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“Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.” Rudyard Kipling: The Old Issue

All we have of freedom, all we use or know–
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw–
Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the king.

Till our fathers ‘stablished,, after bloody years,
How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom-not at little cost–
Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.

Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.

Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure .
Whining “He is weak and far”; crying “Time will cure.”

(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,
Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people’s loins.)

Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.
Suffer not the old King here or overseas.

They that beg us barter–wait his yielding mood–
Pledge the years we hold in trust-pawn our brother’s blood–

Howso’ great their clamour, whatsoe’er their claim,
Suffer not the old King under any name!

Here is naught unproven–here is naught to learn.
It is written what shall fall if the King return.

He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom’s name.

He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
He shall change our gold for arms–arms we may not bear.

He shall break his Judges if they cross his word;
He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.

He shall peep and mutter, and the night shall bring
Watchers ‘neath our window, lest we mock the King —

Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;
Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.

Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
These shall deal our Justice: sell-deny-delay.

We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse
For the Land we look to–for the Tongue we use.

We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
While his hired captains jeer us in the street.

Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.

Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
Laying on a new land evil of the old–

Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain–
All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.

Here is nought at venture, random nor untrue
Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.

Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:
Step for step and word for word–so the old Kings did!

Step by step and word by word: who is ruled may read.
Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed–

All the right they promise–all the wrong they bring.
Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Francis W. Porretto September 18, 2021, 7:13 AM

    A perfect piece for our time!

  • ghostsniper September 18, 2021, 10:04 AM

    I stole that pik, will blow it up at least 4x, gonna carve it into a splendid piece of maple. Maybe give it some airbrush highlights.

  • Randall R Bridges September 18, 2021, 2:31 PM

    Nice pick of poem, & pick of pic –
    but this new King is makin’ us sick!

  • Casey Klahn September 18, 2021, 5:26 PM

    Fukn king. Kipling knew his stuff, and trust a poet to reflect to us the truth.

    My grandfather sailed from Germany in 1900, and pioneered (homesteaded) in the Godforsaken middle of nowhere. A place only for the very hardiest of people. He endured that, and with my grandmother made 13 children and the great Depression was not unlike pioneering, anyway. He’d had enough of the fukn Kaiser. 2 world wars ensued, and all 7 brothers went off to war. My father fought in hard combat (I’ve told it often and it seems the nation needs to hear to as much now as ever) and laid it down in order to ensure the nation’s preservation for just a while longer. OK. Klahns did this for themselves and the nation stands until now.

    I liked what Reagan said (when I was in the military service) when he said that freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. Biden. Fake flue pandemic. Fake insurrection. Idiots in the streets for Marxist horse shit (what Marx called class, we now get to call ‘race’). Economy in a shambles, after Trump had it shining. Afghanistan a national disgrace and we are all in shock. Military undermined and this is not good. See that city wall? It’s gone now. Gather up all your shit, and keep your weapons handy.

    All this has meaning to me. Kipling is right.

    • Casey Klahn September 18, 2021, 5:38 PM

      I recognize there are many members here whose fathers fought in the wars, 82nd airborne, Navy pilots or crew, and indeed we have some Vietnam vets among us. We are a mean crew who have a low BS threshold and daily I wonder what will happen next.
      God bless all present.

      • Vanderleun September 19, 2021, 8:03 AM

        And so say we all.

  • Randall R Bridges September 19, 2021, 10:29 AM

    “God bless us, every one.”

  • Willy Ruffian September 19, 2021, 4:59 PM

    Back when poetry rhymed,had punctuation and you could understand it.

  • Fletcher Christian September 20, 2021, 2:40 AM

    The problem with living under the Law, and nothing else, is that then the world is ruled by lawyers; the worst group of greedy, grasping, corrupt and self-serving SOBs there is.

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” (William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2 (1592) act 4, sc. 2, l. [73])

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