My Boy Jack – reading at the Cenotaph

I was honoured to be invited by the Western Front Association to read at the Cenotaph for Armistice Day.

Last year I read In Flanders Fields by John Mc Crae,  this year it was the desperate poem written by Rudyard Kipling on the loss of his only son John, known as Jack.

Jack perished in World War 1 aged 18 years old. He was shot a mere 20 minutes after joining the fighting at the front during the Battle of Loos, with the 2nd Battalion , Irish guards.

All the more harrowing, for Kipling had pulled some strings to enable his severely short sighted child to join the war effort.

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!

Please share, so as to remember the fallen,  and pay tribute to all those who work for peace or continue to risk their lives to protect our civil rights.