My family and those young men who have been my interns know that I am a Rudyard Kipling fan. His poems intrigue me to no end. As a student of words and thoughts, I am amazed at this man’s words and thoughts. Outside of the Bible, I would rather have a collection of Kipling poems than any other book.
I’ve decided to do something simply because I enjoy it. From time to time, I’ll post a recording of, and my thoughts on, a Kipling poem. I realize that poetry recitation is not an American value (as it is in Eastern Europe). That’s okay with me, because I’m really just posting these for my own enjoyment. I believe that poetry was meant to be heard, not seen.
My first Kipling post is so applicable to our society, and even to the constant barrage of “social justice” that I hear from Southern Baptist leaders and others formerly known as Protestant Evangelicals (they quit protesting and broadened well beyond the Gospel a long time ago). In “An Imperial Rescript,” written in 1890, Kipling talks of an ecumenical (nationally, not denominational) gathering of world leadership that would solve the problems of the poor. The German Kaiser (Caesar) announced that he had found the solution: the strong shall wait for the weary and all of humanity would march like an army where no man breaks from the line…and they would march to peace and plenty.
Just as the leaders were reaching for the quill to sign the decree, a blue-eyed maiden began to laugh, and then follows the testimony of some of the world’s stubborn capitalists (led by the Yankee delegation) who, each in turn, reject the idea of socialism for what many (then and now) call personal greed.
Kipling and I stand together, however, to call it capitalism. Kipling, with such poetic ease, says that this is the only economic plan that will work, till we are built like angels. He closes his poem with several references to literature (Biblical and otherwise) that speak of doing the impossible, such as “belling the cat” (Aesop’s fable), “razoring the Grindstone,” and getting “figs from thistles.”
So, enjoy the poem. And forget about trying to do what has been done so many times before: to ease the strong of their burden, to help the weak in their need. As Jesus said, “the poor you have with you always.” Rather than trying to find some government, church, or denominational program that brings humanity to march to peace and plenty in the bond of brotherhood, just work for the kids and the missus (or, as Scripture puts it: “if anyone does not take care of his own, he is worse than an infidel”).