Thursday, January 19, 2017

June Calender writes and shoots

New Years Morning - 2017

"Dawn comes up like thunder ..." wrote Kipling.
Most mornings dawn comes up as I breakfast,
breakfasts are much the same
the dawns are different every day.
Today's dawn valiantly took possession
of the cloudy sky. I do not believe in omens.
An hour later as I write the clouds sit
on a dove-breast soft gray at the horizon
the sun is climbing over the dove's
back and into a clear blue sky.
But I do not believe in omens.
I will not see this as a promise,
I fear for what the year will bring,
not to me personally, I’m OK in many ways.
Thunder rolls after lightening
heard from afar presages storm
approaching our country, wrecking
the good that has begun, bringing
destruction of individual rights
danger to our environment
and turmoil among nations
in the reign of a leader the majority
did not vote for, a leader so unstable
so ignorant and arrogant I fear
his thundering voice brings lightening, hail,
limb tearing wind, torrential rains.
I do not believe in omens,
but I believe in metaphors. Thunder ...
the voice that shouts down an opponent
that spews hatred and fear. The ugly smugness 
on the face in yesterday's news.



  1. Mandalay
    By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea,
    There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
    For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say;
    "Come you back, you British Soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
    Come you back to Mandalay,
    Where the old Flotilla lay;
    Can't you 'ear their paddles clunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
    On the road to Mandalay,
    Where the flyin'-fishes play,
    An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

    'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,
    An' 'er name was Supi-Yaw-Lat jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,
    An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,
    An' wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:
    Bloomin' idol made o' mud--
    Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd--
    Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!
    On the road to Mandalay ...

    When the mist was on the rice-fields an' the sun was droppin' slow,
    She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing "Kulla-la-lo!"
    With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek again my cheek
    We useter watch the steamers an' the hathis pilin' teak.
    Elephants a-piling teak
    In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
    Where the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid to speak!
    On the road to Mandalay ...

    But that's all shove be'ind me -- long ago and fur away,
    An' there ain't no 'buses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay;
    An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
    "If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."
    No! you won't 'eed nothin' else
    But them spicy garlic smells,
    An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;
    On the road to Mandalay ...

    I am sick 'o wastin' leather on these gritty pavin'-stones,
    An' the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
    Tho' I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
    An' they talks a lot o' lovin', but wot do they understand?
    Beefy face an' grubby 'and--
    Law! wot do they understand?
    I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
    On the road to Mandalay . . .

    Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
    Where there ain't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
    For the temple-bells are callin', and it's there that I would be--
    By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
    On the road to Mandalay,
    Where the old Flotilla lay,
    With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
    O the road to Mandalay,
    Where the flyin'-fishes play,
    An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

  2. "Between us, we cover all knowledge; he covers all that can be known and I cover the rest." -- Mark Twain on Rudyard Kipling.

    Kipling was the first English-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1907) and, at 42, the youngest, though he declined the British Poet Laureateship in the 1890s and, on several occasions, a knighthood. His works included the novels "The Jungle Book" (1894) and "Kim" (1901), short stories such as "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888), and the poems "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "Recessional" (1897), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He was a major innovator in the art of the short story; "With the Night Mail" (1905) and "As Easy As A. B. C." (1912), both set in the 21st century, introduced the literary technique known as indirect exposition. His children's books, especially "Just So Stories for Little Children" (1902) became enduring classics; his clarity of style, use of colloquial language, and employment of rhythm and rhyme were considered major innovations in poetry that appealed especially to many younger Soviet poets, and despite the obligatory denunciations of his "fascism" and "imperialism," his works were not banned in the Soviet Union until 1939. He was born in Bombay (Mumbai) and spent much of his youth and early adulthood in India; two his mother's sisters married painters Edward Burne-Jones and Edward Poynter, and another was the mother of Stanley Baldwin, three-time Conservative prime minister. He spent his early school years boarding in England, where he was administratively bullied; he later called his treatment "calculated torture -- religious as well as scientific. Yet it made me give attention to the lies I soon found it necessary to tell: and this, I presume, is the foundation of literary effort."

  3. At 16 he returned to India to become assistant editor of "The Civil and Military Gazette" in Lahore and began his writing career. A colleague later recalled that he "resembled a Dalmatian dog more than a human being, for he was spotted all over with ink in every direction." In 1886 he published his first collection of verse, "Departmental Ditties," and began contributing short stories to his paper; 39 of them appeared between November 1886 and June 1887, and most of them were included in his first prose collection, "Plain Tales from the Hills" (1888) published in Calcutta (Kolkatta) a month after his 22nd birthday. Meanwhile, he was transferred to "The Pioneer" in Allahabad and, as that paper's special correspondent in the western region of Rajputana, he wrote many sketches while publishing six collections of short stories in 1888 alone. Then he returned to England, where he would spend most of the rest of his life (except for a lengthy sojourn in Vermont and frequent travels, especially annual visits to South Africa), and began writing novels as well as short stories and poems, becoming internationally famous. As his fame grew his writing became more politically pointed; his 1902 poem "The Rowers" was the first to adopt "Hun" as an anti-German insult, and his front-page appeal in the "Montreal Daily Star" in 1911 turned Canadian public opinion against the Liberal government that had signed a reciprocity agreement with the US. He claimed that before the English arrival in Ireland the natives were cattle thieves living in savagery and killing each other while "writing dreary poems" about their activities. During World War I he wrote British propaganda and claimed in a 1915 speech that "there are only two divisions in the world...human beings and Germans." When Ramsay MacDonald formed the UK's first Labour government in 1924, Kipling called it "Bolshevism without bullets." When he died in 1936, his ashes were buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.


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