The Men That Fought At Minden

Tuesday, April 16, AD 2013

 

The twenty-third in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here and here.  In his poems Kipling was fond of the theme of education.  In several poems he tied in education with another great theme of his poetry, the British Army, Kipling being fascinated by the rough and ready process by which soldiers learned how to be soldiers.

One feature of the British Army that has helped make it such a formidable force over the centuries is the pride in regimental history taken by officers and men.  In the poem The Men That Fought at Minden a sergeant, or perhaps a corporal, is using the battle of Minden as an example to tell new recruits what to expect as they learn how to be soldiers.

On August 1, 1759 an Anglo-German army won a striking victory over a larger French army at the battle of Minden in Germany.  The victory was one of the numerous victories won by the British in 1759, the Annus Mirabilis, which included the taking of Quebec.  The following British regiments fought at Minden and are known as Minden regiments:   12th of Foot, 20th Foot, 23rd of Foot, 25th of Foot, 37th of Foot and  51st Foot.  Minden Day is still observed on August 1, when the men of these regiments wear roses in their caps.  Lord George Sackville was cashiered from the British Army due to cowardice that day.  As Lord George Germain he would serve as George III’s Secretary of State during the American Revolution, contributing greatly to the British loss in that War.  The Marquis de Lafayette’s father died at the battle, and sparked in Lafayette a strong desire for revenge on the British that he brought to fruition in the aid that he brought to the American cause in the Revolution.

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2 Responses to The Men That Fought At Minden

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  • No fewer than ten units of the present-day British Army claim descent from those that fought at Minden, and are presented with roses on Minden Day, 1 August. They are based in Scotland and Wales as well as England, and include a battery of the Royal Artillery which during the Korean War had roses flown out from Japan which they wore in action. A painting commemorating this hangs in the RA Mess at Larkhill.

    The Seven Years War is significant. It was the first world war and established Britain as a world Power. The Royal Navy reached a peak of efficiency – it was the most complex organization in the world and is admirably described by Dr NAM Rodger in his book ‘The Wooden World – an anatomy of the Georgian Navy’, a groundbreaking work which effectively demolishes the ‘rum, sodomy and the lash’ myth.

Of Centurions, Love and Kipling

Thursday, March 21, AD 2013

 

The twenty-first in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here and here.  Kipling throughout his literary career had two great loves:  his love for England and his love for the British Army that guarded England.  A variant on these two themes is displayed in The Roman Centurion’s Song  which Kipling wrote for A Child’s History of England in 1911.  This is the lament of a Roman Centurion who has served forty years in Britannia.  His cohort, circa 300 AD, has been ordered back to Rome and the Centurion does not want to go.  After forty years Britannia has become his home and he wishes to stay.

Kipling once famously wrote in his poem The ‘Eathen, that the backbone of an army is the non-commissioned man.  That was certainly the case with the Roman Legions.  The centurions were an interesting combination of sergeant major and captain.  They were long service men, almost all risen from the ranks.  They normally commanded 60-80 men, although senior centurions, at the discretion of the Legate in charge of the Legion, could command up to a cohort, 500-1,000 men.  Each centurion had a place in the chain of command  with the primus pilus being the head centurion of a legion.  The military tribunes and legates who led the legions were Roman aristocrats, most of whose military experience was much less than the centurions under them.  If they were wise, they left the day to day management of their legion up to the centurions and paid heed to their advice in combat situations.  In the contemporary histories that have come down to us, the centurions are normally treated with great respect.  This is reflected in the movie Spartacus where Senator Gracchus notes that if the Senate punished every commander who ever made a fool of himself, there would be no one left in the Legions above the rank of centurion.

It was not uncommon for centurions to become quite fond of the people and the foreign lands they were stationed in for lengthy periods.  We see this with the Centurion Cornelius and his encounter with Peter described in Acts 10:

[1] And there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, a centurion of that which is called the Italian band; [2] A religious man, and fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people, and always praying to God. [3] This man saw in a vision manifestly, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him: Cornelius. [4] And he, beholding him, being seized with fear, said: What is it, Lord? And he said to him: Thy prayers and thy alms are ascended for a memorial in the sight of God. [5] And now send men to Joppe, and call hither one Simon, who is surnamed Peter:

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11 Responses to Of Centurions, Love and Kipling

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  • I think you are being too literal in your reading of this piece. This is yet another pretender’s tilt are being the next new Rome. I must have some sort of paranoid delusion of Protestants under every bed, but I can not read this Kip’s lines w/o seeing a pathetic sentimental defense of Anglicanism. It is as if he says, “Oh, well, yes I know I am by nature a Roman (Catholic ), but you see, I have just become so attached to the land and tradition of England (Anglican ) that I just can’t bare the thought of leaving.”

    Never mind that his ancestors begged their king not to cleave the link with Roman tradition.

  • Darren I can assure you that Kipling had no such intentions as you have read into his poem. Kipling was many things in his life, but an enthusiastic Anglican was never one of them! The man described himself as a Christian atheist. At best he was a Deist. Oddly he does seem to have had a devotion to Mary that comes out in some of his other works.

  • I deleted your last comment Darren since you ignored the evidence I presented to you and you held to your bizarre interpretation. I have also placed you on moderation. I work fairly hard on these posts and I do not appreciate them being taken down strange byways by someone obviously bone ignorant on the subject being discussed.

  • Good post. This retired soldier can relate. Well written. Thanks

  • Don, you might be interested in checking out “The Centurion” by Leonard Wibberly (best known as the author of “The Mouse that Roared” and its sequels). It is a fictionalized story of Longinus, the centurion who attended Christ’s crucifixion, which presents him as having once been captured by Britons, and as having a British servant/slave who is also his father-in-law (meaning that he must have been married to a Briton at one time). I’ve only gotten a few chapters into it — Holy Week might be a good time to try to finish it — and it’s very good.

  • Thank you Elaine. I do not believe that I have read that and I will have to do so!

  • Don

    Good post.

    One can not but feel the pain of the Centurian.

    But he is a solidier, he will follow orders even if he can’t get the Legate to change them.

    —————–
    Leslie Fish published several CD’s of his poems put to music. The videos made with these are usually pretty good. worth taking a quick look when your looking for a video.

  • Thank you Robb and Hank. Since in my mispent youth I wore Army Green, I guess I qualify as an old soldier, and the poem speaks deeply to me also.

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The Last of the Light Brigade

Friday, February 15, AD 2013

C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre!  (It is magnificent but it is not war!)

Comment of French Mashal Pierre Bosquet on the charge of the light brigade

The nineteenth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here and here.   Kipling throughout his career always had a soft spot in his heart for the common British soldier.  Soldiers in Kipling’s youth were regarded at worst as common criminals and at best a necessary evil:  to be cheered as heroes in time of peril and left to rot in penury in peace time when they were too old to serve.  By his poems pointing out the rank ingratitude of this treatment meted out to men who fought for Queen and country, Kipling played a large role in changing civilian attitudes toward the military and improving the lives of the “Tommys”.

One of his most searing poems on this subject was The Last of the Light Brigade.

The British have produced some of the great captains of History, Marlborough and Wellington quickly come to mind.  However, a more common theme in British military history is the courage of common soldiers redeeming with their blood the mistakes of their generals.  Few conflicts better exemplify this than the Crimean War.  Fought between 1853-1856, the war consisted of France, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia (prior to it growing to encompass all Italy) against Russia.  The causes of the war boiled down to the fact that the Ottoman Empire was in a state of rapid decay and France and Russia were squabbling about which power would have predominance as “protecting power” of the Holy Places in the Holy Land, with the traditional antipathy of Catholics and Orthodox lending fuel to the fire.  This fairly meaningless squabble eventually led to war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia with Great Britain and France rallying to The Sick Man of Europe as the Turks were called.

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9 Responses to The Last of the Light Brigade

The Muse Among the Motors

Wednesday, January 30, AD 2013

Rudyard Kipling and car

The eighteenth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here and here.  Kipling had a very distinctive style, a style which has produced endless poems imitating him.  It occasionally amused Kipling to do a poem in the style of some other poet.  Between 1904 and 1929 he did a series of short poems in the style of various poets.  The subject of the poems was the new horseless carriage.  Kipling loved cars, although it is unclear whether he ever drove one himself.  Here are a few of the poems in his series The Muse Among the Motors.  I will leave to the readers in the comboxes to guess the poet being copied.  We will start out with an easy one:

The Justice’s Tale

With them there rode a lustie Engineere

Wel skilled to handel everich waie her geere,

Hee was soe wise ne man colde showe him naught

And out of Paris was hys learnynge brought.

Frontlings mid brazen wheeles and wandes he sat,

And on hys heade he bare an leathern hat.

Hee was soe certaine of his governance, That, by the

Road, he tooke everie chaunce.

For simple people and for lordlings eke

Hee wolde not bate a del but onlie squeeke

Behinde their backes on an horne hie

Until they crope into a piggestie.

He was more wood than bull in china-shoppe,

And yet for cowes and dogges wolde hee stop,

Not our of Marcie but for Preudence-sake–

Than hys dependaunce ever was hys brake.

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3 Responses to The Muse Among the Motors

  • Thank you for bringing Kipling to mind again. It has been a long time since I have read any of his poems. I have a kindred spirit with all poets. It has been over thirty years and 500 poems since I discovered a gift for poetry, and at 85 I still average at least two a month. What a blessing that has been for me all these years. The first 200 I considered it a hobby only for my own enjoyment. My wife was my greatest fan, and now that she is gone, my oldest daughter has been distributing them to her friends. I am happy others now say they appreciate them very much. My computer is the lifeline for a crippled retired writer. Despite almost constant pain, I try to be the youngest 85-year old in existence. A friend once called me “The oldest living technical writer in captivity. So many people do not understand what a blessing suffering can be if you use it wisely to earn the eternal gratitude of souls in purgatory. Never waste graces.

  • I’m new here, but mind if I play?

    Chaucer, obviously; Lovelace, possibly; Byron, I’m sure; Milton, it sounds like; and the last one puts me in mind of Swinburne.

    A magnificent and moving series. I thank you, Sir, for all eighteen, and hope there may be more to come.

  • Thank you for your kind comments Tom. Correct as to Chaucer, Byron and Milton.

7 Responses to High Flight

  • I remember hearing that spoken many times with a video of an F-104 (?) jet at the end of the programming day before the channel went off. It was strange when it disappeared. I wonder whether the last line did the video in due to modern ‘life values’ or whether it was 24 hour programming. It seemed like hearing a lullaby.

  • What eloquence for a 19 year old author! And an appropriate post, considering the circumstances.

  • That was my fave poem in high school.

  • Great writing for a 19 y/o WW2 pilot. It would have been good to have say – a P51 Mustang in the clip, but I would assume that Armstrong flew F 104 s in his days at NASA.

    Had never heard the poem before.

    I recall in 1969, having been married only the year before, sitting on the front step of a little old cottage Sandy and I were renting across the road from the ocean beach at Mt. Maunganui, on a lovely clear night, listening to the sound of a gentle surf breaking on the beach, looking up at the moon and being in awe, that men were walking around up there.
    An unforgettable experience, and, in this field of endeavour, mankind has done nothing as great since.

  • And of course, it was to this poem that Ronald Reagan alluded in his tribute to the Challenger astronauts who had “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

  • USAF Song: ” . . . Into The Wild Blue Yonder.”

    ” . . . We’ll live in fame,
    Or, go down in flames.
    No one can beat the US Air Force.”

The Gods of the Copybook Headings Provide The Commentary

Tuesday, August 9, AD 2011

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.

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9 Responses to The Gods of the Copybook Headings Provide The Commentary

  • “when all men are paid for existing and no man pays for his sin”

    I always have a hard time reading poems and I really don’t know why. Well maybe that speaks to something about me. This definately speaks about what is currently going on…

  • This poem needed the date of publication!! So I looked it up:

    Published in October 1919 when the poet was 53 years old, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” has proved enduringly popular, despite the fact that copybooks disappeared from schoolrooms in Britain and America during, or shortly after World War 2. A copybook was an exercise book used to practice one’s handwriting in. The pages were blank except for horizontal rulings and a printed specimen of perfect handwriting at the top. You were supposed to copy this specimen all down the page. The specimens were proverbs or quotations, or little commonplace hortatory or admonitory sayings — the ones in the poem illustrate the kind of thing. These were the copybook headings.

  • “… and the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire; …The gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

    Rudyard Kipling handles the ‘history repeats itself’ idea without going blue in the face.

    This poem so fits the speech above, mixer included. Our problem doesn’t appear to be debt reduction according to the Copybook, because we have to agree to continue to support results of natural disasters, and then there are those high payroll taxes that prevent us from going to market, then … (how unspeakably base to use this) wages of war (for what battery element) in current news as final emphasis.

    I was glad for the mixer problem on the speaker, but not amused for the 10 minutes.

    I worry about long it will be before some handling of debt reduction (balancing the budget for a CHANGE) happens. Would it be forgotten if London’s events (are they related to other 2011 uprisings?) moved across the ocean.

  • Robert-
    I generally have the same issue. Kipling has always been an exception, starting with “Female of the Species.”

  • “Female of the Species.”

    My late formidable mother’s favorite poem!

  • Well said Hank!

    “His vows are lightly spoken,
    His faith is hard to bind,
    His trust is easy broken,
    He fears his fellow-kind.
    The nearest mob will move him
    To break the pledge he gave –
    Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
    Is more than ever slave!”

  • Ouch– well struck, Hank, Donald. The line about Throws the blame on some one else. is especially painful in light of that “look what happens when you type ‘obama blames’ into google” thing.

  • I am most impressed, Don, that you found this poem to epitomise the “ramblings” of the Obamessiah.
    I have never read much Kipling, apart from some of his militaristic writings, and his Indian conection – Gunga Din etc.
    But I find,
    “That a dog returns to his vomit, and the sow returns to her mire,
    “And the burnt fools finger bandaged goes wabbling back to the fire.”
    particularly poignant.
    I listened to Obama after I had listened to Michele Bachman.
    “WOW” – what a woman. She leaves Obama for dead – and she never had a teleprompter 😉

    The US has to get back to its manufacturing and leading design base that made it famous just a few decades ago. Get the design and efficiency right, the price doesn’t matter. Back in the 60’s 70′ sand 80’s the world loved US products. Sure, the cost of labour is critical, but design, quality and efficiency of scale does make a difference. Get rid af the crazy Union control, take a bit of a dip, and ALL the people will benefit.
    (My 2 cents worth)
    The US rating is now the same as NZ – AA+ – its not all bad. 🙂
    .

Political Advice From Rudyard Kipling

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

I have always been a great fan of the poetry of Kipling.  It is fun to recite and often has a fair amount of wisdom.  Too often Kipling is simply written off as a pro-imperialist poet and relegated to the past along with the British Empire.  He was certainly a loyal Brit and an advocate of the Empire, but there was much more to him than that.  Refusing honor after honor, including being poet laureate of Great Britain, he always retained his independence to give loving criticism to his country.  For example, in 1897 at the time of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, he wrote the poem Recessional which envisioned a time when Great Britain would have lost its Empire and its power:

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Kipling realized that power was never an end itself and that Great Britain would be judged by God and History not by how much power it amassed, but by what the British did with their power.

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5 Responses to Political Advice From Rudyard Kipling

  • My favorite Kipling is the poem that reads:

    When you’re lying on the Afghan plains
    And the women and children come to pick at your remains
    Roll to your gun and blow out your brains
    And go to your God like a soldier

    Clearly reflecting Britain’s futile efforts in Afghanistan – similar to our own, and the futility of war in general.

  • Actually Awakaman the Brits succeeded in turning Afghanistan into a client state after the Second Anglo-Afghanistan war in 1880, a relationship that endured, except for a brief period of fighting in the Third Anglo-Afghanistan War in 1919, until the Brits left India in 1947. The Afghanistan border with India, now Pakistan, has never been so peaceful before or since. As to the futility of war, that might make a nice bumper sticker, although I prefer “Arms Are For Hugging”!, but it is really historical nonsense. There have been futile wars, the Soccer War between El Salvador and Guatemala in 1969 is a prime example, wars that have brought about decisive victories for one side, our Civil War, wars that have laid the framework of a lengthy period of peace, the defeat of Napoleon I for example, wars that have ended in the annihilation of one side, the Third Punic War, and an endless additional variety of wars. Wars come in all shapes and sizes and to decry the futility of war is to simply ignore the data available to us from the historical record.

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  • One wishes more bishops, too, took this sense of responsibility to heart.

  • Awakaman,

    The poem is actually not quite as delicate as you remember it. It’s called “The Young British Soldier,”
    and the last stanza reads:

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!

The Great Darkness

Monday, August 2, AD 2010

May 19, 1780 was a memorable one in the history of New England.  Darkness descended for several hours in New England and parts of New York.  The cause of the darkness has been blamed on everything from volcanoes to dust storms.  The most commonly accepted explanation today is that the darkness was caused by forest fires.  An excellent overview of the Dark Day and its possible causes is presented by John Horrigan here.

Darkness in the middle of the day of course caused quite a bit of alarm, with more than a few people thinking that the Day of Judgment had arrived.  In the Connecticut legislature a motion to adjourn was proposed and passed.  Members of the Council of Safety of the legislature wanted to go to their homes.  Senator Abraham Davenport would have none of it.  “The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought.”  John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized this archetypal stubborn Yankee with this poem:

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8 Responses to Christ in Flanders

  • Thanks for this.

  • You are very welcome Phillip!

  • ‘I knew a simple soldier boy
    Who grinned at life in empty joy,
    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
    He put a bullet through his brain.
    No one spoke of him again.’

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
    Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
    The hell where youth and laughter go.

    ‘Suicide in the trenches’ by Siegfried Sassoon.

    Wear a Poppy with pride. Lest We Forget.

  • Stand-To: Good Friday Morning

    I’d been on duty from two till four.
    I went and stared at the dug-out door.
    Down in the frowst I heard them snore.
    ‘Stand to!’ Somebody grunted and swore.
    Dawn was misty; the skies were still;
    Larks were singing, discordant, shrill;
    They seemed happy; but I felt ill.
    Deep in water I splashed my way
    Up the trench to our bogged front line.
    Rain had fallen the whole damned night.
    O Jesus, send me a wound to-day,
    And I’ll believe in Your bread and wine,
    And get my bloody old sins washed white!

    Siegfried Sassoon

    Which of course Sassoon eventually did when he joined the Catholic Church in 1957.

  • In Flanders Fields
    By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
    Canadian Army

    In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

  • My father used to recite “Christ in Flanders” to our family when I was growing up. He was wounded twice in France, and that`s all we knew, otherwise he never talked about the war at all. I have been trying to find out who wrote this poem, and now don`t know how Honore de Balzac could be the author, as he died in l850 yet that is what it says in one of the references. If it is “L.W.” what more do we know of him? Surely somebody can help!

  • Lucy Whitmell is the poet

  • Thank you Megan!

One Response to Melancholy and Faith

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).

    ‘My own heart let me have more have pity on; let’

    MY own heart let me have more have pity on; let
    Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
    Charitable; not live this tormented mind
    With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
    I cast for comfort I can no more get
    By groping round my comfortless, than blind
    Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
    Thirst ’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

    Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
    You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
    Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
    At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
    ’s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
    Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.

Death Be Not Proud

Friday, January 9, AD 2009
father-neuhaus
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
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Politicians. Little Tin Gods on Wheels.

Monday, December 22, AD 2008

Since the bad joke who happens to be the governor of my state is apparently fond of quoting Kipling, the title to this post is also from Kipling who had very little use for most politicians.  A variant of the great poem “If” , much more fitting for Blagojevich, is provided by Claudia Rosett here.

Blagojevich, Chicago’s curse to the state of Illinois, might be more careful in the choice of poets he quotes.  Kipling did not think much of the Windy City.

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4 Responses to Politicians. Little Tin Gods on Wheels.

  • He should have quoted Roger Water’s (Pink Floyd) If. A number of appropriate “ifs” there.

    Particularly fond of:

    If I were a rule, I would bend

    AND

    And if I go insane,
    Will you still let me join in with the game?

  • Blago is now in Gift That Keeps On Giving Dept. Consider his bluster last week and harrumph I’m Hanging Tough. Now new stuff from the Chicago Trib on major fundraiser who scarfed up cash for his enemies- like Ms. Madigan the State AG and daughter of State House Speaker who hates Blago’s intestines. Then I read in my Philly Inquirer Sunday- all right, I read it on-line- that major local youth group sponsored by Congressperson Chaka Fattah under FBI scrutiny. Sorry you’re feeling kinda glum this Christmas season, Don. I’m in ho ho ho mode.

  • “Sorry you’re feeling kinda glum this Christmas season, Don. I’m in ho ho ho mode.”

    Glad to hear that Gerard. No actually I rarely allow politics to effect my personal mood. Living in Illinois I long ago learned that most politicians are good for only comedy relief.

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Lest We Forget

Tuesday, November 11, AD 2008

gkcmarines

TO THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR
by G.K.Chesterton

You whom the kings saluted; who refused not
The one great pleasure of ignoble days,
Fame without name and glory without gossip,
Whom no biographer befouls with praise.
Who said of you “Defeated”? In the darkness
The dug-out where the limelight never comes,
Nor the big drum of Barnum’s show can shatter
That vibrant stillness after all the drums.

Though the time comes when every Yankee circus
Can use our soldiers for its sandwich-men,
When those that pay the piper call the tune,
You will not dance. You will not move again.

You will not march for Fatty Arbuckle,
Though he have yet a favourable press,
Tender as San Francisco to St. Francis
Or all the angels of Los Angeles.

They shall not storm the last unfallen fortress,
The lonely castle where uncowed and free,
Dwells the unknown and undefeated warrior
That did alone defeat Publicity.

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4 Responses to Lest We Forget

Ad Astra Per Aspera

Tuesday, November 4, AD 2008

defeat

 

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
     The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
     And as things have been, things remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
     Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
     But westward, look, the land is bright.

— Arthur Hugh Clough

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2 Responses to Ad Astra Per Aspera

A Poem For Our Times

Friday, October 10, AD 2008

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

 

 

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.

 

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2 Responses to A Poem For Our Times