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The Idiot Boy -- Rudyard Kipling

       
(Poem #962) The Idiot Boy
 He wandered down the moutain grade
   Beyond the speed assigned--
 A youth whom Justice often stayed
   And generally fined.

 He went alone, that none might know
   If he could drive or steer.
 Now he is in the ditch, and Oh!
   The differential gear!
-- Rudyard Kipling
   (from 'The Muse Among the Motors')

Note: A parody of Wordsworth's "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways"

Kipling was, as I have mentioned before, an endlessly versatile poet - a
fact that today's playful parody amply reveals. Like many humorous poems,
"The Idiot Boy" coasts along with an easy facility for most of its length,
saving its impact for the punchline at the end - a technique that when it
works, works well. And work well it certainly did here - the first time I
read the poem I laughed out loud at the unexpected wordplay in the last
line, and it still amuses me every time I think of it. Definitely one of
those lines I wish I'd thought of myself.

martin

Links:

  Kipling Biography: See Poem #17

  "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways": Poem #376

  "Kipling as Motorist": [broken link] http://www.kipling.org.uk/facts_motor1.htm

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