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The Gods of the Copybook Headings

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I Make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place.
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four --
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

* * * * *

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man --
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began --
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mice,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire --
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Rudyard Kipling, 1919


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Lines written while contemplating Flowers o' the Forest

Why then be soldiers?
Why children avenge those they slew?
The pipes, the pipes are calling,
As brave and scared keep falling:
They call to me and you.
They call at break of day
They call at dusk far away
They call to lead us up to death
They call remb’rance too.
They call of love, they sing of love,
Of joy and sadness new,
They squeak and squalk,
The dewy hills do talk
While blood mingles in the dust.

They are war:
They tell us what was true.

Yet any music oft repeated
Learns itself anew.
Here it is that battles live
And vengeance still is seated.

Often will our lives we give
For the nature we were treated.

And in the morning
And at the going down of the sun
The pipes will play I trust.

Wallerstein, Schmollerstein

Thank you Jay for the link.

Many pundits, from the unlikely, such as Kiyosaki, to the unheard-of economist who I read two years ago (wish I could remember his name) have predicted this implosion. My unremembered economist wrote that all the conditions were ripe for the "Mother of all Depressions".

However, this current situation sent me back to my Per Bak book, How Nature Works, which discusses the other side of Chaos Theory, Self Organised Criticality. The current world mess parallels the sand and rice piles that Bak and his team worked on. From this study, they formulated their 1/f theory which simplistically says that the total energy that can be expended by any system in one event is the total amount of energy contained in the system.

For the world financial markets this says that total collapse is a reality at any point in time and that we ignore it at our peril.

I don't know why, maybe I am stupid seeing that my whole retirement nest egg is at risk but there is a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing this whole crazy world which I thoroughly endorsed until relatively recently come to an end.

Somewhere in the the back of my mind, 100" TVs and my cat deserving a gift from some store for Xmas was evil. Not because of the technology or the gift itself but mainly because my life or my cat did not need any of it but
I nodded in acceptance, knowing some schmuck's job and my savings were on the line if I did not consume.

In a world that does not really need any more cars or TVs or pulp-mills or roads or factories or new technologies when do we say "enough" (except don't ask the 3rd world)?

Is that odd?

That you can't subscribe to the Wallerstein newsletter with a bigpond email, (among others).

No Returns, please God

I thought of commenting in iambic pentameter but pure decency (and not really knowing what iambic pentameter looks like) made me forgo the pleasure of watching everybody run screaming for the Nembutal.

Immanuel Wallerstein, an eminent sociologist says that the elite rule through establishing world systems that maintain control of the population through beliefs (read mental models). He believes civilization has gone through belief in God, which was overcome by the divine right of kings, which has given way to capitalism. He predicted about a decade ago that capitalism would come to an end early this century but was unable to predict whether what replaced it would be better or worse (Amazon.com: The End of the World As We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century: Immanuel Wallerstein: Books ). He maintains a fortnightly blog. It is usually on world politics, but wrote on the financial crisis last month (I. Wallerstein, 243, "The Depression: A Long-Term View" ).

Hit me

...but don't shit me  Jay. This "and not really knowing what iambic pentameter looks like" on a Kipling thread? You are a lot better than that although I felt the same. Just get in the groove.  F Kendall , why would you be be bothered by being unable to connect with a crock of shit?

Capitalism, Socialism, only words to describe the way things work. Both intertwined with no other alternatives.

You asked for it....

To break the hold the Gods have bound
That we mere mortals do long desire
Though freedom calls and calls and calls
It needs a journey steeped in fire.

Of mental models I do speak
To crush them leaves an empty space
The mind will flee such risky dreams
For nought is left in such a  place.

Where’s that damned Nembutal – even I need it now.

The Compleat Kipling

Handy source of all Kipling's poems.

F Kendall, the one you quote is in Epitaphs of the War, which interestingly isn't in the Complete Collection linked above, nor listed in the Wikipedia complete list of his works.

You two are a quite a pair

What a negative duo.

I had heard that WA was bad, Kath Farrelly, but ...  never see a tree for billboards?  As bad as that?  I had thought that over there one never saw a tree because of the mine tailings.

And, "Once there was The People - it shall never be again!"

Good Lord...how much more depressed can we get? ... (slinks off to look for the Nembutal).

Right the second time, Kath

Rudyard was pretty spot on, though.  Here's a verse from 1917:

Once there was The People - Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People, and it made a hell of earth!
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, oh, ye slain!
Once there was The People - it shall never be again!

I think that I shall never see...

I  think Kipling's most important  poem was this one, F Kendall.

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.

Oh shoot! I do believe that it was Ogden Nash that composed that one!

Never mind, an important poem just the same.

What can you say?

My favourite Ogden Kathy is the one liner "They also Cerf  who only emulate."

Good old Kipling, manages to take a swipe at everything as he should.

Makes you wonder though about the very nature of our species; how did this come to pass again? Why is it that the least productive of our number accumulate the most wealth? (A generalisation and should be seen as such.)

I won't quarrel with anyone who believes extreme socialism is a daft idea but it's easily seen how such philosophies are formed and when the bright young things are confronted with career choices, why study engineering or pure science when greater rewards lie in the direction of business degrees?

Now London will reap the rewards of developing a service based economy as will we and my prediction, China will suffer as much as anyone as client nations default.

Rudd is still talking up "free trade" without understanding that unless the fundamentals of equity are in place, he's asking for more of the same.

So help us all.

Just an observation

G'day Scott,

While the poetry in this thread is beyond me it is nevertheless so deep in feeling that, like all others who care to read, you can imagine the logic and feelings of the authors. 

There is one however which seems to have something about almost everything - and seems very wise to me:

Around 1959, the Rev. Frederick Kates, the rector of Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of devotional materials he compiled for his congregation. (Some years earlier he had come across a copy of Desiderata.) At the top of the handout was the notation, "Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore A.D. 1692."  Desiderata (Desired things)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.  As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own career, however humble;  it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.  But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.  Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love;' for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is a perennial as the grass.  Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatique and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;  you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.  With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.



Seen on the inside of dunny doors,  Ernest, and I can't think of anything better to contemplate in an enforced idle moment.

Don't sell yourself short. If you can appreciate poetry it's not beyond you.

You can "Wikipedia"  iambic pentameter if you like but while it explains the mechanics, still tells you nothing. It's a groove and I know I'm giving away my age (and beatnik tendencies,) but what it comes down to is that it's not just in the poem itself, it's also in the recital; either verbal or silent. Bad recital can bugger up anything and there are no hard and fast rules. Words can be added or dropped in some places but the same rhythm retained.

Enjoy, I'm away for a few days on a mission from God.

Good typing

David Roffey, I would add to his four sure things a fifth: that ... men will strive to keep their dominance on any issue, no matter how small, and this necessity for dominance can over ride their avowed principles as well as the common good.

Is Webdiary an example of this?

The most important poem Rudyard Kipling wrote is hard to find. Written after the death of his son in WW1, it is something like:

And, when we ask them why we died,
Tell them: because our fathers lied.

Let us hope that the fathers stop lying - not only as regards warfare.

As Long As Anuses Point.....

In a bold new world where anuses (or should that be anii) point upward there will one day arise those who value the earth, honour their children and eschew greed.

Until then.....

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