Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

 My Boy Jack and Memorial Day Weekend, from my archive

Monday, May 27th is Memorial Day here in the United States which celebrates the end of WW I, but now we honor all the fallen of all of our wars.  November 11th is Armistice Day,  which is celebrated (somehow the word celebrated is a misnomer) here as Veterans' Day and in England as Armistice Day.  Originally, November 11 was to commemorate the end of the Civil War in the United States. Other countries also have special days of commemoration. Thank you to Wikipedia for the information.


Poetry is a special love of mine and years ago when I read Rudyard Kiplings poem/lament for his son Jack who was lost in WW I, I was deeply moved. Masterpiece Theater had a dramatization of this sad part of Kipling's life, with Daniel Radcliff playing Jack.
So hard to put into words the sacrifices all our men and women make, but this poem describes the personal tragedy of any war.

                                         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 anyone 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 his was the son you bore,
And gave to the wind blowing and that tide!

                                 by Rudyard Kipling


  1. Hi LoW .. I went to Bateman's late last year to "Put the House to Bed" and wrote two posts about it ... one of which contains pictures of Jack's bedroom, his toys, his school uniform, family tennis racquets ... they're not brilliant - but the house is very evocative ..

    Kipling never changed the room around - it was left as is ... and as now - it is very poignant ... and they were devastated at his loss ...

    Bateman's is an exquisite smallish house with Kipling's things left in tact ... lovely warm stone, with wood panelling, small windows ...

    Both were posted in November ... fairly dark pictures I'm afraid - at that stage I only had the iphone ...

    I loved this poem - it says so so much - John wanted to go to War ... Kipling didn't want him to go - he was too young ... but he went and very soon was killed ...

    Just the right words for this weekend - with thoughts Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary: I am off to your website to find your November post and . . . if we go to England again, Bateman's is on the list. Kipling is a favorite of mine, more so as I get older. And you never, never, never get over the loss of a child. Thank you for your comments as always.

  2. The poem is beautiful, although no words can describe how he must have felt..

    1. So true, Ghadeer. As I said, you never get over the loss of a child, especially, but all those loved ones and the brave ones who go to war. I think that Churchill said, "Old men plan was, young men fight them."

    2. Ah those typos -- "Old men plan wars, young men fight them."

  3. Just beautiful. And so tragic and moving. Not all the casualties were on the battlefield.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Diana. The families left behind fight those wars forever.

  4. I've always loved this poem and I read Hilary's posts about Batemans. Losing a child is a terrible tragedy, it just isn't supposed to happen that way.

    However you spend Memorial Day, I wish you all the best.


  5. Thanks, Jo. It's a quiet one for us and I am gardening, if you could call it that, on a raised wooden garden bed. I did read Hilary's posts on Batemans; I especially liked the one about what it takes to clean and protect all the furniture, books and antiques within.

  6. Beautiful - I can't even imagine. It's always hurt me to see everyone "celebrating" Memorial Day. I have always felt it should be a day spent quietly in remembrance for all who have died for our country.

    Thanks for your comment about my boys performing at Carnegie Hall. It really is the opportunity of a lifetime. Luckily the choral director feels the same way about the Empire State building tour as your grandson does - going up in the building is not on the itinerary ::whew::

  7. Very beautiful. I first read the poem and it didn't hit well, then I watched the video. The delivery was fabulously done. I got chills head to tow.
    Still rounding after a-z

    1. Hi Sandy: Poetry is tricky, has to be read aloud, I think. Kipling's son Jack was determined to enlist in WW I. He had horrible eyesight and could not pass the exam. Finally he memorized the chart and enlisted, but his dad used his influence to get him into the Irish Guards. Jack died in the Battle of Loos.

  8. Hi Martha: Thank you for commiserating with my grandson, and his fear of heights as he went with his school orchestra to New York to play in Carnegie Hall, which was wonderful; the trip up the elevator to the near top of the Empire State Building was not. (This was in response to Martha's blog about Memorial Day and her sons being gone to New York over the weekend to play in Carnegie Hall with their school).

  9. Such a sad poem. War is such a tragic thing, that I'm sort of undecided as to whether its dead should be celebrated at all. Mourned, perhaps.

    1. Mourned is a good word. Mourning for all those lives lost is appropriate.