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The Hyaenas

Written by: Rudyard Kipling | Biography
 | Quotes (67) |
 After the burial-parties leave
 And the baffled kites have fled;
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
 To take account of our dead.

How he died and why he died
 Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones aside
 And dig till they come to it.

They are only resolute they shall eat
 That they and their mates may thrive,
And they know that the dead are safer meat
 Than the weakest thing alive.

(For a goat may butt, and a worm may sting,
 And a child will sometimes stand;
But a poor dead soldier of the King
 Can never lift a hand.)

They whoop and halloo and scatter the dirt
 Until their tushes white
 Take good hold in the army shirt,
 And tug the corpse to light,

And the pitiful face is shewn again
 For an instant ere they close;
But it is not discovered to living men --
 Only to God and to those

Who, being soulless, are free from shame,
 Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man's name --
 That is reserved for his kind.



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