Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

The Return of the Children


Neither the harps nor the crowns amused, nor the cherubs' dove-winged races--
Holding hands forlornly the Children wandered beneath the Dome,
Plucking the splendid robes of the passers-by, and with pitiful! faces
Begging what Princes and Powers refused:--"Ah, please will you let us go home?"

Over the jewelled floor, nigh weeping, ran to them Mary the Mother,
Kneeled and caressed and made promise with kisses, and drew them along to the gateway--
Yea, the all-iron unbribeable Door which Peter must guard and none other.
Straightway She took the Keys from his keeping, and opened and freed them straightway.

Then, to Her Son, Who had seen and smiled, She said: "On the night that I bore Thee,
What didst Thou care for a love beyond mine or a heaven that was not my arm?
Didst Thou push from the nipple, O Child, to hear the angels adore Thee
When we two lay in the breath of the kine?" And He said -- "Thou hast done no harm."

So through the Void the Children ran homeward merrily hand in hand,
Looking neither to left nor right where the breathless Heavens stood still.
And the Guards of the Void resheathed their swords, for they heard the Command:
"Shall I that have suffered the Children to come to Me hold them against their will?"

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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