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The Expert

Rudyard Kipling 1865 (Mumbai) – 1936 (London)



Youth that trafficked long with Death,
And to second life returns,
Squanders little time or breath
On his fellow--man's concerns.
Earned peace is all he asks
To fulfill his broken tasks.

Yet, if he find war at home
(Waspish and importunate),
He hath means to overcome
Any warrior at his gate;
For the past he buried brings
Back unburiable things--

Nights that he lay out to spy,
Whence and when the raid might start;
Or prepared in secrecy
Sudden blows to break its heart--
All the lore of No-Man's Land
Steels his soul and arms his hand.

So, if conflict vex his life
Where he thought all conflict done,
He, resuming ancient strife,
Springs his mine or trains his gun;
And, in mirth more dread than wrath,
Wipes the nuisance from his path!

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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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