Limits and Renewals

The Expert

Rudyard Kipling

YOUTH that trafficked long with Death,
    And to second life returns,
Squanders little time or breath
    On his fellow-man’s concerns.
Earnèd peace is all he asks
To fulfil his broken tasks.

Yet, if he find war at home
    (Waspish and importunate),
He hath means to overcome
    Any warrior at his gate;
For the past he buried brings
Back unburiable things—

Nights that he lay out to spy
    Whence and when the raid might start;
Or prepared in secrecy
    Sudden Things to break its heart—
All the lore of No-Man’s Land
Moves his soul and arms his hand.

So, if conflict vex his life
    Where he thought all conflict done,
He, resuming ancient strife,
    Springs his mine or trains his gun,
And, in mirth more dread than wrath,
Wipes the nuisance from his path!

Limits and Renewals - Contents

Back    |    Words Home    |    Kipling Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback