The Hyaenas

         The Hyaenas by Rudyard Kipling

   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 of 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, have no 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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Posted on January 9, 2011, in Would you like a little KIPLING with that and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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