Washington has been abuzz for the past week regarding the succession of Poet Laureate Billy Collins by Fred Kipling, the "Putnamville Poetaster" from Indiana. Kipling, who claims no direct descent from the British jingoist but has profited greatly from having the same last name, is known in rural Putnam Country for his poems chronicling the invasion of Iraq. Local favorites include "The Charge of the White Brigade," "The White Man"s Latest Burden" and "Koo-koo-a-doo, Little Muslim, Who Are You?" The recitation of Kipling"s poems is a favorite activity at White House prayer meetings, according to insiders. Attorney General John Ashcroft is said to have pronounced one of Kipling"s poems a "nativistic masterpiece" and recommended him for the Horst Wessel Medal, the highest honor of the Ashcroft Youth. Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge is said to know Kipling"s complete oeuvre by heart. Mr. Kipling could not be reached for comment.