Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"The Gods of Wisdom And Virtue" (Kipling / Whittle)

"The Gods of Wisdom And Virtue" (an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" by Bill Whittle):

As I pass through my reincarnations, in every age I vow
To make my proper prostrations to the gods of the here and the now.
Peering through reverent fingers, I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue I notice always outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us, they showed us each in turn
That water will certainly wet us, as fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in uplift, vision, and breadth of mind,
So we left them to teach the gorillas, while we followed the march of mankind. 

We moved as their Spirits listed, we never knew why or how, 
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Here and the Now;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out to sea,
They denied that wealth could be printed, they denied that lunches were free; 
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Here and the Now who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed, they sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Jurastic Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue said: "If you don't work, you die."

Then the Gods of the Here and Now tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two plus Two make Four
And the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And after all this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of Wisdom and Virtue with terror and slaughter return!

(Mr. Whittle continues:)
"You know, America was home to the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue for most of its existence. If we abandon them further, they will return with terror and slaughter, and yet they’re not cruel Gods, they’re simply Gods of Justice. They are in fact, the Gods of cause and effect. By following their example, the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue have given all of this, all this wealth, all this security, and all this luxury. All they ask of us was a little wisdom, and a little virtue, a little common sense here, a little good behavior over there. But, we’ve been crashing on their couches, and bumming rides from these Gods for a long, long time now, and I really am afraid that the Gods of Wisdom and Virtue have had enough, and now, they want their stuff back."

No comments: