Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kipling, My Boy Jack

'Have you news of my boy Jack?'
Not this tide.
When d'you think that he'll come back?'
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

'Has any one else had word of him?'
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

'Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?'
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind -
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Kipling' (the verb) is the act of reading, orating or sharing the work of Rudyard Kipling. He isnt regarded as the greatest poet of his generation, and his stylings have largely fallen out of favor among poets and scholars of poetics, which I think is quite the shame. I am an unabashed, and rather fervent, Kipling fan.
I recently watched a British television production called "My Boy Jack", about Kipling and his son, Jack, who died in 1915 while fighting in World War I. The title of the film is taken from the above poem, which was published a few years after Jack's death. Kipling and his wife waited, without relief, for final, official, word or proof of their sons death, and the circumstances there-of. His body was only identified and returned after both of their deaths.

If I am to die as a soldier, a fighter, a man, and particularly if I am to die before my parents, I want someone to read this for me.

1 comment:

Hat said...

There's nothing wrong with Kipling.

And curses if I ever have to read that, but I will.