Between the gum pot
and the shears

Between the gum pot and the shears
The weapons of my grimy trade,
In divers moods and various years
These forty foolish yarns were made.

And some were writ to fill a page
And some—but these are not so many—
To soothe a finely moral rage
And all to turn an honest penny.

And some I gathered from my friends
And some I looted from my foes,
And some—All's fish that Heaven sendsĀ­
Are histories of private woes.

And some are Truth, and some are Lie,
And some exactly half and half,
I've heard some made a woman cry—
I know some made a woman laugh.

I do not view them with delight
And, since I know that you may read 'em,
I'd like to thoroughly rewrite,
Remould, rebuild, retouch, reword 'em.

Would they were worthier. That's too late—
Cracked pictures stand no further stippling.
Forgive the faults.
March '88
To Mrs Hill
From Rudyard Kipling.