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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Condensed Modified Mercalli Scale

I - V

Delicately suspended objects may swing
Many people do not recognise it
Vibration like passing of truck
At night some awakened
Walls make cracking sound
Disturbance of trees, poles, and other tall objects
Pendulum clocks may stop


Many frightened and run outdoors
Some chimneys broken
Noticed by persons driving motorcars
Fall of columns, monuments, walls
Heavy furniture overturned
Changes in well water
Ground cracked conspicuously


Shifts sand and mud
Water slopped over banks
Broad fissures in ground
Earth slumps
Rails bent greatly
Waves seen on ground
Lines of sight distorted

Found in the 'Modified Mercalli (MM) Intensity Scale', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966.

In a recent post, I quoted the middle stanza of The Condensed Modified Mercalli Scale, a found poem I wrote as part of a small collection of quake poetry with a working title of Felt Intensity. Today, the Central Hawkes Bay towns of Waipukurau and Waipawa experienced a swarm of earthquakes, the biggest of which was 5.2 on the Richter Scale. Little damage has been reported to date. The quakes have prompted me to post the complete Condensed Modified Mercalli Scale.

Visit Tuesday Poem for more poems this week and read TP's special 4th birthday poem, each line written by a different Tuesday Poem Poet without knowing what the other poets had written. The whole poem was knitted together by three editors and the result is fantastic.

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