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Cleared - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

(In Memory of a Commission)

Help for a patriot distressed, a spotless spirit hurt,
Help for an honourable clan sore trampled in the dirt!
From Queenstown Bay to Donegal, O listen to my song,
The honourable gentlemen have suffered grievous wrong.

Their noble names were mentioned -- O the burning black disgrace! --
By a brutal Saxon paper in an Irish shooting-case;
They sat upon it for a year, then steeled their heart to brave it,
And 'coruscating innocence' the learned Judges gave it.

Bear witness, Heaven, of that grim crime beneath the surgeon's knife,
The honourable gentlemen deplored the loss of life!
Bear witness of those chanting choirs that burk and shirk and snigger,
No man laid hand upon the knife or finger to the trigger!

Cleared in the face of all mankind beneath the winking skies,
Like ph]oenixes from Ph]oenix Park (and what lay there) they rise!
Go shout it to the emerald seas -- give word to Erin now,
Her honourable gentlemen are cleared -- and this is how: --

They only paid the Moonlighter his cattle-hocking price,
They only helped the murderer with counsel's best advice,
But -- sure it keeps their honour white -- the learned Court believes
They never gave a piece of plate to murderers and thieves.

They never told the ramping crowd to card a woman's hide,
They never marked a man for death -- what fault of theirs he died? --
They only said 'intimidate', and talked and went away --
By God, the boys that did the work were braver men than they!

Their sin it was that fed the fire -- small blame to them that heard --
The 'bhoys' get drunk on rhetoric, and madden at a word --
They knew whom they were talking at, if they were Irish too,
The gentlemen that lied in Court, they knew, and well they knew.

They only took the Judas-gold from Fenians out of jail,
They only fawned for dollars on the blood-dyed Clanna-Gael.
If black is black or white is white, in black and white it's down,
They're only traitors to the Queen and rebels to the Crown.

'Cleared', honourable gentlemen! Be thankful it's no more: --
The widow's curse is on your house, the dead are at your door.
On you the shame of open shame, on you from North to South
The hand of every honest man flat-heeled across your mouth.

'Less black than we were painted'? -- Faith, no word of black was said;
The lightest touch was human blood, and that, you know, runs red.
It's sticking to your fist to-day for all your sneer and scoff,
And by the Judge's well-weighed word you cannot wipe it off.

Hold up those hands of innocence -- go, scare your sheep together,
The blundering, tripping tups that bleat behind the old bell-wether;
And if they snuff the taint and break to find another pen,
Tell them it's tar that glistens so, and daub them yours again!

'The charge is old'? -- As old as Cain -- as fresh as yesterday;
Old as the Ten Commandments -- have ye talked those laws away?
If words are words, or death is death, or powder sends the ball,
You spoke the words that sped the shot -- the curse be on you all.

'Our friends believe'? -- Of course they do -- as sheltered women may;
But have they seen the shrieking soul ripped from the quivering clay?
They! -- If their own front door is shut,
they'll swear the whole world's warm;
What do they know of dread of death or hanging fear of harm?

The secret half a county keeps, the whisper in the lane,
The shriek that tells the shot went home behind the broken pane,
The dry blood crisping in the sun that scares the honest bees,
And shows the 'bhoys' have heard your talk -- what do they know of these?

But you -- you know -- ay, ten times more; the secrets of the dead,
Black terror on the country-side by word and whisper bred,
The mangled stallion's scream at night, the tail-cropped heifer's low.
Who set the whisper going first? You know, and well you know!

My soul! I'd sooner lie in jail for murder plain and straight,
Pure crime I'd done with my own hand for money, lust, or hate,
Than take a seat in Parliament by fellow-felons cheered,
While one of those 'not provens' proved me cleared as you are cleared.

Cleared -- you that 'lost' the League accounts -- go, guard our honour still,
Go, help to make our country's laws that broke God's law at will --
One hand stuck out behind the back, to signal 'strike again';
The other on your dress-shirt-front to show your heart is clane.

If black is black or white is white, in black and white it's down,
You're only traitors to the Queen and rebels to the Crown.
If print is print or words are words, the learned Court perpends: --
We are not ruled by murderers, but only -- by their friends.


Comments about Cleared by Rudyard Kipling

  • Silver Star - 3,852 Points John Richter (11/3/2014 3:17:00 PM)

    This is an absolutely amazing poem. Every line strummed the beat of meter like a song to me, yet the meat of it is so very intense. I would like to know more about this poem. It sounds as though a thug hired men to intimidate an Irish fellow, but the men killed him instead. And the instigator was cleared because his intention was not murder. And if I'm not mistaken he went on to join British Parliament. Shocking story and I wonder if it is true. Kipling is fastly becoming one of my favorite poets. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 278 Points Jack Growden (8/4/2013 4:22:00 AM)

    Tremendously passionate piece of poetry! ! Please read my collection! ! I am a young, aspiring poet. Feel free to rate and comment on my pieces. Thanks, Jack Growden (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 79 Points Hunter Hunters (8/4/2012 5:01:00 AM)

    Kipling never went to prison for his words all in the name of poetry. Indeed we are not ruled by murderers but only by their friends. We hope for better future in God's Kingdom. (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

Poems About Black

  1. 1. Cleared , Rudyard Kipling
  2. 2. Lament , Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Beauty, Inside And Out , Camacy Melville
  4. 4. Not All Blacks , hasmukh amathalal
  5. 5. The Runaway Slave At Pilgrim's Point , Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  6. 6. The Georgics , Virgil
  7. 7. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' .. , Dónall Dempsey
  8. 8. The Star-Apple Kingdom , Derek Walcott
  9. 9. The Black Virgin , Gilbert Keith Chesterton
  10. 10. 1777 , Amy Lowell
  11. 11. Saint Edmond's Eve , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  12. 12. Thurso’s Landing , Robinson Jeffers
  13. 13. The Lhc Collider At Cern- A Threat To Th.. , Lonnie Hicks
  14. 14. The Black Canvas , Unwritten Soul
  15. 15. The City Of Dreadful Night , James Thomson
  16. 16. Captain Teach Alias Black Beard , William Topaz McGonagall
  17. 17. Pictures From An Exhibition , Adrian Henri
  18. 18. Patience , Leon Gellert
  19. 19. Old Spookses' Pass , Isabella Valancy Crawford
  20. 20. Blood Rhythms - Blood Currents - Black N.. , Ntozake Shange
  21. 21. Einstein: The Holographic View Of The Co.. , Lonnie Hicks
  22. 22. A Single Black Rose , Michael Koelliker
  23. 23. Old Black Joe , Stephen C. Foster
  24. 24. Counting Black Cats , Bruce Larkin
  25. 25. Give Your Heart To The Hawks , Robinson Jeffers
  26. 26. Black And White , Jennifer Rondeau
  27. 27. Einstein, Time, Space, Buddha And Poetry.. , Lonnie Hicks
  28. 28. A Black Rose , Glenn McGahan
  29. 29. Why Abuse Black? , hasmukh amathalal
  30. 30. Actc: 2015/01: Contest Titles (2) .. , Bri Edwards
  31. 31. A Black Rose , Sad Truth
  32. 32. A Black Single Rose. , Natasha Ligons
  33. 33. (murder Poem) Shades Of Black , Ace Of Black Hearts
  34. 34. Ebony And Ivory, Chocolate And Vanilla, .. , Joe Rosochacki
  35. 35. And You Call Me Colored , Agra Gra
  36. 36. A Black Rose , Mr. Bean
  37. 37. Big White Gorilla , Mr. Bean
  38. 38. Aurora Borealis , Edouard Roditi
  39. 39. Sun-Up , Lola Ridge
  40. 40. Black Butterfly , sallam yassin
  41. 41. Golden Black (The Symbol Of Originality) , Blessing Anastasia Abaka
  42. 42. Black Widow Spider , Keith Foley
  43. 43. Don'T Give A F*ck , Emo Seb
  44. 44. Blackwater , Joe Rosochacki
  45. 45. 300 Masked Cried Vagrants Farmer , starseven0 starseven0
  46. 46. The Scots [a Dirge] , Henry Lawson
  47. 47. Black Dog , Greg Davidson
  48. 48. The Abasement , Narendra Kuppan
  49. 49. The Story Of The Inky Boys , Heinrich Hoffmann
  50. 50. The Truth Pt 2 , travion hood
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