(Poem #1685) Quiquern (Chapter Heading)
The People of the Eastern Ice, they are melting like the snow -- They beg for coffee and sugar; they go where the white men go. The People of the Western Ice, they learn to steal and fight; They sell their furs to the trading-post; they sell their souls to the white. The People of the Southern Ice, they trade with the whaler's crew; Their women have many ribbons, but their tents are torn and few. But the People of the Elder Ice, beyond the white man's ken -- Their spears are made of the narwhal-horn, and they are the last of the Men!
Note: From the Second Jungle Book Kipling's Jungle Books are famous, and deservedly so. Stories of Mowgli and his friends have enthralled generations of children, and are usually what people think of when they think of the books - but Kipling also included several other stories in the two books, at least one of which (Rikki Tikki Tavi) has achieved a fame rivalling the "main" stories, and several others of which foreshadowed later masterpieces like "Puck of Pook's Hill" and "Kim". When rereading the books, one of the things that always stands out is the sheer brilliance of the chapter headings. They work very well as stand-alone poems (indeed, we've run several here on Minstrels), but to truly appreciate Kipling's work, I'd strongly advise putting aside a couple of evenings and reading the Jungle Books through at a stretch - the interplay of story and verse is wonderfully immersive. (That said, I'll admit that Quiquern was one of the rare instances where the poem was a lot more memorable than the story.) Incidentally, has anyone else done something similar, by way of chapter headings? Several authors have embedded verse within their stories (Tolkien is a notable example, as is Carroll), but right now I can't think of anyone who's done it in quite the way Kipling has. martin Links: The Jungle Books are freely available online; here's today's story: http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/sid.3/bookid.2742/sec.11/ All the chapter heading verses: http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/jungle_books.html