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Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

Our Fathers Also


Thrones, Powers, Dominions, Peoples, Kings,
Are changing 'neath our hand.
Our fathers also see these things
But they do not understand.

By--they are by with mirth and tears,
Wit or the works of Desire-
Cushioned about on the kindly years
Between the wall and the fire.

The grapes are pressed, the corn is shocked--
Standeth no more to glean;
For the Gates of Love and Learning locked
When they went out between.

All lore our Lady Venus bares,
Signalled it was or told
By the dear lips long given to theirs
And longer to the mould.

All Profit, all Device, all Truth,
Written it was or said
By the mighty men of their mighty youth,
Which is mighty being dead.

The film that floats before their eyes
The Temple's Veil they call;
And the dust that on the Shewbread lies
Is holy over all.

Warn them of seas that slip our yoke,
Of slow-conspiring stars-
The ancient Front of Things unbroke
But heavy with new wars?

By--they are by with mirth and tears,
Wit or the waste of Desire-
Cushioned about on the kindly years
Between the wall and the fire!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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