Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm Back

After almost two months of lassitude--induced no doubt by this (blasted) Meridian heat--I have returned. Not because it's any cooler (it isn't: it might as well be mid-July around here) but because conscience has pricked me into action. That and the withering example of the early Rudyard Kipling, whose correspondence I have been reading in the excellent edition of Thomas Pinney, recently published. So when he worked in what is now Lahore, Pakistan in the 1880s, Kipling would regularly complain to his correspondents that on such and such a summer's day he would have plied his trade as a journalist for 10 or 12 hours that day, when temperatures were 115 degrees, with a low the previous evening of 90. So if he can do that without ice or airconditioning, a far lesser mortal with all the comfortable advantages of technology can, well, do far less but at the very least do something.

And so, rather than merely thinking about such matters as the success of Sara Palin in picking winners in Republican primaries across the country or President Obama telling us that Muslims have the Constitutional right to build a mosque at Ground Zero without telling us also that Molly Norris, the Seattle journalist now in hiding because of death threats stemming from her asking readers to draw cartoons of Mohammed, has the Constitutional right to live free from such molestation--rather, I say, than merely thinking about such things, I have resolved once again to think about these things with fingertips on keys, as it were, and inform the desperately waiting world just what I think about these matters.

But first things first. Since I have been a sluggard, and since too quick exercise after a lull is bad for the body, I will conclude today with a poem by the later Kipling. Although he wrote it when some say he was past his prime, it is a poem that bears very careful reading, not least because so many of the sentiments it contains can profitably be applied to our own elitists who decry the achievements of the United States in securing liberty for others around the globe. Enjoy.


"The eradication of memories of the Great War. -SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT ORGAN

The Socialist Government speaks:
THOUGH all the Dead were all forgot
And razed were every tomb,
The Worm-the Worm that dieth not
Compels Us to our doom.
Though all which once was England stands
Subservient to Our will,
The Dead of whom we washed Our hands,
They have observance still.

We laid no finger to Their load.
We multiplied Their woes.
We used Their dearly-opened road
To traffic with Their foes:
And yet to Them men turn their eyes,
To Them are vows renewed
Of Faith, Obedience, Sacrifice,
Honour and Fortitude!

Which things must perish. But Our hour
Comes not by staves or swords
So much as, subtly, through the power
Of small corroding words.
No need to make the plot more plain
By any open thrust;
But-see Their memory is slain
Long ere Their bones are dust!

Wisely, but yearly, filch some wreath-
Lay some proud rite aside-
And daily tarnish with Our breath
The ends for which They died.
Distract, deride, decry, confuse-
(Or-if it serves Us-pray!)
So presently We break the use
And meaning of Their day!