Thursday, December 24, 2015

More Celebrating of Christmas Rituals...

Dim dawn behind the tamerisks -- the sky is saffron-yellow --
As the women in the village grind the corn,
And the parrots seek the riverside, each calling to his fellow
That the Day, the staring Easter Day is born.
Oh the white dust on the highway! Oh the stenches in the byway!
Oh the clammy fog that hovers
And at Home they're making merry 'neath the white and scarlet berry --
What part have India's exiles in their mirth?

Full day begind the tamarisks -- the sky is blue and staring --
As the cattle crawl afield beneath the yoke,
And they bear One o'er the field-path, who is past all hope or caring,
To the ghat below the curling wreaths of smoke.
Call on Rama, going slowly, as ye bear a brother lowly --
Call on Rama -- he may hear, perhaps, your voice!
With our hymn-books and our psalters we appeal to other altars,
And to-day we bid "good Christian men rejoice!"

High noon behind the tamarisks -- the sun is hot above us --
As at Home the Christmas Day is breaking wan.
They will drink our healths at dinner -- those who tell us how they love us,
And forget us till another year be gone!
Oh the toil that knows no breaking! Oh the Heimweh, ceaseless, aching!
Oh the black dividing Sea and alien Plain!
Youth was cheap -- wherefore we sold it.
Gold was good -- we hoped to hold it,
And to-day we know the fulness of our gain.

Grey dusk behind the tamarisks -- the parrots fly together --
As the sun is sinking slowly over Home;
And his last ray seems to mock us shackled in a lifelong tether.
That drags us back how'er so far we roam.
Hard her service, poor her payment -- she is ancient, tattered raiment --
India, she the grim Stepmother of our kind.
If a year of life be lent her, if her temple's shrine we enter,
The door is shut -- we may not look behind.

Black night behind the tamarisks -- the owls begin their chorus --
As the conches from the temple scream and bray.
With the fruitless years behind us, and the hopeless years before us,
Let us honor, O my brother, Christmas Day!
Call a truce, then, to our labors -- let us feast with friends and neighbors,
And be merry as the custom of our caste;
For if "faint and forced the laughter," and if sadness follow after,
We are richer by one mocking Christmas past.
Rudyard Kipling, "Christmas in India"

6 comments:

WomanHonorThyself said...

hey FJ! • ★ Merry ★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★ Christmas 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚| 田田 |門| ˚And a Happy New Year
* Joy to all! ♫•*¨* Peace on Earth ♪♫•*¨*

-FJ said...

Wow! That is cool, Angel! Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

FreeThinke said...

On earth has dawned this day of days;
Let all good people sing its praise.
Sing Alleluia one and all,
In every nation, every hall.


~ Olde Sheepshead Bay Acolyte's Carol

FreeThinke said...

Kipling’s surprisingly Romantic, elegiac poem might be easier to understand if the following words were clearly defined:

Tamarisk - An Old World shrub or small tree with tiny scalelike leaves borne on slender branches, giving it a feathery appearance - having racemes of small pinkish flowers and usually growing in saline soil. Also called salt cedar.begind (?)

Ghat - In south Asia a flight of steps leading down to a river - also a mountain pass or a place of cremation.

Heimweh - German for homesickness

This is certainly one of Kipling’s most colorful, fanciful, more lyric poems. It is unusually introspective, deeply personal and appears tinged with uncharacteristic melancholy, bitterness and regret. He must have been feeling a good deal of Weltschmerz (German for world-weariness) to use the poetic German “Heimweh.”

The rhyme scheme and rhythmic pattern is remarkably similar rhythm to Poe’s The Raven, published in 1845. Since this Kipling opus wasn’t seen till 1886, once wonders if the imitation of Poe was unconscious, deliberate or merely coincidental?

Odd how Kipling breaks the formal pattern early by failing to rhyme “hovers.” He might have worked in covers, lovers, glovers, plovers, etc. Instead he uses “mirth.” An extraordinary departure for the Edwardian Age, especially for Rudyard Kipling.

FreeThinke said...

Thank you for this discovery Framer. I thought I knew Kipling pretty well, but was not familiar with this.

For some odd reason it reminds me of some of the landscape paintings by Van Gogh, and the South Sea island work of Gaugin. I can't think why, since neither of those have any direct connection to India. I think it must be the similarities in light and color imagery in all three. Or it might onlt be a misperception on my part –– always a possibility.

Anyway, it's a very good piece of work, if only because it raises more questions than it answers.

Enjoy this, The Second Day of Christmas, 2015.

Thersites said...

No thanks needed. Embrace the serendipity! ;)