Kipling's Michigan Twins Today



Underwood had expressed his wish to have a Kipling autograph, and Kipling obliged by sending him a photograph with a set of verses, called "The Michigan Twins," written on the back.

The verses, he said, were "rather ornery doggerel," but it was, he observed, "the first time I ever had to acknowledge twins on the spur of the moment" (Letters, II, 230).

The verses were published in the American Railway Age, 7 March 1896, but were never collected by Kipling. They run thus in the text printed by R.H. Harbord in The Readers' Guide to Rudyard Kipling's Work, VIII, no. 368, where they are misdated March 1889:

"Wise is the child who knows his sire",
The ancient proverb ran,
But wiser far the man who knows
How, where and when his offspring grows-
For who the mischief would suppose
I've sons in Michigan?

Yet am I saved from midnight ills
That warp the soul of man;
They do not make me walk the floor
Nor hammer at the doctor's door -
They deal in wheat and iron ore,
My sons in Michigan.

Oh, tourist in the Pullman car,
(By Cook's or Raymond's plan)
Forgive a parent's partial view -
But, maybe you have children, too,
So let me introduce to you
My sons in Michigan.