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A poem by Rudyard Kipling

Natural Theology

Title:     Natural Theology
Author: Rudyard Kipling [More Titles by Kipling]


I ate my fill of a whale that died,
And stranded after a month at sea....
There is a pain in my inside.
Why have the Gods afflicted me?
Ow! I am purged till I am a wraith!
Wow! I am sick till I cannot see!
What is the sense of Religion and Faith?
Look how the Gods have afflicted me!


How can the skin of rat or mouse hold
Anything more than a harmless flea?...
The burning plague has taken my household.
Why have my Gods afflicted me?

All my kith and kin are deceased,
Though they were as good as good could be.
I will out and batter the family priest,
Because my Gods have afflicted me.


My privy and well drain into each other
After the custom of Christendie....
Fevers and fluxes are wasting my mother.
Why has the Lord afflicted me?
The Saints are helpless for all I offer--
So are the clergy I used to fee
Henceforward I keep my cash in my coffer,
Because the Lord has afflicted me.


I run eight hundred hens to the acre.
They die by dozens mysteriously....
I am more than doubtful concerning my Maker.
Why has the Lord afflicted me?
What a return for all my endeavour--
Not to mention the L. S. D.!
I am an atheist now and for ever,
Because this God has afflicted me!


Money spent on an Army or Fleet
Is homicidal lunacy....
My son has been killed in the Mons retreat.
Why is the Lord afflicting me?
Why are murder, pillage and arson
And rape allowed by the Deity?
I will write to the _Times_, deriding our parson
Because my God has afflicted me.


We had a kettle, we let it leak;
Our not repairing it made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week....
The bottom is out of the Universe!


This was none of the good Lord's pleasure,
For the Spirit He breathed in Man is free;
But what comes after is measure for measure
And not a God that afflicteth thee.
As was the sowing so the reaping
Is now and evermore shall be.
Thou art delivered to thy own keeping.
Only Thyself hath afflicted thee!

[The end]
Rudyard Kipling's poem: Natural Theology