ERE the mother’s milk had dried
On my lips, the Brethren came—
Tore me from my nurse’s side,
And bestowed on me a name
Such as ‘Bunny,’ ‘Stinker,’ ‘Podge’;—
But, whatever I should do,
Mine for ever in the Lodge.
Then they taught with palm and toe—
Then I learned with yelps and tears—
All the Armoured Man should know
Through his Seven Secret Years . . .
Last, oppressing as oppressed,
I was loosed to go my ways
With a Totem on my breast
Governing my nights and days—
Ancient and unbribeable,
By the virtue of its Name—
Which, however oft I fell
Lashed me back into The Game.
And the World, that never knew,
Saw no more beneath my chin
Than a patch of rainbow-hue,
Mixed as Life and crude as Sin.