Nov 24

2 Poems by Kipling with a relevant and timely essay.

After returning home from my recent trip to Europe, I stumbled into an essay by the very talented John Derbyshire. The piece titled, When foreigners were funny, was written more than 8 years ago, but still quite relevant to current cultural events. Derbyshire highlights two poems by Rudyard Kipling. the first, titled The Stranger and the second, We and They. In his opinion piece for National Review Online, he bemoans the plague of “multiculturalism” that is seeping into every aspect of our society and stifling good humor. Indeed it is suffocating reasonable discourse in the public square! I encourage you to go read his piece. It is important that Western culture awaken from the fog of the current binge of self loathing.

We and They

by Rudyard Kipling

Father and Mother, and Me,
  Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
  And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
  While We live over the way,
But-would you believe it? --They look upon We
  As only a sort of They!

We eat pork and beef
  With cow-horn-handled knives.
They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,
  Are horrified out of Their lives;
While they who live up a tree,
  And feast on grubs and clay,
(Isn't it scandalous? ) look upon We
  As a simply disgusting They!

We shoot birds with a gun.
  They stick lions with spears.
Their full-dress is un-.
  We dress up to Our ears.
They like Their friends for tea.
  We like Our friends to stay;
And, after all that, They look upon We
  As an utterly ignorant They!

We eat kitcheny food.
  We have doors that latch.
They drink milk or blood,
  Under an open thatch.
We have Doctors to fee.
  They have Wizards to pay.
And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We
  As a quite impossible They!

All good people agree,
  And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
  And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
  Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
  As only a sort of They!
***

The Stranger

by Rudyard Kipling
The Stranger within my gate,
  He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk--
  I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
  But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,
   They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
   They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
   When we go to buy or sell.
   
The Stranger within my gates,
  He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control--
  What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
   Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
   Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
  And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
   They think of the likes of me.

This was my father's belief
  And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf--
  And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
  By bitter bread and wine.

***

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/6211-2/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.