Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Poetry - Rudyard Kipling

This poem, The Storm Cone, was one of Kipling's last poems, written in 1935. He had seen & written about many wars, from the Sudan to South Africa & the Great War & was horrified at the signs of growing German militarism. I've been reading this volume of war stories & poems & have just started Kipling's autobiography, Something of Myself, which is proving interesting for what he's not saying about himself. One reviewer apparently called it Hardly Anything of Myself! I will definitely need to read a biography afterwards to fill in the gaps. Can anyone recommend a good one? I've heard good things about the Andrew Lycett; I enjoyed his biography of Arthur Conan Doyle.

This is the midnight-let no star
Delude us-dawn is very far.
This is the tempest long foretold-
Slow to make head but sure to hold

Stand by! The lull 'twixt blast and blast
Signals the storm is near, not past;
And worse than present jeopardy
May our forlorn to-morrow be.

If we have cleared the expectant reef,
Let no man look for his relief.
Only the darkness hides the shape
Of further peril to escape.

It is decreed that we abide
The weight of gale against the tide
And those huge waves the outer main
Sends in to set us back again.

They fall and whelm. We strain to hear
The pulses of her labouring gear,
Till the deep throb beneath us proves,
After each shudder and check, she moves!

She moves, with all save purpose lost,
To make her offing from the coast;
But, till she fetches open sea,
Let no man deem that he is free!


  1. I liked the Lycett bio a lot; Ricketts is also solid, in my opinion. Something of Myself is an interesting but frustrating read--very little of himself, for sure.

    1. Thanks Joe, I was leaning towards the Lycett biog so it's good to have a recommendation. I finished reading SOM at the weekend. Luckily I read the annotated Cambridge edition which filled in some gaps. Maybe if he'd lived to revise & complete it, he would have added more to it?