My Boy Jack (Live at Lode War Memorial)

from by Hayward and Parsons

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lyrics

Rudyard Kipling sent his only son away to war, using his high connections to overturn a decision that his eyesight was a hindrance to front-line combat.

When his only son died, in the mud, gas and metal of the Trenches, Kipling struggled to reconcile his ideas of Empire, Just War and Sacrifice with his feelings of horror. This poem was part of his effort to come to terms with his loss.

We sing it at most war memorials we pass. This one, in Lode, Cambridgeshire, was built in a semi-circular niche, providing incredible natural amplification.

Lyrics:
“O have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“O when do 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!

credits

from To Be A Pilgrim (Songs From The Way To Walsingham), released May 5, 2015
Trad. Arr. Hayward and Parsons

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Hayward and Parsons UK

Hayward and Parsons are singing pilgrims, on a musical quest to bring back pilgrimage to Britain.

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