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My boy Jack

August 1, 2014

August 2014 sees the beginning of the centennial of World War I.  As it also coincides with our poetry competition and events for National Poetry Day, I thought this an appropriate post:


“My Boy Jack”  by Rudyard Kipling 1915

‘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.

Rudyard and Jack Kipling

Rudyard and Jack Kipling

‘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.


(John “Jack” Kipling was the only son of the British author Rudyard Kipling. He was killed at the Battle of Loos while serving with the British Army during the First World War, a few weeks after his eighteenth birthday. The play was made into a movie in 2007 and Jack was portrayed by actor Daniel Radcliffe).


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