DINAH IN HEAVEN


by Rudyard Kipling

She did not know that she was dead  
But, when the pang was o'er,  
Sat down to wait her Master's tread  
Upon the Golden Floor,

With ears full-cock and anxious eyes,  
Impatiently resigned;  
But ignorant that Paradise  
Did not admit her kind.

There was one step along the Stair  
That led to Heaven's Gate;  
And, till she heard it, her affair  
Was -- she explained -- to wait.

And she explained with flattened ear,  
Bared lip and milky tooth--  
Storming against Ithuriel's Spear  
That only proved her truth!

Sudden -- far down the Bridge of Ghosts  
That anxious spirits clomb--  
She caught that step in all the hosts,  
And knew that he had come.

She left them wondering what to do,  
But not a doubt had she.  
Swifter than her own squeal she flew  
Across the Glassy Sea;

Flushing the Cherubs everywhere,  
And skidding as she ran,  
She refuged under Peter's Chair  
And waited for her man.

* * * * * *

There spoke a Spirit out of the press,  
'Said: -- "Have you any here  
That saved a fool from drunkenness,  
And a coward from his fear?

"That turned a soul from dark to day  
When other help was vain;  
That snatched it from Wanhope and made  
A cur a man again?"

"Enter and look," said Peter then,  
And set the Gate ajar.  
"If I know aught of women and men  
I trow she is not far."

"Neither by virtue, speech nor art  
Nor hope of grace to win;  
But godless innocence of heart  
That never heard of sin:

"Neither by beauty nor belief  
Nor white example shown.  
Something a wanton -- more a thief --  
But -- most of all -- mine own."

"Enter and look," said Peter then,  
"And send you well to speed;  
But, for all that I know of women and men  
Your riddle is hard to read."

Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,  
Into his arms she flew --  
And licked his face from chin to hair  
And Peter passed them through!


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