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Limerick-Poems.com
 

A famous from our database of over 100,000 Poems by famous and some not so famous people.

<< A Brilliant Poem by : Rudyard Kipling >>

Bridge-Guard in the Karroo by Rudyard Kipling

Sudden the desert changes,
The raw glare softens and clings,
Till the aching Oudtshoorn ranges
Stand up like the thrones of Kings --

Ramparts of slaughter and peril --
Blazing, amazing, aglow --
'Twixt the sky-line's belting beryl
And the wine-dark flats below.

Royal the pageant closes,
Lit by the last of the sun --
Opal and ash-of-roses,
Cinnamon, umber, and dun.

The twilight svallows the thicket,
The starlight reveals the ridge.
The whistle shrills to the picket --
We are changing guard on the bridge.

(Few, forgotten and lonely,
Where the empty metals shine --
No, not combatants-only
Details guarding the line.)

We slip through the broken panel
Of fence by the ganger's shed;
We drop to the waterless channel
And the lean track overhead;

We stumble on refuse of rations,
The beef and the biscuit-tins;
We take our appointed stations,
And the endless night begins.

We hear the Hottentot herders
As the sheep click past to the fold --
And the click of the restless girders
As the steel contracts in the cold --

Voices of jackals calling
And, loud in the hush between
A morsel of dry earth falling
From the flanks of the scarred ravine.

And the solemn firmament marches,
And the hosts of heaven rise
Framed through the iron arches --
Banded and barred by the ties,

Till we feel the far track humming,
And we see her headlight plain,
And we gather and wait her coming --
The wonderful north-bound train.

(Few, forgotten and lonely,
Where the white car-windows shine --
No, not combatants-only
Details guarding the line.)

Quick, ere the gift escape us!
Out of the darkness we reach
For a handful of week-old papers
And a mouthful of human speech.

And the monstrous heaven rejoices,
And the earth allows again,
Meetings, greetings, and voices
Of women talking with men.

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