Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kipling's "The Power of the Dog"

I have been a fan of Rudyard Kipling since I was 12. He's one of the few poets I like. He knew of which he wrote.

There is sorrow enough in the natural way

From men and women to fill our day;

But when we are certain of sorrow in store,

Why do we always arrange for more?

Brothers and sisters I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy

Love unflinching that cannot lie--

Perfect passion and worship fed

By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.

Nevertheless it is hardly fair

To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years that nature permits

Are closing in asthma or tumors or fits

And the vet's unspoken prescription runs

To lethal chambers, or loaded guns.

Then you will find--its your own affair

But--you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will

When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)

When the spirit that answered your every mood

Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,

You still discover how much you care

And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way

When it comes to burying Christian clay.

Our loves are not given, but only lent,

At compound interest of cent per cent.

Though it is not always the case, I believe,

That the longer we've kept 'em the more do we grieve;

For when debts are payable, right or wrong,

A short time loan is as bad as a long--

So why in Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


1234q1234q said...

I am partial to Robert Service.

When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

"You're sick of the game!" Well, now that’s a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know — but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit.
It’s the keeping-your chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you're beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
Why that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and battered and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Kipling was astounding. Here's Outsong In The Jungle, from The Jungle Book.

Unknown said...

That is a very good poem by Robert Service.

Unknown said...

I ran across Kipling when I was 12, by pure accident, and never heard a word about him in middle school, high school, and college. More's the pity.