Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Poetry: The Jungle Book

One theme with the poetry I've selected is that in some cases they come from books I've read. Unlikely places to find some wonderful poems. I used to not read the poems in books, until late, when I realized there is something valuable in them. Here are a few that resonated with me while reading the Jungle Book by R. Kipling. (For those who have only the Disney version in their knowledge, do spend an afternoon with this book, and discover a ready treasure, quite unlike the animated one.)

From Toomai the Elephant

I will remember what I was, I am sick of rope and chain-- 
I will remember my old strength and all my forest affairs.
I will not sell my back to man for a bundle of sugar-cane: 
I will go out to my own kind, and the wood-folk in their lairs.
I will go out until the day, until the morning break-- 
Out to the wind's untainted kiss, the water's clean caress;
I will forget my ankle-ring and snap my picket stake. 
I will revisit my lost loves, and playmates masterless! 

From Her Majesty's Service
You can work it out by Fractions or by simple Rule of Three,
But the way of Tweedle-dum is not the way of Tweedle-dee.
You can twist it, you can turn it, you can plait it till you drop,
But the way of Pilly Winky's not the way of Winkie Pop!

From the White Seal
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas!
--Seal Lullaby
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