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(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

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The Morning Song of the Jungle

One moment past our bodies cast
No shadow on the plain;
Now clear and black they stride our track,
And we run home again.
In morning-hush, each rock and bush
Stands hard, and high, and raw:
Then give the Call: "Good rest to all
That keep the Jungle Law!"


Now horn and pelt our peoples melt
In covert to abide;
Now, crouched and still, to cave and hill
Our Jungle Barons glide.
Now, stark and plain, Man's oxen strain,
That draw the new-yoked plough;
Now, stripped and dread, the dawn is red
Above the lit talao.

Ho! Get to lair! The sun's aflare
Behind the breathing grass:
And creaking through the young bamboo
The warning whispers pass.
By day made strange, the woods we range
With blinking eyes we scan;
While down the skies the wild duck cries:
"The Day--the Day to Man!"

The dew is dried that drenched our hide,
Or washed about our way;
And where we drank, the puddled bank
Is crisping into clay.
The traitor Dark gives up each mark
Of stretched or hooded claw:
Then hear the Call: "Good rest to all
That keep the Jungle Law!"

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: warning, red, home, dark, sun, song, running, sky

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