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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

A Song In Storm

1914-18
   Be well assured that on our side
       The abiding oceans fight,
   Though headlong wind and heaping tide
       Make us their sport to-night.
   By force of weather, not of war,
       In jeopardy we steer.
   Then welcome Fate's discourtesy
      Whereby it shall appear
          How in all time of our distress,
          And our deliverance too,
          The game is more than the player of the game,
          And the ship is more than the crew!

   Out of the mist into the mirk
       The glimmering combers roll.
   Almost these mindless waters work
       As though they had a soul --
   Almost as though they leagued to whelm
       Our flag beneath their green:
   Then welcome Fate's discourtesy
       Whereby it shall be seen, etc.

   Be well assured, though wave and wind
        Have mightier blows in store,
   That we who keep the watch assigned
        Must stand to it the more;
   And as our streaming bows rebuke
        Each billow's baulked career,
   Sing, welcome Fate's discourtesy
        Whereby it is made clear, etc.

   No matter though our decks be swept
        And mast and timber crack --
   We can make good all loss except
        The loss of turning back.
    So, 'twixt these Devils and our deep
        Let courteous trumpets sound,
   To welcome Fate's discourtesy
        Whereby it will be found, etc.

   Be well assured, though in our power
        Is nothing left to give
   But chance and place to meet the hour,
        And leave to strive to live.
   Till these dissolve our Order holds,
        Our Service binds us here.
   Then welcome Fate's discourtesy
        Whereby it is made clear
            How in all time of our distress,
            As in our triumph too,
            The game is more than the player of the game
            And the ship is more than the crew!

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