Tag Archives: recessional

In the Ancient Wood I Stood

In the ancient wood I stood
And saw many a fallen tree
Brought low by storm.
They spoke to me
Of how shadows grow
On an English lawn,
In summertime. And of Kipling’s rhyme.
For he foresaw how empires go.
Do the Chinese and Russians know
What Kipling told not long ago?

(Note: for anyone who has not done so, I recommend reading Kipling’s “Recessional”, in which he warns against the arrogance of imperialism, and foresees the loss of the British Empire).

Poetry and Politics

In “10 of the best political poems everyone should read”, the site Interesting Literature lists (amongst others) W. H. Auden’s “September 1st, 1939” and Rudyard Kipling’s fine poem “Recessional”. The latter poem is no mere glorification of British imperial might. The words “lest we forget” and Kipling’s references to long gone empires, and those “drunk on power” demonstrates that the poet recognises that empires and civilisations pass. We should not be arrogant but must maintain a “humble” and “contrite” heart.

You can read Interesting Literature’s post here, https://interestingliterature.com/2020/06/political-poems/.

I have written a number of poems touching on the subject of politics, including the below poem, which is entitled “When the Squire, Sitting By His Fire”:

When the squire
Sitting by his fire,
Rang the bell,
Who can tell
Whether the servant, summoned by his call
Had any desire
For the great hall to fall.

How easy ’tis to condemn
Past men.
But tell me
would you reject
The established imperfect
For a future that may never be?

(The above Poem can be found in my collection “Light and Shade”, which is available here

https://www.amazon.com/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems/dp/B08B37VVKV.