"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, May 26, 2008

Masterpiece: My Boy Jack

Harry Potter is all grown up, and I hardly recognized him now. Daniel Radcliffe starred in a PBS movie based on the story of Rudyard Kipling's son Jack, who lost his life at the age of 18 in World War I.

At the beginning of The Great War, British patriotism was running high, and Rudyard Kipling had a great love for the British Empire. Kipling was afraid that the Germans with their massive army posed a great threat to everything the British had built around the world. He encouraged his son to Jack enlist, even though Jack was severely myopic and almost blind without his glasses. Jack was lost in the first battle in which he fought, the Battle of Loos, and his body was never found, despite Rudyard's desperate searching.

He carried the guilt with him his whole life, that he had sent his son unprepared into battle. He wrote the famous poem, "My Boy Jack" in tribute to his son. I think it could be a tribute to every young man this Memorial Day who has been sent into battle, and continues to be sent into battle, never to return.

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.Nor 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!

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