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Kipling

 

Rudyard Kipling
1865-1936

"Rebirth: 1914-18"

 
       If any God should say
          "I will restore
       The world her yesterday
          Whole as before
My Judgments blasted it" who would not lift
Heart, eye, and hand in passion o'er the gift?

       If any God should will
          To wipe from mind
       The memory of this ill
          Which is mankind
In soul and substance now who would not bless
Even to tears His loving-tenderness?

       If any God should give
          Us leave to fly
       These present deaths we live,
          And safely die
In those lost lives we lived ere we were born
What man but would not laugh the excuse to scorn?

       For we are what we are
          So broke to blood
       And the strict works of war
          So long subdued
To sacrifice, that threadbare Death commands
Hardly observance at our busier hands.

       Yet we were what we were,
          And, fashioned so,
       It pleases us to stare
          At the far show
Of unbelievable years and shapes that flit,
In our own likeness, on the edge of it.

 

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