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!"


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Return to the Rudyard Kipling Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Consolations Of Memory

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