Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kipling On Tigers - Reprise

A friend shared this Polish group called MozART and in looking around I saw Bobby McFerrin did something with them and so I am sharing this joy with you now. Oh My God. Bobby is just about the nicest musician on the planet with a heart as big as Alaska and as warm as the tropics. He also has a vocal range rarely surpassed by anyone. His work does not take place on the popular front, though he did have a hit in "Don't Worry, Be Happy". You can see on this vid how easy he is on stage and at home in all forms of music.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author Henry James said of him: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known."

(I read a book a while ago, The Life Of Pi, a story about a boy who was on an ocean voyage with his family and the zoo that was their business. When the ship goes down he survives by finding a lifeboat and unfortunately there is a zebra, an orangutan...and a tiger. He learns what he needs to and survives the tiger. Then the story takes a turn. Read it if you don't know it. It is quite fun and very strange.)

Kipling On Tigers

Kipling spoke to me,
Showed me the tiger's new lair
And where his tracks went.

He told me Bengals swim, drink
Brackish water when they must.

Never, he said, no,
Do not ever look him square
In his golden eyes.

December 30, 2008 2:59 PM
First post, May 1, 2009


  1. Most people think it was a semitrude tale except that the boy substituted animals as characters, that in real life were people (according to the quolo quiem)

    the brightest mind in my immediate family is of the opinion that, the characters he describes as animals in the first account he shares, really were animals. It's just that the young man doesn't walk a straight line in regards to the line that distinguishes between sane crazy and crazy insane.

    in regards to literature titled "Life of Pi"

    completely unrelated to your post, but a fact I feel I should point out, is that I possess a certificate from the State of Oregon Penitentiary Department of Mental Health which does not expire until October 13, 2015 that declares me (by first, middle and last name) as absolutely positively "Sane"

  2. I wouldn't believe everything I read :D

    In re Pi, I believe both endings. I doubt any insanity. Sanity is a massive thing, involving whole cities and never can be measured in solitude without serious involvement of an "uncertainty principle". The term does not apply to a tiny group in the middle of an ocean. That's just nuts. :D

  3. life of pi is a great book. this is a wonderful poem! you have managed to weave the textures of kipling and pi... how nice!

    also loved the musical interlude; delightful.

  4. I especially like how the presence of fiction in poetry is highlighted by this poem. It is obvious (1) that it never happened and (2) something like it nevertheless could have.

    That should be a lesson to all you people out there who want to make every poem a direct statement of personal poetic soul - a poem may be exactly that even when the person revealed is a fiction :D

  5. I visit Rudyard Kipling's home while I was in England once. A wise man who had central heating installed in his home long before it became commonplace. Even now my cousin has a coal fireplace with which they heat the house.

    The Life of Pi, loved it, either way.

  6. Life of Pi was a splendid book. As this was a splendid poem; but I can't say that I would trust all of Kipling's wisdoms.

  7. Kipling was a happy apologist for British imperialism. I think too, that lies behind Henry Jame's quote about him. Kipling was possessed of a daemon but he was not wise.

    However, I would certainly trust Kipling on having a stare down with a tiger!


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