Tag Archives: Rudyard Kipling

The Female of the Species by Rudyard Kipling

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the other’s tale
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations-worm and savage otherwise, —
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger — Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue — to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity — must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions — not in these her honour dwells.
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions — in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies! –
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges — even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons — even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish — like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it cames that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice — which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern — shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

If by Rudyard Kipling

Do you read poetry? While I’ve read it occasionally, I have to admit it wasn’t something I routinely turned to.  I have my favorite poets and have shared a few of their works on this site.

After reading Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing last year, I decided to make reading poetry part of my daily routine. Bradbury said you must feed the muse a diet of poetry, essays, and short stories. In fact, he recommended reading one essay, one poem and one short story every night before going to bed.

“Poetry, essays. What about short stories, novels? Of course. Read those authors who write the way you hope to write, those who think the way you would like to think. But also read those who do not think as you think or write as you want to write, and so be stimulated in directions you might not take for many years. Here again, don’t let snobbery of others prevent you from reading Kipling, say, while no one else is reading him.” ~ Ray Bradbury

 

If by Rudyard Kipling

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 impostors 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 worn-out 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 breathe 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

The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.” Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Would You, Could You, Read a Fiction Book?

dr. seuss 2I was at a party last night when the topic turned to the latest “must read” books. My ears perked up as I listened to the discussion. They happened to be works of fiction and a few people chimed in with comments like:

“Oh, I can’t read a book if the story’s not real!”

“Why would you read about something that never happened?”

“They’re a waste of time!”

“I learn so much from those self-help books. What can you possibly learn from fiction?”

Really? They have absolutely no idea what they’re missing.

As typical, my thoughts on this subject swirled with another post I recently read. I wish I could remember who wrote it but my brain seems to have filed away that bit of information. Anyway, it was about finding time to read and the author asked for responses in the poetic style of Dr. Seuss. The next thing I knew, this little ditty started to form in my head. Hope you enjoy it.  Happy Friday!

I need to read.
I need to read.
Read, I need.
Fill my need.
I beg and plead.
But don’t make it that
fiction, you love to read.

Do you like
to read a book?

I do so love to
read a book.
But I don’t want fiction
on my nook.

Can’t you read fantasy?
Why must it be reality?

I do not like fantasy.
Realism is the only way for me.
Fiction has no legitimacy.
If it’s not true, then I won’t read.

I do so like
to read a book,
but I can’t have fiction
on my nook.

Could you read
Catcher in the Rye?
Could you read
The Sheltering Sky?

I cannot read
Catcher in the Rye
I cannot read
The Sheltering Sky
I cannot read such
subliteracy.
I can only read
Non-fiction, you see.
I do so like to read a book.
but I won’t put fiction on my nook.

Would you read
Sophie’s Choice?
Or something else
by James Joyce?

Not Sophie’s Choice.
Not James Joyce.
Not Catcher in the Rye.
Not The Sheltering Sky.
I cannot read it if it’s not true.
No made-up worlds will ever do.
I do so like to read a book
but I won’t have fiction on my nook.

Would you? Could you?
Read Animal Farm?
Or Hemmingway’s
Farewell to Arms?

I would not,
could not,
read Animal Farm.

Or Hemmingway’s

Farewell to Arms!

You may like them.
You will see.
Try Ironweed,
Fifty Shades Freed?

I would not, could not read Fifty Shades Freed.
Nor Ironweed! You let me be.

I would not like Tales of the Beadle Bard.
Or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
I would not like Stephen King’s The Stand.
Or any book by that woman Ayn Rand.
I would not like Melville’s Moby Dick.
Or that strangely titled book, Ubik.
I do so like to read a book.
I just don’t want those on my nook.

Twilight! Wuthering Heights!
How about At First Sight?
Could you, would you try
Tender is the Night?

Not Twilight! Not Wuthering Heights!
Not at First Sight or Tender is the Night!
Please tell me, you got that, right?
I would not like An American Tragedy.
I would not like The Guide to the Galaxy.

I would not like Sense and Sensibility.
Not even The Studs Lonigan Trilogy.
I would not like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Or anything by that guy Salman Rushdie

Say!
Emily Bronte?
Or Charlotte Bronte?
All Quiet on the Western Front?

I would not, could not,
Read a Bronte.

Would you, could you,
Read Pearl S. Buck?

I would not, could not, read Pearl S. Buck
I’ve already told you, I don’t give a –
Not even a book by Harper Lee.
I do not like fiction books, you see.
Not Lord Jim. Not Lucky Jim.
Not even Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. Not even on a whim!
I will not read a fiction book.
I do not want them on my nook.

You will not read
a fiction book?

I will not
give them,
a second look.

Could you, would you read
On the Road?

I would not,
could not read
On the Road.

Would you, could you read
Tobacco Road?

I would not, could not read On the Road.
I will not, will not, read Tobacco Road.
I won’t read a world that’s fantastical.
I treasure my books that are biographical.
I will not read a mystery.
It must be truth from history.
I will not read a work of science fiction,
where alien creatures are the main depiction.
I will not read a silly romance.
It’s hardly worth a second glance.
I will not read a romantic suspense.

Reading illusion doesn’t make sense!
I will not read
a fiction
book!

I do not want them
on my nook!

What is this aliteracy
that you claim?
Read them! Read them!
You’ll never
be the same.

Damn!
If you will let me be
I will try them.
You will see.

Say!
I like to read a fiction book!
How many will fit on my nook?
And I would read all ever wrote!
And I would read them as you gloat!
And I will read them in the rain.
And in the dark with severe eye strain.
And in a car until I get sick.
They are so good, what’s a little ick?

So I will read them at the doctor.
And I will read them while I proctor.
And I will read them in my house.
And I will read them with my spouse.
And I will read them here and there.
Say! I will read them ANYWHERE!

I do so like
to read a book
Now it must be
FICTION
on my nook!