Sunday, September 16, 2018

Poetry Sunday

One of our favorite sports nowadays is taking down our previously-admired heroes, proving that they fall short of our praise and walk about on feet of the softest clay. It seems like not a day goes by on which some public figure or another is exposed and virtually pilloried for some offense, real or imagined, and one has to wonder why anyone would run for public office when every aspect of his or her life may become grist for the mill of public excoriation.

This week's poem by Rudyard Kipling looks at how the failings of a leader came to light - literally - on the Afghan frontier ...

A Code of Morals
by Rudyard Kipling

Now Jones had left his new-wed bride to keep his house in order,
And hied away to the Hurrum Hills above the Afghan border,
To sit on a rock with a heliograph; but ere he left he taught
His wife the working of the Code that sets the miles at naught.

And Love had made him very sage, as Nature made her fair;
So Cupid and Apollo linked, per heliograph, the pair.
At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --
At e'en, the dying sunset bore her husband’s homilies.

He warned her 'gainst seductive youths in scarlet clad and gold,
As much as 'gainst the blandishments paternal of the old;
But kept his gravest warnings for (hereby the ditty hangs)
That snowy-haired Lothario, Lieutenant-General Bangs.

'Twas General Bangs, with Aide and Staff, who tittupped on the way,
When they beheld a heliograph tempestuously at play.
They thought of Border risings, and of stations sacked and burnt --
So stopped to take the message down -- and this is what they learnt --

"Dash dot dot, dot, dot dash, dot dash dot" twice. The General swore.
"Was ever General Officer addressed as 'dear' before?
"'My Love,' i' faith! 'My Duck,' Gadzooks! 'My darling popsy-wop!'
"Spirit of great Lord Wolseley, who is on that mountaintop?"

The artless Aide-de-camp was mute; the gilded Staff were still,
As, dumb with pent-up mirth, they booked that message from the hill;
For clear as summer lightning-flare, the husband's warning ran: --
"Don't dance or ride with General Bangs -- a most immoral man."

[At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --
But, howsoever Love be blind, the world at large hath eyes.]
With damnatory dot and dash he heliographed his wife
Some interesting details of the General's private life.

The artless Aide-de-camp was mute, the shining Staff were still,
And red and ever redder grew the General's shaven gill.
And this is what he said at last (his feelings matter not): --
"I think we've tapped a private line. Hi! Threes about there! Trot!"

All honour unto Bangs, for ne'er did Jones thereafter know
By word or act official who read off that helio.
But the tale is on the Frontier, and from Michni to Mooltan
They know the worthy General as "that most immoral man."

Watch out for General Bangs ... there may soon be a need for a new Chief of Staff or National Security Advisor in the administration.

Have a good day, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. If you are in the path of Hurricane Florence, please stay safe ... I don't want to lose any of you.

More thoughts later.



Mike said...

.. / - .... .. -. -.- / - .... .. ... / .-- .- ... / .- / --. .-. . .- - / .--. --- . -- .-.-.-

Grand Crapaud said...

Wicked good poem!

allenwoodhaven said...

Nice choice!

Atomic Dog said...

Really funny!