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Dinah in Heaven

Rudyard Kipling 1865 (Mumbai) – 1936 (London)

She did not know that she was dead,
But, when the pang was o'er,
Sat down to wait her Master's tread
Upon the Golden Floor,

With ears full-cock and anxious eye
Impatiently resigned;
But ignorant that Paradise
Did not admit her kind.

Persons with Haloes, Harps, and Wings
Assembled and reproved;
Or talked to her of Heavenly things,
But Dinah never moved.

There was one step along the Stair
That led to Heaven's Gate;
And, till she heard it, her affair
Was--she explained--to wait.

And she explained with flattened ear,
Bared lip and milky tooth--
Storming against Ithuriel's Spear
That only proved her truth!

Sudden--far down the Bridge of Ghosts
That anxious spirits clomb--
She caught that step in all the hosts,
And knew that he had come.

She left them wondering what to do,
But not a doubt had she.
Swifter than her own squeal she flew
Across the Glassy Sea;

Flushing the Cherubs every where,
And skidding as she ran,
She refuged under Peter's Chair
And waited for her man.

. . . . . . .

There spoke a Spirit out of the press,
'Said:--"Have you any here
That saved a fool from drunkenness,
And a coward from his fear?

"That turned a soul from dark to day
When other help was vain;
That snatched it from Wanhope and made
A cur a man again?"

"Enter and look," said Peter then,
And set The Gate ajar.
"If know aught of women and men
I trow she is not far."

"Neither by virtue, speech nor art
Nor hope of grace to win;
But godless innocence of heart
That never heard of sin:

"Neither by beauty nor belief
Nor white example shown.
Something a wanton--more a thief--
But--most of all--mine own."

"Enter and look," said Peter then,
"And send you well to speed;
But, for all that I know of women and men
Your riddle is hard to read."

Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,
Into his arms she flew--
And licked his face from chin to hair
And Peter passed them through!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. more…

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