Trumpet Player – Langston Hughes

The NegroWith the trumpet at his lips

Has dark moons of weariness

Beneath his eyes

where the smoldering memory

of slave ships

Blazed to the crack of whips

about thighs
The negro

with the trumpet at his lips

has a head of vibrant hair

tamed down,

patent-leathered now

until it gleams

like jet-

were jet a crown
the music

from the trumpet at his lips

is honey

mixed with liquid fire

the rhythm

from the trumpet at his lips

is ecstasy

distilled from old desire-

that is longing for the moon

where the moonlight’s but a spotlight

in his eyes,


that is longing for the sea

where the sea’s a bar-glass

sucker size
The Negro

with the trumpet at his lips

whose jacket

Has a fine one-button roll,

does not know

upon what riff the music slips
It’s hypodermic needle

to his soul

but softly

as the tune comes from his throat


mellows to a golden note 

When Sue Wears Red – Langston Hughes 

When Susanna Jones wears red

her face is like an ancient cameo

Turned brown by the ages.

Come with a blast of trumphets, Jesus!

When Susanna Jones wears red

A queen from some time-dead Egyptian night

Walks once again.

Blow trumphets, Jesus!

And the beauty of Susanna Jones in red

Burns in my heart a love-fire sharp like a pain.

Sweet silver trumphets, Jesus! 

Will V – Day Be Me – Day Too – Langston Hughes

Over There,World War II.
Dear Fellow Americans,

I write this letter

Hoping times will be better

When this war

Is through.

I’m a Tan-skinned Yank

Driving a tank.


I wear a U. S. uniform.

I’ve done the enemy much harm,

I’ve driven back

The Germans and the Japs,

From Burma to the Rhine.

On every battle line,

I’ve dropped defeat

Into the Fascists’ laps.
I am a Negro American

Out to defend my land

Army, Navy, Air Corps–

I am there.

I take munitions through,

I fight–or stevedore, too.

I face death the same as you do 

I’ve seen my buddy lying

Where he fell.

I’ve watched him dying

I promised him that I would try

To make our land a land

Where his son could be a man–

And there’d be no Jim Crow birds

Left in our sky.
So this is what I want to know:

When we see Victory’s glow,

Will you still let old Jim Crow

Hold me back?

When all those foreign folks who’ve waited–

Italians, Chinese, Danes–are liberated.

Will I still be ill-fated

Because I’m black?
Here in my own, my native land,

Will the Jim Crow laws still stand?

Will Dixie lynch me still

When I return?

Or will you comrades in arms

From the factories and the farms,

Have learned what this war

Was fought for us to learn?
When I take off my uniform,

Will I be safe from harm–

Or will you do me

As the Germans did the Jews?

When I’ve helped this world to save,

Shall I still be color’s slave?

Or will Victory change

Your antiquated views?
You can’t say I didn’t fight

To smash the Fascists’ might.

You can’t say I wasn’t with you

in each battle.

As a soldier, and a friend.

When this war comes to an end,

Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car

Like cattle?
Or will you stand up like a man

At home and take your stand

For Democracy?

That’s all I ask of you.

When we lay the guns away

To celebrate

Our Victory Day


That’s what I want to know.

GI Joe. 

You and Your Whole Race – Langston Hughes

You and your whole race.

Look down upon the town in which you live

And be ashamed.

Look down upon white folks 

And upon yourselves 

And be ashamed

That such supine poverty exists there,

That such stupid ignorance breeds children there

Behind such humble shelters of despair—

That you yourselves have not the sense to care

Nor the manhood to stand up and say

I dare you to come one step nearer, evil world,

With your hands of greed seeking to touch my throat, 

I dare you to come one step nearer me:

When you can say that

you will be free! 

Endangered Species – Rohit singh

Everyone wants the best for themselves.

Society and religion decides for you, 

What’s best.
In the same society and religion, 

Conflict of desires is a must.
Secret of survival is in not your brain, 

Its diversity, which the nature gave us.
The moment we found out, 

There are more like us.

We started regimentation through, 

Civilization, globalization and education.
If they succeed, there will be, 

A single civilization called civilized people, 

But it’s just a name, it doesn’t mean anything, 

Just like the people they represent.
A single religion called science and technology.

Which says there is no morality, 

People only do right things unless they get in trouble.

There will be no heroes, only good business men, 

Who calculates his profits even before being kind.

Isn’t this species already endangered? 

Most of us have already been dead, 

We are just waiting for the bodies to drop. 

Curiosity – Rohit Singh

Does height, ever madeBirds scared? ? 
Do fishes get scared of water, sometimes? ? 
Do droplets not think about, 

Getting vaporized in sun? ? 
What does water do, 

When it gets thirsty? ? 
How does the shadow of light look like? ? 
How does silence, 

Sounds like? ? 
Why does silence scream so loud? 
Why do trees not run, 

When there is a fire in the jungle? ? 
When will the sun come, 

To collect his debt? ? 
Why does moon borrow light from, 

The sun to light up, our nights? ? 
How can rivers be so determined, 

To fulfill their destiny? ? 
Mountains, do they even know, 

How many people, live off them? ? 
When will wind be tired? ? 
Why does light waste its time

By going to a blind man? ? 
Does time, have a master plan, 

Of unequal distribution? ? 
Does education, have the knowledge that, 

It’s being used only for money? ? 
How sad do stars get, 

When they don’t see us at night? ? 
Is death laughing or feeling disrespected, 

After finding out that people are more afraid of

“What others will say” than her? ? 
Is law not getting depressed, 

Serving the very same people, 

It wants to punish? ? 

Blind Man – Rohit Singh

I saw a blind man, today.

He was trembling on his way.

There, standing.

I started wondering.

I wanted to help him as much as I can.

But how much can I really help that old man? 

I am using all that I have and all that I can get, 

For my life to be set, 

But I am nowhere near to getting that done.

And I am still looking at the sun.
Even if I work all my life, 

I am not sure enough that, 

I can solve his strife.
But there are some, 

Who don’t need to pay to live.

You know where they are from! ! ! 

There they can’t even see any blind man’s strife, 

In their whole life. 

पानी में घिरे हुए लोग  – केदारनाथ सिंह 

पानी में घिरे हुए लोगप्रार्थना नहीं करते

वे पूरे विश्वास से देखते हैं पानी को

और एक दिन

बिना किसी सूचना के

खच्चर बैल या भैंस की पीठ पर

घर-असबाब लादकर

चल देते हैं कहीं और
यह कितना अद्भुत है

कि बाढ़ चाहे जितनी भयानक हो

उन्हें पानी में थोड़ी-सी जगह ज़रूर मिल जाती है

थोड़ी-सी धूप

थोड़ा-सा आसमान

फिर वे गाड़ देते हैं खम्भे

तान देते हैं बोरे

उलझा देते हैं मूंज की रस्सियां और टाट

पानी में घिरे हुए लोग

अपने साथ ले आते हैं पुआल की गंध

वे ले आते हैं आम की गुठलियां

खाली टिन

भुने हुए चने

वे ले आते हैं चिलम और आग
फिर बह जाते हैं उनके मवेशी

उनकी पूजा की घंटी बह जाती है

बह जाती है महावीर जी की आदमकद मूर्ति

घरों की कच्ची दीवारें

दीवारों पर बने हुए हाथी-घोड़े



सब बह जाते हैं

मगर पानी में घिरे हुए लोग

शिकायत नहीं करते

वे हर कीमत पर अपनी चिलम के छेद में

कहीं न कहीं बचा रखते हैं

थोड़ी-सी आग
फिर डूब जाता है सूरज

कहीं से आती हैं

पानी पर तैरती हुई

लोगों के बोलने की तेज आवाजें

कहीं से उठता है धुआं

पेड़ों पर मंडराता हुआ

और पानी में घिरे हुए लोग

हो जाते हैं बेचैन
वे जला देते हैं

एक टुटही लालटेन

टांग देते हैं किसी ऊंचे बांस पर

ताकि उनके होने की खबर

पानी के पार तक पहुंचती रहे
फिर उस मद्धिम रोशनी में

पानी की आंखों में

आंखें डाले हुए

वे रात-भर खड़े रहते हैं

पानी के सामने

पानी की तरफ

पानी के खिलाफ
सिर्फ उनके अंदर

अरार की तरह

हर बार कुछ टूटता है

हर बार पानी में कुछ गिरता है


Naye Kabi Ka Dukh – Kedarnath Singh

दुख हूँ मैं एक नये हिन्दी कवि काबाँधो

मुझे बाँधो

पर कहाँ बाँधोगे

किस लय, किस छन्द में?
ये छोटे छोटे घर

ये बौने दरवाजे

ताले ये इतने पुराने

और साँकल इतनी जर्जर

आसमान इतना जरा सा

और हवा इतनी कम कम

नफरतयह इतनी गुमसुम सी

और प्यार यह इतना अकेला

और गोल -मोल


मुझे बाँधो

पर कहाँ बाँधोगे

किस लय , किस छन्द में?
क्या जीवन इसी तरह बीतेगा

शब्दों से शब्दों तक


और जीने और जीने ‌‌और जीने के

लगातार द्वन्द में? 

Mukti – Kedarnath Singh

मुक्ति का जब कोई रास्ता नहीं मिलामैं लिखने बैठ गया हूँ
मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ ‘पेड़’

यह जानते हुए कि लिखना पेड़ हो जाना है

मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ ‘पानी’
‘आदमी’ ‘आदमी’ – मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ

एक बच्चे का हाथ

एक स्त्री का चेहरा

मैं पूरी ताकत के साथ

शब्दों को फेंकना चाहता हूँ आदमी की तरफ

यह जानते हुए कि आदमी का कुछ नहीं होगा

मैं भरी सड़क पर सुनना चाहता हूँ वह धमाका

जो शब्द और आदमी की टक्कर से पैदा होता है
यह जानते हुए कि लिखने से कुछ नहीं होगा

मैं लिखना चाहता हूँ।

Meri Bhasa Ke Log – Kedarnath Singh 

मेरी भाषा के लोग

मेरी सड़क के लोग हैं
सड़क के लोग सारी दुनिया के लोग
पिछली रात मैंने एक सपना देखा

कि दुनिया के सारे लोग

एक बस में बैठे हैं

और हिंदी बोल रहे हैं

फिर वह पीली-सी बस

हवा में गायब हो गई

और मेरे पास बच गई सिर्फ़ मेरी हिंदी

जो अंतिम सिक्के की तरह

हमेशा बच जाती है मेरे पास

हर मुश्किल में
कहती वह कुछ नहीं

पर बिना कहे भी जानती है मेरी जीभ

कि उसकी खाल पर चोटों के

कितने निशान हैं

कि आती नहीं नींद उसकी कई संज्ञाओं को

दुखते हैं अक्सर कई विशेषण
पर इन सबके बीच

असंख्य होठों पर

एक छोटी-सी खुशी से थरथराती रहती है यह !
तुम झांक आओ सारे सरकारी कार्यालय

पूछ लो मेज से

दीवारों से पूछ लो

छान डालो फ़ाइलों के ऊंचे-ऊंचे

मनहूस पहाड़

कहीं मिलेगा ही नहीं

इसका एक भी अक्षर

और यह नहीं जानती इसके लिए

अगर ईश्वर को नहीं

तो फिर किसे धन्यवाद दे !
मेरा अनुरोध है —

भरे चौराहे पर करबद्ध अनुरोध —

कि राज नहीं — भाषा

भाषा — भाषा — सिर्फ़ भाषा रहने दो

मेरी भाषा को ।

इसमें भरा है

पास-पड़ोस और दूर-दराज़ की

इतनी आवाजों का बूंद-बूंद अर्क

कि मैं जब भी इसे बोलता हूं

तो कहीं गहरे

अरबी तुर्की बांग्ला तेलुगु

यहां तक कि एक पत्ती के

हिलने की आवाज भी

सब बोलता हूं जरा-जरा

जब बोलता हूं हिंदी
पर जब भी बोलता हूं

यह लगता है —

पूरे व्याकरण में

एक कारक की बेचैनी हूं

एक तद्भव का दुख

तत्सम के पड़ोस में । 

Nadi – Kedarnath Singh 

अगर धीरे चलोवह तुम्हे छू लेगी

दौड़ो तो छूट जाएगी नदी

अगर ले लो साथ

वह चलती चली जाएगी कहीं भी

यहाँ तक- कि कबाड़ी की दुकान तक भी

छोड़ दो

तो वही अंधेरे में 

करोड़ों तारों की आँख बचाकर

वह चुपके से रच लेगी

एक समूची दुनिया

एक छोटे से घोंघे में
सच्चाई यह है

कि तुम कहीं भी रहो

तुम्हें वर्ष के सबसे कठिन दिनों में भी

प्यार करती है एक नदी

नदी जो इस समय नहीं है इस घर में

पर होगी ज़रूर कहीं न कहीं

किसी चटाई 

या फूलदान के नीचे

चुपचाप बहती हुई
कभी सुनना

जब सारा शहर सो जाए

तो किवाड़ों पर कान लगा

धीरे-धीरे सुनना

कहीं आसपास

एक मादा घड़ियाल की कराह की तरह

सुनाई देगी नदी!

Prolonging My Understanding -Pavol Janik 

For a while I hesitated,

at the place where one enters.

And then so many mirrors

as if after death or during it.

And so many unreal girls

in the shallow depths of the glass.

There, where I entered for the last time

still as a boy with portraits

of Pierre Brice and Lex Barker in a pocket,

was the window of a small wine tavern.

And above it the warning signals

of red pelargonia

had permanently remained.

These inexorable semaphores

which didn’t permit me

to speak in the direction of the wind

and turn aside as the wall approached.

I grew up

to the level of salaries,

the length of debts,

to measurable historical latitudes

and to a size

where the era of dieting begins.

Now only my hair grows

slowly and completely pointlessly.

and thus I come

to prolonging my understanding

and ridding myself of the purchasing power

of a powerless Samson.

On the Line Man – Wowan & Black – Pavol Janik

You escape from melike gas.

With astonishment I watch

how with a single scrawl of your legs

you ignite your silk dress.
With such blinding nakedness you pre-empt sky-blue flame.
Blazingly ablaze and perhaps wholly otherwise

I address a fire

which you will no longer damp down.
That time I wanted to declare at least what was essential

to all chance passers-by,

to all chance passing aircraft.
So under such circumstances who wouldn’t have spoilt it?

अंधेरे पाख का चांद – केदारनाथ सिंह 

जैसे जेल में लालटेनचाँद उसी तरह

एक पेड़ की नंगी डाल से झूलता हुआ

और हम

यानी पृथ्वी के सारे के सारे क़ैदी खुश

कि चलो कुछ तो है

जिसमें हम देख सकते हैं

एक-दूसरे का चेहरा! 

Banaras – Kedarnath Singh

इस शहर में वसंत

अचानक आता है

और जब आता है तो मैंने देखा है

लहरतारा या मडुवाडीह की तरफ़ से

उठता है धूल का एक बवंडर

और इस महान पुराने शहर की जीभ

किरकिराने लगती है
जो है वह सुगबुगाता है

जो नहीं है वह फेंकने लगता है पचखियाँ

आदमी दशाश्‍वमेध पर जाता है

और पाता है घाट का आखिरी पत्‍थर

कुछ और मुलायम हो गया है

सीढि़यों पर बैठे बंदरों की आँखों में

एक अजीब सी नमी है

और एक अजीब सी चमक से भर उठा है

भिखारियों के कटरों का निचाट खालीपन
तुमने कभी देखा है

खाली कटोरों में वसंत का उतरना!

यह शहर इसी तरह खुलता है

इसी तरह भरता

और खाली होता है यह शहर 

इसी तरह रोज़ रोज़ एक अनंत शव

ले जाते हैं कंधे

अँधेरी गली से

चमकती हुई गंगा की तरफ़
इस शहर में धूल

धीरे-धीरे उड़ती है

धीरे-धीरे चलते हैं लोग

धीरे-धीरे बजते हैं घनटे

शाम धीरे-धीरे होती है
यह धीरे-धीरे होना

धीरे-धीरे होने की सामूहिक लय

दृढ़ता से बाँधे है समूचे शहर को

इस तरह कि कुछ भी गिरता नहीं है

कि हिलता नहीं है कुछ भी

कि जो चीज़ जहाँ थी

वहीं पर रखी है

कि गंगा वहीं है

कि वहीं पर बँधी है नाँव

कि वहीं पर रखी है तुलसीदास की खड़ाऊँ

सैकड़ों बरस से
कभी सई-साँझ

बिना किसी सूचना के

घुस जाओ इस शहर में

कभी आरती के आलोक में

इसे अचानक देखो

अद्भुत है इसकी बनावट

यह आधा जल में है

आधा मंत्र में

आधा फूल में है
आधा शव में

आधा नींद में है

आधा शंख में 

अगर ध्‍यान से देखो

तो यह आधा है

और आधा नहीं भी है
जो है वह खड़ा है

बिना किसी स्‍थंभ के

जो नहीं है उसे थामें है

राख और रोशनी के ऊँचे ऊँचे स्‍थंभ

आग के स्‍थंभ

और पानी के स्‍थंभ

धुऍं के 

खुशबू के

आदमी के उठे हुए हाथों के स्‍थंभ
किसी अलक्षित सूर्य को

देता हुआ अर्घ्‍य

शताब्दियों से इसी तरह

गंगा के जल में

अपनी एक टाँग पर खड़ा है यह शहर

अपनी दूसरी टाँग से

बिलकुल बेखबर! 

To Late – Richard Harris Barham

Too late! though flowerets round me blow,

 And clearing skies shine bright and fair; 

Their genial warmth avails not now — 

Thou art not here the beam to share. 
Through many a dark and dreary day, 

We journeyed on ‘midst grief and gloom; 

And now at length the cheering ray 

Breaks forth, it only gilds thy tomb. 
Our days of hope and youth are past, 

Our short-lived joys for ever flown; 

And now when Fortune smiles at last, 

She finds me cheerless, chilled — alone! 
Ah! no; too late the boon is given, 

Alike the frowns and smiles of Fate; 

The broken heart by sorrow riv’n, 

But murmurs now, ‘Too late! Too late!’ 

The Two MP’S – Richard Harris Barham

SAYS Tom D– to F–r 

T’other morning, ‘I say, Sir, 

You’ve call’d me a Roué, a Dicer, and Racer, 

Now I’d have you to know, Sir, 

Such names are “No Go,” Sir; 

By Jove, Sir, I never knew anything grosser. 
‘And then Madame — 

Extremely distrest is 

At your calling her Lais — she’s more like Thalestris, 

As you’ll find, my fine joker, 

If once you provoke her, 

She’s a d–l if once she gets hold of a poker. 
‘For myself, to be candid, 

And not underhanded, 

I write thus to say I’ll be hang’d if I stand it. 

So give up the name 

Of the man or the dame 

Who has made this infernal attack on my fame, 

And recall what you’ve said of 

A man you’re afraid of, 

Or turn out, my Trump, and let’s see what you’re made of. 
‘I have “barkers” by Nock, Sir, 

With percussion locks, Sir, 

Will give you your gruel — hang me if I box, Sir, 

And I’ve sent my old Pal in, 

My “noble friend Allen,” 

To give you this here, and to stop your caballing!’ 
Then says F–r, says he, 

‘What a spoon you must be, 

Tommy D–, to send this here message to me: 

Why if I was to fight about 

What my friends write about, 

My life I should be in continual fright about! 
‘As to telling you, who 

Wrote that thing about you, 

One word’s worth a thousand — Blow me if I do! 

If you will be so gay, Sir, 

The people will say, Sir, 

That you are a Roué, and I’m 

The Joys of Palate &  Fine Apparel – Lalleshwari 

The joys of palate and fine apparel 

bring man no lasting peace. 

They who give up false hopes and don’t 

put trust in the things of the world, 

Ascend, unafraid of Death’s terrors 

by scriptures told; 

For having lived contented lives, 

they are not debtors of Desire 

The Dirt of Myfilthy Heart – Lalleshwari 

The dirt of my filthy heart 

Seemed to be cleansed, 

I found the known, unknown: and 

The dirt of my filthy heart 

Seemed to be cleansed, 

I found the known, unknown: and 

When I saw Him near me, 

I discovered When I saw Him near me, I discovered 

A New Rule – Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi 

It is the rule with drunkards to fall upon each other,

to quarrel, become violent, and make a scene.

The lover is even worse than a drunkard.

I will tell you what love is: to enter a mine of gold.

And what is that gold?

The lover is a king above all kings,

unafraid of death, not at all interested in a golden crown.

The dervish has a pearl concealed under his patched cloak.

Why should he go begging door to door?

Last night that moon came along,

drunk, dropping clothes in the street.

“Get up,” I told my heart, “Give the soul a glass of wine.

The moment has come to join the nightingale in the garden,

to taste sugar with the soul-parrot.”

I have fallen, with my heart shattered –

where else but on your path? And I

broke your bowl, drunk, my idol, so drunk,

don’t let me be harmed, take my hand.

A new rule a new law has been born:

break all the glasses and fall toward the glassblower. 

What is Worship ? Who are this Man – Lalleshwari 

What is worship? Who are this man

and this woman bringing flowers?

What kinds of flowers should be brought,

and what streamwater poured over the images?

Real worship is done by the mind

(Let that be a man) and by the desire

(Let that be a woman). And let those two

choose what to sacrifice.

There is a liquid that can be released

from under the mask of the face,

a nectar which when it rushes down

gives discipline and strength.

Let that be your sacred pouring,

Let your worship song be silence.
[Taken from Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment, Edited by Daniel Halpern] 

The Long Trail – Rudyard Kipling 

There’s a whisper down the field where the year has shot her yield,

And the ricks stand grey to the sun,

Singing: “Over then, come over, for the bee has quit the dover,

“And your English summer’s done.”

You have heard the beat of the off-shore wind,

And the thresh of the deep-sea rain;

You have heard the song — how long? how long?

Pull out on the trail again!

Ha’ done with the Tents of Shem, dear lass,

We’ve seen the seasons through,

And it’s time to turn the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

Pull out, pull out, on the Long Trail-the trail that is always new!
It’s North you may run to the rime-ringed sun

Or South to the blind Hom’s hate;

Or East all the way into Mississippi Bay,

Or West to the Golden Gate —

Where the blindest bluffs hold good, dear lass,

And the wildest tales are true,

And the men bulk big on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

And life runs large on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
The days are sick and cold, and the skies are grey and old

And the twice-breathed airs blow damp;

And I’d sell my tired soul for the bucking beam-sea roll

Of a black Bilbao tramp,

With her load-line over her hatch, dear lass,

And a drunken Dago crew,

And her nose held down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail

From Cadiz south on the Long Trail-the trail that is always new.
There be triple ways to take, of the eagle or the snake,

Or the way of a man with a maid;

But the sweetest way to me is a ship’s upon the sea

In the heel of the North-East Trade.

Can you hear the crash on her brows, dear lass.

And the drum of the racing screw,

As she ships it green on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

As she lifts and ‘scends on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new?
See the shaking funnels roar, with the Peter at the fore,

And the fenders grind and heave,

And the derricks clack and grate, as the tackle hooks the crate,

And the fall-rope whines through the sheave;

It’s “Gang-plank up and in,” dear lass,

It’s “Hawsers warp her through!”

And it’s “All clear aft” on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

We’re backing down on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
O the mutter overside, when the port-fog holds us tied,

And the sirens hoot their dread,

When foot by foot we creep o’er the hueless, viewless deep

To the sob of the questing lead!

It’s down by the Lower Hope, dear lass,

With the Grinfleet Sands in view,

Till the Mouse swings green on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

And the Gull Light lifts on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
O the blazing tropic night, when the wake’s a welt of light

That holds the hot sky tame,

And the steady fore-foot snores through the planet-powdered floors

Where the scared whale flukes in flame!

Her plates are flaked by the sun, dear lass

And her ropes are taut with the dew,

For we’re booming down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

We’re sagging south on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
Then home, get her home, where the drunken rollers comb,

And the shouting seas drive by,

And the engines stamp and ring, and the wet bows reel and swing,

And the Southern Cross rides high!

Yes, the old lost stars wheel back, dear lass,

That blaze in the velvet blue.

They’re all old friends on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

They’re God’s own guides on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
Fly forward, O my heart, from the Foreland to the Start

We’re steaming all too slow,

And it’s twenty thousand mile to our little lazy isle

Where the trumpet-orchids blow!

You have heard the call of the off-shore wind

And the voice of the deep-sea rain;

You have heard the song-how long? how long?

Pull out on the trail again!
The Lord knows what we may find, dear lass,

And The Deuce knows we may do

But we’re back once more on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

We’re down, hull-down, on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new! 

The Liner She’s a Lady – Rudyard Kipling

The Liner she’s a lady, an’ she never looks nor ‘eeds –

-The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, an’ ‘e gives ‘er all she needs;

But, oh, the little cargo-boats, that sail the wet seas roun’,

They’re just the same as you an’ me a-plyin’ up an’ down!
Plyin’ up an’ down, Jenny, ‘angin’ round the Yard,

All the way by Fratton tram down to Portsmouth ‘Ard;

Anythin’ for business, an’ we’re growin’ old —

Plyin’ up an’ down, Jenny, waitin’ in the cold!
The Liner she’s a lady by the paint upon ‘er face,

An’ if she meets an accident they count it sore disgrace:

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, and ‘e’s always ‘andy by,

But, oh, the little cargo-boats! they’ve got to load or die.
The Liner she’s a lady, and ‘er route is cut an’ dried;

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, an’ ‘e always keeps beside;

But, oh, the little cargo-boats that ‘aven’t any man,

They’ve got to do their business first, and make the most they can!
The Liner she’s a lady, and if a war should come,

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, and ‘e’d bid ‘er stay at home;

But, oh, the little cargo-boats that fill with every tide!

‘E’d ‘ave to up an’ fight for them, for they are England’s pride.
The Liner she’s a lady, but if she wasn’t made,

There still would be the cargo-boats for ‘ome an’ foreign trade.

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, but if we wasn’t ‘ere,

‘E wouldn’t have to fight at all for ‘ome an’ friends so dear.
‘Ome an’ friends so dear, Jenny, ‘angin’ round the Yard,

All the way by Fratton tram down to Portsmouth ‘Ard;

Anythin’ for business, an’ we’re growin’ old —

‘Ome an’ friends so dear, Jenny, waitin’ in the cold! 

The Lesson – Rudyard Kipling

1899-1902 — Boer War

Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should,

We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.
Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,

But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and

Were all our most holy illusions knocked higher than Gilde-

roy’s kite.

We have had a jolly good lesson, and it serves us jolly well

right !
This was not bestowed us under the trees, nor yet in the shade

of a tent,

But swingingly, over eleven degrees of a bare brown conti-


From Lamberts to Delagoa Bay, and from Pietersburg to


Fell the phenomenal lesson we learned-with a fullness ac-

corded no other land.
It was our fault, and our very great fault, and not the judg-

ment of Heaven.

We made an Army in our own image, on an island nine by


Which faithfully mirrored its makers’ ideals, equipment, and

mental attitude–

And so we got our lesson: and we ought to accept it with

We have spent two hundred million pounds to prove the fact

once more,

That horses are quicker than men afoot, since two and two

make four;

And horses have four legs, and men have two legs, and two

into four goes twice,

And nothing over except our lesson–and very cheap at the

For remember (this our children shall know: we are too near

for that knowledge)

Not our mere astonied camps, but Council and Creed and


All the obese, unchallenged old things that stifle and overlie


Have felt the effects of the lesson we got-an advantage no

money could by us!
Then let us develop this marvellous asset which we alone


And which, it may subsequently transpire, will be worth as

much as the Rand.

Let us approach this pivotal fact in a humble yet hopeful


We have had no end of a lesson, it will do us no end of good!
It was our fault, and our very great fault–and now we must

turn it to use.

We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single


So the more we work and the less we talk the better results

we shall get–

We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire


The Old Issue – Rudyard Kipling

October 9, 1899 — Outbreak of Boer War

Here is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets,

“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.

“It is the King–the King we schooled aforetime! ”

(Trumpets in the marshes-in the eyot at Runnymede!)

“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets,

“Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall.

“It is the King!”–inexorable Trumpets–

(Trumpets round the scaffold af the dawning by Whitehall!)
. . . . . . .

“He hath veiled the Crown And hid the Scepter,” warn (he Trum pets,

“He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.

“Hard die the Kings–ah hard–dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets,

Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!
Ancient and Unteachable, abide–abide the Trumpets!

Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings 

Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets–

Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings! 
All we have of freedom, all we use or know–

This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw–

Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.
Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing

Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the king.
Till our fathers ‘stablished,, after bloody years, 

How our King is one with us, first among his peers. 
So they bought us freedom-not at little cost– 

Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.
Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,

Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.
Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure.

Whining “He is weak and far”; crying “Time will cure.”
(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,

Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people’s loins.)
Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.

Suffer not the old King here or overseas.
They that beg us barter–wait his yielding mood–

Pledge the years we hold in trust-pawn our brother’s blood–
Howso’ great their clamour, whatsoe’er their claim,

Suffer not the old King under any name!
Here is naught unproven–here is naught to learn.

It is written what shall fall if the King return.
He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,

Set his guards about us, as in Freedom’s name.
He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;

He shall change our gold for arms–arms we may not bear.
He shall break his Judges if they cross his word;

He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.
He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring

Watchers ‘neath our window, lest we mock the King —
Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;

Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.
Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,

These shall deal our Justice: sell-deny-delay.
We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse

For the Land we look to–for the Tongue we use.
We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,

While his hired captains jeer us in the street.
Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,

Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.
Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,

Laying on a new land evil of the old–
Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain–

All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.
Here is nought at venture, random nor untrue

Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.
Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:

Step for step and word for word–so the old Kings did!
Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.

Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed–
All the right they promise–all the wrong they bring.

Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King! 

The Nursing Sister – Rudyard Kipling

Maternity Hospital

Our sister sayeth such and such,

And we must bow to her behests.

Our sister toileth overmuch,

Our little maid that hath no breasts.

A field untilled, a web unwove,

A flower withheld from sun or bee,

An alien in the Courts of Love,

And–teacher unto such as we!

We love her, but we laugh the while,

We laugh, but sobs are mixed with laughter;

Our sister hath no time to smile,

She knows not what must follow after.

Wind of the South, arise and blow,

From beds of spice thy locks shake free;

Breathe on her heart that she may know,

Breathe on her eyes that she may see!

Alas! we vex her with our mirth,

And maze her with most tender scorn,

Who stands beside the Gates of Birth,

Herself a child–a child unborn!

Our sister sayeth such and such,

And we must bow to her behests.

Our sister toileth overmuch,

Our little maid that hath no breasts. 

The Kraken – Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Below the thunders of the upper deep,

Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides: above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height; 

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumbered and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant fins the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages and will lie

Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep; 

Then once by men and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die. 

The Higher Pantheism – Alfred Lord Tennyson

The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains,-

Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?

Is not the Vision He, tho’ He be not that which He seems?

Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb,

Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?

Dark is the world to thee; thyself art the reason why,

For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel “I am I”?

Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom,

Making Him broken gleams and a stifled splendour and gloom.
Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet-

Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.
God is law, say the wise; O soul, and let us rejoice,

For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.
Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool,

For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;
And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see;

But if we could see and hear, this Vision-were it not He? 

The Flower – Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Once in a golden hour

 I cast to earth a seed.

Up there came a flower,

The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went

Thro’ my garden bower,

And muttering discontent

Cursed me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall

It wore a crown of light,

But thieves from o’er the wall

Stole the seed by night.
Sow’d it far and wide

By every town and tower,

Till all the people cried,

‘Splendid is the flower! ‘
Read my little fable:

He that runs may read.

Most can raise the flowers now,

For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough,

And some are poor indeed; 

And now again the people

Call it but a weed. 

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Deserted House – Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Life and Thought have gone away

Side by side,

Leaving door and windows wide.

Careless tenants they!
All within is dark as night:

In the windows is no light;

And no murmur at the door,

So frequent on its hinge before.
Close the door; the shutters close;

Or through the windows we shall see

The nakedness and vacancy

Of the dark deserted house.
Come away: no more of mirth

Is here or merry-making sound.

The house was builded of the earth,

And shall fall again to ground.
Come away: for Life and Thought

Here no longer dwell;

But in a city glorious – 

A great and distant city -have bought

A mansion incorruptible.

Would they could have stayed with us! 

The Defence of Lucknow – Alfred Lord Tennyson 


BANNER of England, not for a season, O banner of Britain, hast thou

Floated in conquering battle or flapt to the battle-cry!

Never with mightier glory than when we had rear’d thee on high

Flying at top of the roofs in the ghastly siege of Lucknow—

Shot thro’ the staff or the halyard, but ever we raised thee anew,

And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

Frail were the works that defended the hold that we held with our lives—

Women and children among us, God help them, our children and wives!

Hold it we might—and for fifteen days or for twenty at most.

‘Never surrender, I charge you, but every man die at his post!’

Voice of the dead whom we loved, our Lawrence the best of the brave:

Cold were his brows when we kiss’d him—we laid him that night in his grave.

‘Every man die at his post!’ and there hail’d on our houses and halls

Death from their rifle-bullets, and death from their cannon-balls,

Death in our innermost chamber, and death at our slight barricade,

Death while we stood with the musket, and death while we stoopt to the spade,

Death to the dying, and wounds to the wounded, for often there fell,

Striking the hospital wall, crashing thro’ it, their shot and their shell,

Death—for their spies were among us, their marksmen were told of our best,

So that the brute bullet broke thro’ the brain that could think for the rest;

Bullets would sing by our foreheads, and bullets would rain at our feet—

Fire from ten thousand at once of the rebels that girdled us round—

Death at the glimpse of a finger from over the breadth of a street,

Death from the heights of the mosque and the palace, and death in the ground!

Mine? yes, a mine! Countermine! down, down! and creep thro’ the hole!

Keep the revolver in hand! you can hear him—the murderous mole!

Quiet, ah! quiet—wait till the point of the pickaxe be thro’!

Click with the pick, coming nearer and nearer again than before—

Now let it speak, and you fire, and the dark pioneer is no more;

And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew!

Ay, but the foe sprung his mine many times, and it chanced on a day

Soon as the blast of that underground thunderclap echo ‘d away,

Dark thro’ the smoke and the sulphur like so many fiends in their hell—

Cannon-shot, musket-shot, volley on volley, and yell upon yell—

Fiercely on all the defences our myriad enemy fell.

What have they done? where is it? Out yonder. Guard the Redan!

Storm at the Water-gate! storm at the Bailey-gate! storm, and it ran

Surging and swaying all round us, as ocean on every side

Plunges and heaves at a bank that is daily devour’d by the tide—

So many thousands that if they be bold enough, who shall escape?

Kill or be kill’d, live or die, they shall know we are soldiers and men

Ready! take aim at their leaders—their masses are gapp’d with our grape—

Backward they reel like the wave, like the wave flinging forward again,

Flying and foil’d at the last by the handful they could not subdue;

And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

Handful of men as we were, we were English in heart and in limb,

Strong with the strength of the race to command, to obey, to endure,

Each of us fought as if hope for the garrison hung but on him;

Still—could we watch at all points? we were every day fewer and fewer.

There was a whisper among us, but only a whisper that past

‘Children and wives—if the tigers leap into the fold unawares—

Every man die at his post—and the foe may outlive us at last—

Better to fall by the hands that they love, than to fall into theirs!’

Roar upon roar in a moment two mines by the enemy sprung

Clove into perilous chasms our walls and our poor palisades.

Rifleman, true is your heart, but be sure that your hand be as true!

Sharp is the fire of assault, better aimed are your flank fusillades—

Twice do we hurl them to earth from the ladders to which they had clung,

Twice from the ditch where they shelter we drive them with hand-grenades;

And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

Then on another wild morning another wild earthquake out-tore

Clean from our lines of defence ten or twelve good paces or more.

Rifleman, high on the roof, hidden there from the light of the sun—

One has leapt up on the breach, crying out: ‘Follow me, follow me!’—

Mark him—he falls! then another, and him too, and down goes he.

Had they been bold enough then, who can tell but the traitors had won?

Boardings and rafters and doors—an embrasure I make way for the gun!

Now double-charge it with grape! It is charged and we fire, and they run.

Praise to our Indian brothers, and let the dark face have his due!

Thanks to the kindly dark faces who fought with us, faithful and few,

Fought with the bravest among us, and drove them, and smote them, and slew,

That ever upon the topmost roof our banner in India blew.

Men will forget what we suffer and not what we do. We can fight!

But to be soldier all day and be sentinel all thro’ the night—

Ever the mine and assault, our sallies, their lying alarms,

Bugles and drums in the darkness, and shoutings and soundings to arms,

Ever the labour of fifty that had to be done by five,

Ever the marvel among us that one should be left alive,

Ever the day with its traitorous death from the loopholes around,

Ever the night with its coffinless corpse to be laid in the ground,

Heat like the mouth of a hell, or a deluge of cataract skies,

Stench of old offal decaying, and infinite torment of flies.

Thoughts of the breezes of May blowing over an English field,

Cholera, scurvy, and fever, the wound that would not be heal’d,

Lopping away of the limb by the pitiful-pitiless knife,—

Torture and trouble in vain,—for it never could save us a life.

Valour of delicate women who tended the hospital bed,

Horror of women in travail among the dying and dead,

Grief for our perishing children, and never a moment for grief,

Toil and ineffable weariness, faltering hopes of relief,

Havelock baffled, or beaten, or butcher’d for all that we knew—

Then day and night, day and night, coming down on the still-shatter’d walls

Millions of musket-bullets, and thousands of cannon-balls—

But ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

Hark cannonade, fusillade! is it true what was told by the scout,

Outram and Havelock breaking their way through the fell mutineers?

Surely the pibroch of Europe is ringing again in our ears!

All on a sudden the garrison utter a jubilant shout,

Havelock’s glorious Highlanders answer with conquering cheers,

Sick from the hospital echo them, women and children come out,

Blessing the wholesome white faces of Havelock’s good fusileers,

Kissing the war-harden’d hand of the Highlander wet with their tears!

Dance to the pibroch!—saved! we are saved!—is it you? is it you?

Saved by the valour of Havelock, saved by the blessing of Heaven!

‘Hold it for fifteen days!’ we have held it for eighty-seven!

And ever aloft on the palace roof the old banner of England blew. 

The Death of the Old Year – Alfred Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league, 

Half a league onward, 

All in the valley of Death 

Rode the six hundred. 

‘Forward, the Light Brigade! 

Charge for the guns!’ he said: 

Into the valley of Death 

Rode the six hundred. 
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’ 

Was there a man dismay’d ? 

Not tho’ the soldier knew 

Some one had blunder’d: 

Their’s not to make reply, 

Their’s not to reason why, 

Their’s but to do and die: 

Into the valley of Death 

Rode the six hundred. 
Cannon to right of them, 

Cannon to left of them, 

Cannon in front of them 

Volley’d and thunder’d; 

Storm’d at with shot and shell, 

Boldly they rode and well, 

Into the jaws of Death, 

Into the mouth of Hell 

Rode the six hundred. 
Flash’d all their sabres bare, 

Flash’d as they turn’d in air 

Sabring the gunners there, 

Charging an army, while 

All the world wonder’d: 

Plunged in the battery-smoke 

Right thro’ the line they broke; 

Cossack and Russian 

Reel’d from the sabre-stroke 

Shatter’d and sunder’d. 

Then they rode back, but not 

Not the six hundred. 
Cannon to right of them, 

Cannon to left of them, 

Cannon behind them 

Volley’d and thunder’d; 

Storm’d at with shot and shell, 

While horse and hero fell, 

They that had fought so well 

Came thro’ the jaws of Death, 

Back from the mouth of Hell, 

All that was left of them, 

Left of six hundred. 
When can their glory fade ? 

O the wild charge they made! 

All the world wonder’d. 

Honour the charge they made! 

Honour the Light Brigade, 

Noble six hundred!