Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership


See and share Beautiful Nature Photos and amazing photos of interesting places




Best Famous Rudyard Kipling Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Rudyard Kipling poems. This is a select list of the best famous Rudyard Kipling poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Rudyard Kipling poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Rudyard Kipling poems.

Search for the best famous Rudyard Kipling poems, articles about Rudyard Kipling poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Rudyard Kipling poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back

by Rudyard Kipling |

If

If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
But make allowance for their doubting too: 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, 
Or being hated don't give way to hating, 
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim, 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools; If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


by Rudyard Kipling |

Recessional

1897


God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe, Such boastings as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law— Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard, All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding, calls not Thee to guard, For frantic boast and foolish word— Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!


by Rudyard Kipling |

The Answer

 A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,
Cried out to God and murmured 'gainst His Wrath,
Because a sudden wind at twilight's hush
Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.
And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun, Had pity, whispering to that luckless one, "Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well -- What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?" And the Rose answered, "In that evil hour A voice said, `Father, wherefore falls the flower? For lo, the very gossamers are still.
' And a voice answered, `Son, by Allah's will!'" Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward, Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord: "Sister, before We smote the dark in twain, Ere yet the stars saw one another plain, Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask.
" Whereat the withered flower, all content, Died as they die whose days are innocent; While he who questioned why the flower fell Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.


by Rudyard Kipling |

Anchor Song

 Heh! Walk her round.
Heave, ah heave her short again! Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on the pawl.
Loose all sail, and brace your yards back and full -- Ready jib to pay her off and heave short all! Well, ah fare you well; we can stay no more with you, my love -- Down, set down your liquor and your girl from off your knee; For the wind has come to say: "You must take me while you may, If you'd go to Mother Carey (Walk her down to Mother Carey!), Oh, we're bound to Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!" Heh! Walk her round.
Break, ah break it out o' that! Break our starboard-bower out, apeak, awash, and clear.
Port -- port she casts, with the harbour-mud beneath her foot, And that's the last o' bottom we shall see this year! Well, ah fare you well, for we've got to take her out again -- Take her out in ballast, riding light and cargo-free.
And it's time to clear and quit When the hawser grips the bitt, So we'll pay you with the foresheet and a promise from the sea! Heh! Tally on.
Aft and walk away with her! Handsome to the cathead, now; O tally on the fall! Stop, seize and fish, and easy on the davit-guy.
Up, well up the fluke of her, and inboard haul! Well, ah fare you well, for the Channel wind's took hold of us, Choking down our voices as we snatch the gaskets free.
And it's blowing up for night, And she's dropping Light on Light, And she's snorting under bonnets for a breath of open sea, Wheel, full and by; but she'll smell her road alone to-night.
Sick she is and harbour-sick -- O sick to clear the land! Roll down to Brest with the old Red Ensign over us -- Carry on and thrash her out with all she'll stand! Well, ah fare you well, and it's Ushant slams the door on us, Whirling like a windmill through the dirty scud to lee: Till the last, last flicker goes From the tumbling water-rows, And we're off to Mother Carey (Walk her down to Mother Carey!), Oh, we're bound for Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!


by Rudyard Kipling |

An American

 If the Led Striker call it a strike,
 Or the papers call it a war,
They know not much what I am like,
 Nor what he is, My Avatar.
Throuh many roads, by me possessed, He shambles forth in cosmic guise; He is the Jester and the Jest, And he the Text himself applies.
The Celt is in his heart and hand, The Gaul is in his brain and nerve; Where, cosmopolitanly planned, He guards the Redskin's dry reserve His easy unswept hearth he lends From Labrador to Guadeloupe; Till, elbowed out by sloven friends, He camps, at sufferance, on the stoop.
Calm-eyed he scoffs at Sword and Crown, Or, panic-blinded, stabs and slays: Blatant he bids the world bow down, Or cringing begs a crust of praise; Or, sombre-drunk, at mine and mart, He dubs his dreary breathren Kings.
His hands are black with blood -- his heart Leaps, as a babe's, at little things.
But, through the shift of mood and mood, Mine ancient humour saves him whole -- The cynic devil in his blood That bids him mock his hurrying soul; That bids him flout the Law he makes, That bids him make the Law he flouts, Till, dazed by many doubts, he wakes The drumming guns that -- have no doubts; That checks him foolish-hot and fond, That chuckles through his deepest ire, That gilds the slough of his despond But dims the goal of his desire; Inopportune, shrill-accented, The acrid Asiatic mirth That leaves him, careless 'mid his dead, The scandal of the elder earth.
How shall he clear himself, how reach Your bar or weighed defence prefer -- A brother hedged with alien speech And lacking all interpreter? Which knowledge vexes him a space; But, while Reproof around him rings, He turns a keen untroubled face Home, to the instant need of things.
Enslaved, illogical, elate, He greets the embarrassed Gods, nor fears To shake the iron hand of Fate Or match with Destiny for beers.
Lo, imperturbable he rules, Unkempt, desreputable, vast -- And, in the teeth of all the schools, I -- I shall save him at the last!


by Rudyard Kipling |

Arithmetic on the Frontier

 A great and glorious thing it is
 To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
 Ere reckoned fit to face the foe --
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass.
" Three hundred pounds per annum spent On making brain and body meeter For all the murderous intent Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!" And after -- ask the Yusufzaies What comes of all our 'ologies.
A scrimmage in a Border Station -- A canter down some dark defile -- Two thousand pounds of education Drops to a ten-rupee jezail -- The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride, Shot like a rabbit in a ride! No proposition Euclid wrote, No formulae the text-books know, Will turn the bullet from your coat, Or ward the tulwar's downward blow Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can -- The odds are on the cheaper man.
One sword-knot stolen from the camp Will pay for all the school expenses Of any Kurrum Valley scamp Who knows no word of moods and tenses, But, being blessed with perfect sight, Picks off our messmates left and right.
With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem, The troop-ships bring us one by one, At vast expense of time and steam, To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear" Are cheap -- alas! as we are dear.


by Rudyard Kipling |

Sestina Of The Tramp-Royal

 Speakin' in general, I'ave tried 'em all 
The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world.
Speakin' in general, I'ave found them good For such as cannot use one bed too long, But must get 'ence, the same as I'ave done, An' go observin' matters till they die.
What do it matter where or 'ow we die, So long as we've our 'ealth to watch it all— The different ways that different things are done, An' men an' women lovin' in this world; Takin' our chances as they come along, An' when they ain't, pretendin' they are good? In cash or credit—no, it aren't no good; You've to 'ave the 'abit or you'd die, Unless you lived your life but one day long, Nor didn't prophesy nor fret at all, But drew your tucker some'ow from the world, An' never bothered what you might ha' done.
But, Gawd, what things are they I'aven't done? I've turned my 'and to most, an' turned it good, In various situations round the world For 'im that doth not work must surely die; But that's no reason man should labour all 'Is life on one same shift—life's none so long.
Therefore, from job to job I've moved along.
Pay couldn't 'old me when my time was done, For something in my 'ead upset it all, Till I'ad dropped whatever 'twas for good, An', out at sea, be'eld the dock-lights die, An' met my mate—the wind that tramps the world! It's like a book, I think, this bloomin, world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die Unless you get the page you're readi'n' done, An' turn another—likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn'em all.
Gawd bless this world! Whatever she'oth done— Excep' When awful long—I've found it good.
So write, before I die, "'E liked it all!"


by Rudyard Kipling |

Gunga Din

 You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime, Where I used to spend my time A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen, Of all them blackfaced crew The finest man I knew Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was "Din! Din! Din! You limpin' lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din! Hi! slippery hitherao! Water, get it! Panee lao! You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.
" The uniform 'e wore Was nothin' much before, An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind, For a piece o' twisty rag An' a goatskin water-bag Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay In a sidin' through the day, Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl, We shouted "Harry By!" Till our throats were bricky-dry, Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
It was "Din! Din! Din! You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been? You put some juldee in it Or I'll marrow you this minute If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!" 'E would dot an' carry one Till the longest day was done; An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut, You could bet your bloomin' nut, 'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
With 'is mussick on 'is back, 'E would skip with our attack, An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire", An' for all 'is dirty 'ide 'E was white, clear white, inside When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire! It was "Din! Din! Din!" With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out, You could hear the front-files shout, "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!" I shan't forgit the night When I dropped be'ind the fight With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst, An' the man that spied me first Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead, An' he plugged me where I bled, An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green: It was crawlin' and it stunk, But of all the drinks I've drunk, I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was "Din! Din! Din! 'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen; 'E's chawin' up the ground, An' 'e's kickin' all around: For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!" 'E carried me away To where a dooli lay, An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside, An' just before 'e died, "I 'ope you liked your drink", sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on At the place where 'e is gone -- Where it's always double drill and no canteen; 'E'll be squattin' on the coals Givin' drink to poor damned souls, An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din! Yes, Din! Din! Din! You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din! Though I've belted you and flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!


by Rudyard Kipling |

The Prodigal Son

 Here come I to my own again, 
Fed, forgiven and known again, 
Claimed by bone of my bone again 
And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
The fatted calf is dressed for me, But the husks have greater zest for me, I think my pigs will be best for me, So I'm off to the Yards afresh.
I never was very refined, you see, (And it weighs on my brother's mind, you see) But there's no reproach among swine, d'you see, For being a bit of a swine.
So I'm off with wallet and staff to eat The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat, But glory be! - there's a laugh to it, Which isn't the case when we dine.
My father glooms and advises me, My brother sulks and despises me, And Mother catechises me Till I want to go out and swear.
And, in spite of the butler's gravity, I know that the servants have it I Am a monster of moral depravity, And I'm damned if I think it's fair! I wasted my substance, I know I did, On riotous living, so I did, But there's nothing on record to show I did Worse than my betters have done.
They talk of the money I spent out there - They hint at the pace that I went out there - But they all forget I was sent out there Alone as a rich man's son.
So I was a mark for plunder at once, And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once, But I didn't give up and knock under at once, I worked in the Yards, for a spell, Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs.
And shared their milk and maize with hogs, Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs And - I have that knowledge to sell! So back I go to my job again, Not so easy to rob again, Or quite so ready to sob again On any neck that's around.
I'm leaving, Pater.
Good-bye to you! God bless you, Mater! I'll write to you! I wouldn't be impolite to you, But, Brother, you are a hound!


by Rudyard Kipling |

Recessional (A Victorian Ode)

 God of our fathers, known of old --
 Lord of our far-flung battle line --
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
 Dominion over palm and pine --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies --
 The Captains and the Kings depart --
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
 An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget -- lest we forget! Far-called our navies melt away -- On dune and headland sinks the fire -- Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget -- lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe -- Such boastings as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law -- Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget -- lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard -- All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word, Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord! Amen.