A Lost Poem by Rudyard Kipling

The U.S. Burden

Rudyard Kipling


Take up the U.S. burden –

Send forth the best ye breed –

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve all corporate greed;

To wait in heavy harness

In Kuwait and Kabul,

To transform Arab culture

And send Islam to school.


Take up the U.S. burden –

In patience to abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check Islamic pride;

By opaque speech, not simple,

And never quite made plain,

To seek all corporate profit

And Haliburton’s gain.


Take up the U.S. burden –

The savage wars of oil –

Fill full the maws of tankers

And make the people toil;

And when your goal is nearest

The peace the world has sought,

Watch Banks and Wall Street Folly

Bring all your hope to nought.


Take up the U.S. burden –

No tawdry rule of law,

But drones and Hellfire missiles

Shall hold them all in awe.

The news ye shall not publish,

The facts ye shall not spread,

Go send abroad your living,

And bring them back as dead!


Take up the U.S. burden –

And reap the butcher’s bill:

The blame of those ye batter,

The hate of those ye kill –

The cry of hosts ye shepherd

Unto the western light: –

“Why brought ye us from bondage,

Our loved Islamic night?”


Take up the U.S. burden –

And dare to stoop to less –

And call again on Freedom

To cloak your greediness;

By all ye cry or whisper,

By all ye leave or do,

The peoples of the planet

Shall weigh your God and you.


Take up the U.S. burden –

Have done with truthful days –

The worldwide admiration,

The European praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through these new fascist years,

Hard-edged with higher wisdom,

The judgment of your peers!

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