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.

In September 1915, Jack Kipling was killed in action after being in France for only three weeks. Jack remained on the list of soldiers "missing believed wounded" for two years. The Kiplings were devastated; the effect of losing another child was incalculable. In 1916, Kipling's Sea Warfare was published, which contained an emotional poem about his son Jack.


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