Archive VII
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
-- Rudyard Kipling, 1919

As I Pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Wookies of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall.
And the Wookies that have been shaven, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, and a dull razor would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in razors, lather, or cologne of any kind ,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Wookies of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That the Wookies had shaven their hair of, and that they hadn't gone home

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses: they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Wookies of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, they promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our razors, that the hair on the Wookies would cease.
But when we disarmed they sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Wookies of the Copybook Headings said:'Stick to the furball you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised a hair free Life
(Which started by lathering our neighbor and ended by shaving his wife)\
Till our women had no more stubble and the men lost hair on their face
And the Wookies of the Copybook Headings said:"The Wookies with hair have bad breath."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of razors, there was nowhere our razors could glide,
And the Wookies of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't shave you die."

Then the Wookies of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-shaven wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the hairiest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not smooth that is shaven, and Two and Two make Four --
And the Wookies of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man --
There are only four things certain since Wookie shaving began --
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Razors can burn,
The hair on a Shaven Wookie, if not kept up will return.