Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
The Stranger
 
THE STRANGER within my gate,
  He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk—
  I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,        5
  But not the soul behind.
 
The men of my own stock
  They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
  They are used to the lies I tell.        10
And we do not need interpreters
  When we go to buy and sell.
 
The Stranger within my gates,
  He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control—        15
  What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
  Shall repossess his blood.
 
The men of my own stock,
  Bitter bad they may be,        20
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
  And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
  They think of the likes of me.
 
This was my father’s belief        25
  And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf—
  And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
  By bitter bread and wine.        30
 
 
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