Sitting in Kipling’s bath

6 May
©Calyx Picture Agency Swindon Festival of Literature

©Calyx Mary Hamer at Swindon festival of Literature

If you can keep a shocking story going
    when Kipling is as unfashionable as a punkhawalla in the drawing room,
If you can travel the world in pursuit of your story,
    But maintain a love for your subject;
If you can wait ten years for the novel to come to fruition,
    Or uncover inequality, parental abandonment,
Or light a feminist torch for Kipling’s forgotten sibling,
    And yet don’t moralise, nor impose twenty-first-century morals on the nineteenth:

If you can dream—and take the reader into a very foreign world;
    If you can think—what must Trix have thought?;
If you can relax in Ruddy’s bathtub
    And not feel too guilty;
If you can bear to hear the truth about children
    sent away to strangers,
Or feel their pain as they were separated from each other,
    And weave a story which shows Ruddy getting first chance over his sister :
If you can make Trix take centre stage for the first time
    reveal how each stunted step of her way reduced her to madness ,
And yet return with warmth to Ruddy
    ‘right up there with Shakespeare’ in your view;
If you can inhabit their world
    so alien to us now,
And hold a torch of truth for Kipling and Trix
    to keep their memory alive’
If you can talk of Kipling being part of our language,
    and when the crowd asks,
cite—’the female of the species is more deadly than the male’,
as an example of his ‘phrase-making’,
    If you can keep an audience at the Swindon Arts Centre enthralled;
as the public were once for the merest tidbit of this literary superstar
    then you have proved his relevance,
and your story has been heard,
    And—which is more—you have shared the magic of your Kipling & Trix!

One Response to “Sitting in Kipling’s bath”

  1. amaatk123 6th May 2016 at 3:48 pm #


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