rations come to hand,
Together for a year and more around this stinkin’ land:
Now you are goin’ home again, but we must see it through.
We needn’t tell we liked you well. Good-by – good luck to you!

You ‘ad no special call to come, and so you doubled out,
And learned us how to camp and cook an’ steal a horse and scout.
Whatever game we fancied most, you joyful played it too,
And rather better of the whole. Good-by – good luck to you!

There isn’t much we ‘aren’t shared since Kruger cut and run,
The same old work, the same old scoff, the same old dust, and sun;
The same old chance that laid us out, or winked an’ let us through;
The same old Life, the same old Death. Good-by – good luck to you!

Our blood ‘as truly mixed with yours – all down the Red Cross train.
We’ve bitten the same thermometer in Blooming-typhoidtein,
We’ve ‘ad the same old temperature – the same relapses too,
The same old saw-backed fever-chart. Good-by – good luck to you!

But ‘twasn’t merely this an’ that (which all the world may know),
‘Twas how you talked an’ looked at things which made us like you so.
All independent, queer an’ odd, but most amazin’ new.
The same old saw-backed fever-chart. Good-by – good luck to you!

Think o’ the stories round the fire, the tales along the trek –
O’ Calgary an’ Wellington, an’ Sydney, and Quebec;
Of mine an’ farm, an’ ranch an’ run, an’ moose an’ caribou,
An’ parrots peckin’ lambs to death! Good-by – good luck to you!

We’ve seen your ‘home by world o’ mouth, we’ve watched your rivers shine,
We’ve ‘read your bloomin’ forests blow of eucalypt’ and pine;
Your young, gay countries north and south, we feel we own ‘em too,
For they were made by rank an’ file. Good-by – good luck to you!

We’ll never read the papers now without inquirin’ first
For a word from all those friendly drops where you were born an’ nursed.
Why, Dawson, Galle, an’ Montreal – Port Darwin – Timaru,
They’re only just across the road! Good-by – good luck to you!

Good-by! – So-long! Don’t lose yourselves – nor us, nor all kind friends,
But tell the girls your side the drift – we’re comin’ – when it ends!
Good-by, you bloomin’ Atlases! You’ve taught us somethin’ new:
The world’s no bigger than a kraal. Good-by – good luck to you!

Topic(s) of this poem: luck

Hymn of Breaking Strain

THE careful text-books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
The material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
‘The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff – the Man!

But in our daily dealing
With stone and steel, we find

The Gods have no such feeling
Of justice toward mankind.
To no set gauge, they make us-
For no laid course prepare-
And presently overtake us
With loads we cannot bear:
Too merciless to bear.

The prudent text-books give it
In tables at the end
‘The stress that shears a rivet
Or makes a tie-bar bend-
‘What traffic wrecks macadam-
What concrete should endure-
but we, poor Sons of Adam
Have no such literature,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder –
All Time and Space as well-
Too wonder-stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till in the mid-illusion
Of Godhead ‘neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all, we did or planned-
The mighty works we planned.

We only of Creation
(0h, luckier bridge, and rail)
Abide by the twin damnation-
To fail and know we fail.
Yet we – by which sole token
We know we once were Gods-
Take shame in being broken
However great the odds-
The burden of the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
Of overthrow and pain;
That we – by which sure token
We know Thy ways are true –
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

 

The Last Chantey

“~And there was no more sea.~”

Thus said The Lord in the Vault above the Cherubim
Calling to the Angels and the Souls in their degree:
“Lo! Earth has passed away
On the smoke of Judgment Day.
That Our word may be established shall We gather up the sea?”

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners:
“Plague upon the hurricane that made us furl and flee!
But the war is done between us,
In the deep the Lord hath seen us —
Our bones we’ll leave the barracout’, and God may sink the sea!”

Then said the soul of Judas that betray]\ed Him:
“Lord, hast Thou forgotten Thy covenant with me?
How once a year I go
To cool me on the floe?
And Ye take my day of mercy if Ye take away the sea!”

Then said the soul of the Angel of the Off-shore Wind:
(He that bits the thunder when the bull-mouthed breakers flee):
“I have watch and ward to keep
O’er Thy wonders on the deep,
And Ye take mine honor from me if Ye take away the sea!”

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners:
“Nay, but we were angry, and a hasty folk are we!
If we worked the ship together
Till she foundered in foul weather,
Are we babes that we should clamour for a vengeance on the sea?”

Then said the souls of the slaves that men threw overboard:
“Kennelled in the picaroon a weary band were we;
But Thy arm was strong to save,
And it touched us on the wave,
And we drowsed the long tides idle till Thy Trumpets tore the sea.”

Then cried the soul of the stout Apostle Paul to God:
“Once we frapped a ship, and she laboured woundily.
There were fourteen score of these,
And they blessed Thee on their knees,
When they learned Thy Grace and Glory under Malta by the sea!”

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners,
Plucking at their harps, and they plucked unhandily:
“Our thumbs are rough and tarred,
And the tune is something hard —
May we lift a Deep-sea Chantey such as seamen use at sea?”

Then said the souls of the gentlemen-adventurers —
Fettered wrist to bar all for red iniquity:
“Ho, we revel in our chains
O’er the sorrow that was Spain’s;
Heave or sink it, leave or drink it, we were masters of the sea!”

Up spake the soul of a gray Gothavn ‘speckshioner —
(He that led the flinching in the fleets of fair Dundee):
“Oh, the ice-blink white and near,
And the bowhead breaching clear!
Will Ye whelm them all for wantonness that wallow in the sea?”

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners,
Crying: “Under Heaven, here is neither lead nor lee!
Must we sing for evermore
On the windless, glassy floor?
Take back your golden fiddles and we’ll beat to open sea!”

Then stooped the Lord, and He called the good sea up to Him,
And ‘stablished his borders unto all eternity,
That such as have no pleasure
For to praise the Lord by measure,
They may enter into galleons and serve Him on the sea.

Sun, wind, and cloud shall fail not from the face of it,
Stinging, ringing spindrift, nor the fulmar flying free;
And the ships shall go abroad
To the Glory of the Lord
Who heard the silly sailor-folk and gave them back their sea!

 

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