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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Gods of the “MARKET PLACE Teachings”

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 2:55pm
The Gods of the “MARKET PLACE Teachings”
by Rudyard Kipling Edited by Chuck McGlawn

[I have done something blasphemous. I have changed some of the wording of Kipling's justly Famous poem, that he entitled “The Gods of the Copybook Heading.” By way of explanation, the poem was written in 1919 England, Kipling chose the phrase Copybook Heading because it represented “conventional wisdom” truisms, and advice to be followed to live a happy life. The phrase “Market Place” carried some negative connotations in “Progressive” England at the end of WWI. Therefore, I have changed “Copybook Heading” to “Market Place Teachings”.

Nothing is lost with this change. And for this audience I think you will appreciate the change.

For purity’s sake go to http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Gods_of_the_Copybook_Headings and read Kipling’s poem as written. In the meantime here is my version which honors the Market Place as the source of “Conventional Wisdom”.

The Gods of the “MARKET PLACE Teachings”

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Copybook Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Market Place Teachings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would 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 the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Copybook Place,
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 of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Copybook 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 the Marketplace Teachings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian 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 the Market Place Teachings 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 the Market Place Teachings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Copybook 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 and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Market Place Teachings 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 that after 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 the Market Place Teachings with terror and slaughter return!

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