Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

An American


The American Spirit speaks:


"If the Led Striker call it a strike,
Or the papers call it a war,
They know not much what I am like,
Nor what he is, my Avatar."

Through many roads, by me possessed,
He shambles forth in cosmic guise;
He is the Jester and the Jest,
And he the Text himself applies.

The Celt is in his heart and hand,
The Gaul is in his brain and nerve;
Where, cosmopolitanly planned,
He guards the Redskin's dry reserve.

His easy unswept hearth he lends
From Labrador to Guadeloupe;
Till, elbowed out by sloven friends,
He camps, at sufferance, on the stoop.

Calm-eyed he scoffs at sword and crown,
Or panic-blinded stabs and slays:
Blatant he bids the world bow down,
Or cringing begs a crust of praise;

Or, sombre-drunk, at mine and mart,
He dubs his dreary brethren Kings.
His hands are black with blood -- his heart
Leaps, as a babe's, at little things.

But, through the shift of mood and mood,
Mine ancient humour saves him whole --
The cynic devil in his blood
That bids him mock his hurrying soul;

That bids him flout the Law he makes,
That bids him make the Law he flouts,
Till, dazed by many doubts, he wakes
The drumming guns that -- have no doubts;

That checks him foolish -- hot and fond,
That chuckles through his deepest ire,
That gilds the slough of his despond
But dims the goal of his desire;

Inopportune, shrill-accented,
The acrid Asiatic mirth
That leaves him, careless 'mid his dead,
The scandal of the elder earth.

How shall he clear himself, how reach
Your bar or weighed defence prefer?
A brother hedged with alien speech
And lacking all interpreter.

Which knowledge vexes him a space;
But while Reproof around him rings,
He turns a keen untroubled face
Home, to the instant need of things.

Enslaved, illogical, elate,
He greets th' embarrassed Gods, nor fears
To shake the iron hand of Fate
Or match with Destiny for beers.

Lo, imperturbable he rules,
Unkempt, disreputable, vast --
And, in the teeth of all the schools,
I -- I shall save him at the last!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: destiny, brother, fate, war, home, heart, world, school, fear, friend

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (An American by Rudyard Kipling )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

New Poems

  1. Tread, thread!, Edward Kofi Louis
  2. Father Dearest., Tom Higgins
  3. Are We There Yet?, Tom Higgins
  4. Poles, Edward Kofi Louis
  5. Fictional Love, Stacey Austin
  6. Too Late Again., Tom Higgins
  7. Cutting my losses., michael walker
  8. Moonlight Shadows, Tango Tango
  9. Thoughts of Nought., Tom Higgins
  10. Lotsa Limericks - It Couldn't be Verse, Terry O'Leary

Poem of the Day

poet Joyce Kilmer

(For the Rev. James J. Daly, S. J.)

Bright stars, yellow stars, flashing through the air,
Are you errant strands of Lady Mary's hair?
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  5. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  6. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. If, Rudyard Kipling
  9. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  10. Invictus, William Ernest Henley

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]