Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Unlawful strangers in my homeland

     This poem by Kipling speaks to some of the feelings I have towards those who are unlawfully invading the land of my birth.  All of my folks came here to make better lives for themselves and their descendants.  They all sought to become Americans, to help build a better America, to strengthen America; they all came here legally under the methods of their times.

The Stranger - Rudyard Kipling

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,
    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.
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—
    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,
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
    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.

     Some modern eyes and sensibilities look at Kipling as “racist.”  I find this trend to look at the past without looking at the context of the times to be extremely myopic.


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