Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rudyard Kipling's New Year's Resolutions

This amusing little poem by Rudyard Kipling first appeared in an Indian newspaper on January 1st 1887. It was not published in a collected edition until 2013, thus general readers were unaware of its existence.

Kipling was working for local newspapers in India at the time. He lists his bad habits, typical Victorian vices such as gambling, smoking, and dancing and flirting with young girls, and makes resolutions to give them up - with an exception for each one.

He knows that giving up a bad habit is much easier said than done; he decides to implement the resolutions one yearly step at a time, starting with the decision to stop playing cards for money.

He describes a process that many of us go through when making our own resolutions: we will give up eating sweets – except for chocolate; we will start taking more exercise – once we have got into the habit of eating much less sugar.

Such wisdom is unusual in young men; he was just a few days past his 21st birthday when this poem was published, 130 years ago.

I am resolved – throughout the year
  To lay my vices on the shelf;
A godly, sober course to steer
  And love my neighbours as myself -
Excepting always two or three
  Whom I detest as they hate me.

I am resolved – that whist is low -
  Especially with cards like mine -
It guts a healthy Bank-book – so
  These earthly pleasures I resign,
Except – and here I see no sin -
  When asked by others to “cut in.”

I am resolved – no more to dance
  With ingenues – so help me Venus!
It gives the Chaperone her chance
 For hinting Heaven knows what between us.
The Ballroom and the Altar stand
  Too close in this suspicious land.
But will I (here ten names) abandon?
  No, while I have a leg to stand on!

I am resolved - to sell my horses.
  They cannot stay, they will not go;
They lead me into evil courses
  Wherefore I mean to part with – No!
Cut out that resolution – I'll
  Try Jilt tomorrow on the mile.

I am resolved – to flirt no more,
  It leads to strife and tribulation;
Not that I used to flirt before,
  But as a bar against temptation.
Here I except (cut out the names)
  x perfectly Platonic flames.

I am resolved - to drop my smokes,
  The Trichi has an evil taste.
I cannot buy the brands of Oakes;
  But, lest I take a step in haste,
And so upset my health, I choose a
  “More perfect way” in pipes and Poosa.

I am resolved - that vows like these,
  Though lightly made, are hard to keep;
Wherefore I'll take them by degrees,
  Lest my backslidings make me weep.
One vow a year will see me through;
  And I'll begin with Number Two.

From 100 Poems: Old and New 

I found an image of an old sea-mail envelope on which Kipling has typed the first two and the final verses of his poem. It is full of typing errors. As an example, he has put 'Expecting' instead of 'Excepting' in the first verse! Kipling visited Japan in 1889 and 1892 , so presumably was still working on implementing his resolutions year by year.

Here is Rudyard Kipling with his father circa 1890, just a few years after the poem was published.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Psychic shocks, black clouds and their consequences

Whenever an unpleasant event or painful incident occurs, I look back for a possible cause. As I have described in many other articles, there is often an energy vampire in the case. Being weighed down by a black cloud of bad energy and having had a jarring shock are other frequently-occurring features.

I have remembered a few more incidents; I am recounting these events in the hope of helping people who have had similar experiences but have not made the necessary connections.

I will start with two similar unwelcome encounters.

The first unwelcome person from the past
As I have described in a previous previous article, I fell and shattered my wrist after being in the company of an energy vampire.

People were very kind and helpful while the break was mending: they packed my shopping for me; I got a discount from one man just because my arm was in a sling. Then it all changed.

Friday, December 23, 2016

King George V's Christmas speech

King-Emperor George V made the first ever royal Christmas speech. It was broadcast on the radio to all the peoples of the British Empire on Christmas Day 1932.

For many years, the King could not be persuaded to give a personal message to his Empire on Christmas Day. This was due largely to his belief that he lacked the sophistication and flair of other broadcasters, and as the message would be personal in nature rather than a formal address he could not hide behind formality to combat his fears.

All that changed when, at the suggestion of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, Rudyard Kipling was appointed to write the script. King George respected and admired both of these men, so the reluctant speaker was finally persuaded to deliver his message.