Welcome to this weekend's entry in our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry - The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling published this poem one hundred years ago in the autumn of 1919. Copybooks are long vanished from British and American classrooms, and both teachers and pupils would today be utterly baffled by them and their purpose. So the title of the poem is now obscure, but the theme is more relevant than ever: the contrast between modish delusions and the hard enduring truths that will inevitably assert themselves. Kipling concludes with what for him is a rather dark threat, yet one that seems more and more probable as the years go by. In this video I discuss the background to the poem and its author, and then give it a go. To watch (or hear) The Gods of the Copybook Headings, please click here and log-in.
If you'd like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find them on our new Sunday Poems home page. As with Tales for Our Time, we're archiving our video poetry in an easy-to-access Netflix-style tile format that we hope makes it the work of moments to prowl around and alight on something that piques your interest, whether Kipling or Keats.
Steyn's Sunday Poem is made possible by members of The Mark Steyn Club. We launched the Steyn Club over two years ago, and in this our third season I'm immensely heartened by all the longtime SteynOnline regulars - from Fargo to Fiji, Madrid to Malaysia, West Virginia to Witless Bay - who've signed up to be a part of it. Membership in The Mark Steyn Club also comes with non-poetic benefits, including:
~Our latest audio adventure Tales for Our Time, and its twenty-nine thrilling predecessors;
~Other audio series on pertinent topics, such as our recent nightly installments of Climate Change: The Facts;
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly;
~Transcript and audio versions of Mark's Mailbox, SteynPosts, and other video content, including today's poem;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~The opportunity to join me and my guests on our annual Mark Steyn Cruise;
~and the chance to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
One other benefit to Club Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you like or dislike this feature, or consider my poem reading a bust, then feel free to comment away below. Please do stay on topic on all our comment threads, because that's the way to keep them focused and readable. With that caution, have at it (in verse, if you wish).