Rudyard Kipling was an exquisitely talented poet. There are many poems that I could pick out as specially noteworthy, but for me, ‘When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted‘ is one of his best. Here it is:
When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted
When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried, When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died, We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two, Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew. And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair; They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair. They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul; They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all! And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame; And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame, But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!
Kipling’s poem is positive, expectant and hope-filled. He reminds us that when our time on this earth comes to a close, the good shall be rewarded by remaining in God’s presence; peace and contentment will abound. In the words of the mystic Julian of Norwich, “all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
You can also view an excellent animated version of the poem courtesy of youtube: