If you've missed a previous chapter in this story, 90-year-old mama kitteh is dying. She's got a broken hip, is bedridden, practically blind, needs oxygen and a feeding tube and is partially demented. In her demented thrashing about the other night, she ripped out her feeding tube. That's actually a good thing as it will accelerate the process and she is that much closer to joining her husband of 68 years, my father, who died about two years ago. She misses him tremendously and I'm sure he misses her as well.
On with the show.
Sitting with mama kitteh while she has drifted through morphine dreamland, I came across a collection of Kipling stories on her bookshelves. I've always been a fan, but considered him not quite as good as Charles Dickens, who I felt was the greatest writer of all time. I was wrong. Kipling is simply unmatched. His writing is a hybrid of poetry and prose, condensing oceans of information into single paragraphs. Consider this from a short story that you've never heard of before, Only A Subaltern.
Papa Wick had been a Commissioner in his day, holding authority over three millions of men in the Chota-Buldana Division, building great works for the good of the land, and doing his best to make two blades of grass grow where there was but one before. Of course, nobody knew anything about this in the little English village where he was just ‘old Mr. Wick,’ and had forgotten that he was a Companion of the Order of the Star of India.In a single paragraph, Kipling gives you a rich sketch of Papa Wick's life, his personality, his place in the world and the way the world used and rewarded him. Your imagination can fill in stories from his life with ease. That paragraph simply blew my mind. It's pure genius. It's so good that it filled me with excitement and I've read it over and over in awe.
I was indeed wrong. Dickens is fabulous, make no mistake. But then there's Kipling and as far as I've read, there's none better.
|All I can say is, "Dude."|