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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Rebirth

1914-18

"The Edge of the Evening"--A Diversity of Creatures


            If any God should say,
             "I will restore
            The world her yesterday
              Whole  as  before
My Judgment blasted it"--who would not lift
Heart, eye, and hand in passion o'er the gift?

            If any God should will
              To wipe from mind
            The memory of this ill
               Which is Mankind
In soul and substance now--who would not bless
Even to tears His loving-tenderness?

            If any God should give
               Us leave to fly
             These present deaths we live,
               And  safely  die
In those lost lives we lived ere we were born--
What man but would not laugh the excuse to scorn?

             For we are what we are--
               So broke to blood
            And the strict works of war--
              So long subdued
To sacrifice, that threadbare Death commands
Hardly observance at our busier hands.

           Yet we were what we were,
              And, fashioned so,
            It pleases us to stare
              At the far show
Of unbelievable years and shapes that flit,
In our own likeness, on the edge of it.

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