Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Poem: My Boy Jack by Rudyard Kipling

“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!


This month has seen not only the 99th anniversary of ANZAC day, but also 100 years since the outbreak of WW1. Given these events, I have chosen a poem by Rudyard Kipling for this post. Kipling lost his own son John (Jack) in September 1915 at the Battle of Loos and while the poem is emotionally driven by that loss, it is also about the generic loss of loved ones in battle. Kipling wrote the poem as a prelude to a story about the Battle of Jutland in 1916, so the "Jack" can also be a reference to sailors (Jack Tars). I like the repetitive questions and use of the words 'tide' and 'wind blowing' in the poem, they echo the ebb and flow of the sea - and life.

For more good poems this week, visit Tuesday Poem.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't met this poem by Kipling before. It's very sad but not self pitying
    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!
    A thanksgiving. Thanks for posting it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Helen. I believe the poem has inspired at least one film on either John Kipling or the Battle of Jutland.

      Delete

Search This Blog

Followers

Follow by Email