Friday, March 20, 2009

The Stranger

For my bestest friend Brooke

The Stranger

The Stranger within my gate,He may be true or kind,But he does not talk my talk --I cannot feel his mind.I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stockThey may do ill or well,But they tell the lies I am wonted to.They are used to the lies I tell,And we do not need interpretersWhen we go to buy and sell.

The Stranger within my gates,He may be evil or good,But I cannot tell what powers controlWhat reasons sway his mood;Nor when the Gods of his far-off landShall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,Bitter bad they may be,But, at least, they hear the things I hear,And see the things I see;And whatever I think of them and their likesThey think of the likes of me.

This was my father's belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf --
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.
Rudyard Kipling


Brooke said...

Another great job of illustration!

Thank you.

Wheeler MacPherson said...

This is a perfect marriage of art: the photo and the poem compliment each other, and the contrast between Kipling's eloquence and the tawdry scene depicted is jarring. Fine job, Joy.