Monday, November 25, 2013

Kipling's 'Hyaenas' Are Still in Our Midst

After the burial parties leave
  And the baffled kites have fled;
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
  To take account of our dead. 

How he died and why he died
  Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones aside
  And dig till they come to it. 

They are only resolute they shall eat
  That they and their mates may thrive,
And they know that the dead are safer meat
  Than the weakest thing alive. 

(For a goat may butt, and a worm may sting,
  And a child will sometimes stand;
But a poor dead soldier of the King
  Can never lift a hand.) 

They whoop and halloo and scatter the dirt
  Until their tushes white
Take good hold of the Army shirt,
  And tug the corpse to light, 

And the pitiful face is shewn again
  For an instant ere they close;
But it is not discovered to living men –
  Only to God and to those 

Who, being soulless, are free from shame,
  Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man's name –
  That is reserved for his kind.
Benton County Courthouse, Oregon - part of the daily gathering of the cackle (Molly Woodstock)


  1. I used to admire such sentiments as that one on the sign, until I realized what company repeating it would force me to endure.

    1. Within my time, certainly my military career, I haven't crossed an opportunity to take action against our enemies with which I have been in disagreement. I have had little impact on the grand strategy of the country (perhaps a modicum, but that's another story), but I have had some serious doubts about those who are making some of the big decisions at the top or even the middle.

      From your experience, I expect that you likely know that little direct fighting occurs because of personal agreement with foreign policy decisions or Mom's apple pie, but is instead based on your bond with your cohorts. Once having been placed into that position, it is difficult for me to see these things in any other light.

      It is also difficult for me to hear those who take a draught from their bottled piety to speak of the greatest generation, or who thank me for my service (not all by any means, but you recognize the ones I'm speaking of), who felt it beneath their dignity to besmirch their hands with actually doing service for our nation in that very fundamental way.

      I have in-laws who come from a conscientious objector background, based on religious conviction and not tailored to the current news, political bent, or self-regard. Yet they served nonetheless, in sometimes dangerous situations, during World War II. The COs who ran to Canada and elsewhere foul the honor of these people just as much as they do the flag.

      So yes, taking their place with our service is just part of the sacrifice we endure while we serve, along with enduring their smug indifference around us forever afterward.

  2. Thanks again for providing superior material to that found in what we, if we think at all, are embarrassed to call "the press," or, in way too many cases, the "education system."

    1. It's tough to beat Kipling for his ageless view of the world. (And the old vaudeville joke always occurs to me whenever I hear the name:

      "Do you enjoy Kipling?"

      "I don't know. I've never kipled."

    2. Heh. Just FYI, the Texas Scribbler has been hacked and is down. I hope not for good. I have an IT friends looking for a way to bring it back. I feel orphaned

    3. "There but for the grace of God ...", I say with a shudder, for hackers make a major mess of our lives.

      There should be a new constitutional amendment that requires that convicted hackers and identity thieves should be strung up by their thumbs prior to keel-hauling.

      Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side once you're up.

    4. After many hassles by my IT guy, it looks now like it's a billing problem with host Yahoo. He found one hack on it and removed it, but Yahoo seems to have put it behind a closed door. .

  3. I'm still arguing and Yahoo is still ignoring me. I have the ear (and sympathy) of some of their support techs in India, and promises of action to restore the site, but nothing yet. I suspect they have deleted it and have nothing to restore. Thinking about creating a blogspot blog called Yahoo Sux! Wonder how long that would last?


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