A Diversity of Creatures, by Rudyard Kipling

The Comforters

Until thy feet have trod the Road
  Advise not wayside folk,
Nor till thy back has borne the Load
  Break in upon the Broke.

Chase not with undesired largesse
  Of sympathy the heart
Which, knowing her own bitterness,
  Presumes to dwell apart.

Employ not that glad hand to raise
  The God-forgotten head
To Heaven, and all the neighbours’ gaze —
  Cover thy mouth instead.

The quivering chin, the bitten lip,
  The cold and sweating brow,
Later may yearn for fellowship —
  Not now, you ass, not now!

Time, not thy ne’er so timely speech,
  Life, not thy views thereon,
Shall furnish or deny to each
  His consolation.

Or, if impelled to interfere,
  Exhort, uplift, advise,
Lend not a base, betraying ear
  To all the victim’s cries.

Only the Lord can understand
  When those first pangs begin,
How much is reflex action and
  How much is really sin.

E’en from good words thyself refrain,
  And tremblingly admit
There is no anodyne for pain
  Except the shock of it.

So, when thine own dark hour shall fall,
  Unchallenged canst thou say:
‘I never worried you at all,
  For God’s sake go away!’

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/k/kipling/rudyard/diversity/chapter10.html

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:38