– The Sunday Times, 13 November 1988
THE ARCHITECT’S ALPHABET
A was an Architect: B were his Brains,
C was the Chaos he wrought when he used 'em.
D was the dissolute course of his Drains;
F was the End of the people who used 'em.
F were the Fools who allowed him to build
G his Gehennas of brickbats and lime;
H were his Houses, bacteria-filled,
I am the poet who left them in time.
J were his Joists – but they broke with the rats on 'em,
K his Kements (I adhere to this spelling);
L were his Leadings – you couldn’t swing cats on 'em,
M was the mildew that clove to each dwelling.
N was his Notion of saving expense,
O were the Odds it would cost like all Tophet;
P (please insert for the sake of the sense),
Q were his Quantities, P was his Profit.
R were his Roofs which were waterlogged rafts,
S for they Sagged (S is also his Sinks).
T the Tornadoes he told us were draughts,
U were his Usual Unspecified Stinks.
V was the Vengeance I vowed on the head of him,
W for Wrong and Waiting and Waste;
X is King Xerxes (God knows I have need of him!,
Y and a Yataghan wielded with taste)
Z are Zymotic diseases, a host of 'em,
Ambo’s my architect, I have got most of 'em.
– Rudyard Kipling, c. 1897