The Wisdom of Rudyard Kipling


Rudyard Kipling was a prophet. Anyone who reads his work can see things he commented on a century ago coming to pass today. (Of course, George Santayana, a contemporary of Kipling's, said that "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." But either way,) Kipling's poetry has often struck a chord within me.

On 21 July 2004 I wrote the following in my Journal:

Reading Kipling's The Islanders more thoroughly. Spooky! He wrote it in 1902 - he could have been talking about the period between any pair of American wars in the last century: WWI and WWII, when our military atrophied and our navy shrank - WWII and Korea, where only five years after saving the world we were unequipped to save a single peninsula; Korea and Vietnam, where the bureaucrats "hindered and hampered and crippled... thrust out of sight and away/Those that would serve you for Honour and those that served you for pay." And today's war: "Then were the judgments loosened; then was your shame revealed/At the hands of a little people, few but apt in the field." Spooky! What must it have been like, being Kipling? What did he See? And how could he live with the Sight? -The world is in his debt, for having the strength to record his visions for us, the blind. He left us a terrible and eternal gift, which we constantly squander. "And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more."

There are several sites on the web dedicated to poetry in general and Kipling in particular - some are linked below. Much of his work is available online, but I felt compelled to use up my own server space for some of my favorite items, which I feel are particularly relevant in today's troubled world:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

The Islanders

Danegeld

The White Man's Burden

The Female of the Species

The Sons of Martha

The Ballad of the "Clampherdown"

The Grave of the Hundred Head

Memories

MacDonough's Song

Tommy

Shillin' a Day

The Old Issue


The Kipling Society

Poetry Lovers' Page - Kipling


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