Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Ubique
 
(Royal Artillery)

THERE is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may—
“You bike,” “you bykwee,” “ubbikwe”—alludin’ to R. A.
It serves ’Orse, Field, an’ Garrison as motto for a crest,
An’ when you’ve found out all it means I’ll tell you ’alf the rest.
 
Ubique means the long-range Krupp be’ind the low-range ’ill—        5
Ubique means you’ll pick it up an’, while you do, stand still.
Ubique means you’ve caught the flash an’ timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners’ ’ash before you’ve loosed a round.
 
Ubique means Blue Fuse, 1 an’ make the ’ole to sink the trail.
Ubique means stand up an’ take the Mauser’s ’alf-mile ’ail.        10
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can ’old.
Ubique means that ’orse’s scream which turns your innards cold!
 
Ubique means “Bank, ’Olborn, Bank—a penny all the way”—
The soothin’, jingle-bump-an’-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means “They’ve caught De Wet, an’ now we sha’n’t be long.”        15
Ubique means “I much regret, the beggar’s goin’ strong!”
 
Ubique means the tearin’ drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an’ lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means the mirage again an’ shellin’ all outdoors.        20
 
Ubique means “Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein”!
Ubique means “Off-load your guns”—at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means “More mounted men. Return all guns to store.”
Ubique means the R. A. M. R. Infantillery Corps!
 
Ubique means that warnin’ grunt the perished linesman knows,        25
When o’er ’is strung an’ sufferin’ front the shrapnel sprays ’is foes;
An’ as their firin’ dies away the ’usky whisper runs
From lips that ’ave n’t drunk all day: “The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!”
 
Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any’ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga’s Poort—from Ninety-Nine till now—        30
By what I’ve ’eard the others tell an’ I in spots ’ave seen,
There’s nothin’ this side ’Eaven or ’Ell Ubique does n’t mean!
 
Note 1. Extreme range. [back]
 
 
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