Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Rebirth
 
1914–18

          IF any God should say
            “I will restore
          The world her yesterday
            Whole as before
My Judgment blasted it”—who would not lift        5
Heart, eye, and hand in passion o’er the gift?
 
          If any God should will
            To wipe from mind
          The memory of this ill
            Which is mankind        10
In soul and substance now—who would not bless
Even to tears His loving-tenderness?
 
          If any God should give
            Us leave to fly
          These present deaths we live,        15
            And safely die
In those lost lives we lived ere we were born—
What man but would not laugh the excuse to scorn?
 
          For we are what we are—
            So broke to blood        20
          And the strict works of war—
            So long subdued
To sacrifice, that threadbare Death commands
Hardly observance at our busier hands.
 
          Yet we were what we were,        25
            And, fashioned so,
          It pleases us to stare
            At the far show
Of unbelievable years and shapes that flit,
In our own likeness, on the edge of it.        30
 
 
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