Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

The Nursing Sister


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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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