The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106200 Message #2192416
Posted By: The Walrus
12-Nov-07 - 09:38 PM
Thread Name: Anyone watching My Son Jack?
Subject: Lyr Add: THE CHILDREN (Rudyard Kipling)
I agree that it was a fascinating piece (one or two errors in the kit and sets, but they didn't detract from the power of the piece).
I knew John Kipling had died at Loos and had no known grave (I believe he was found sometime in the '80s, although there is still some doubt expressed over the identification), and I was aware that the Kiplings spent much time tring to locate, first him then his grave, but this play brought home the point.
I think I'll be looking to buy the DVD.
I bitterness felt can be seen in some of the Epitaphs RK wrote.
If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.
The Children - 1917
THESE were our children who died for our lands: they were dear in our sight.
We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter.
The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, not another's hereafter.
Neither the Alien nor Priest shall decide on it. That is our right.
But who shall return us the children ?
At the hour the Barbarian chose to disclose his pretences,
And raged against Man, they engaged, on the breasts that they bared for us,
The first felon-stroke of the sword he had long-time prepared for us—
Their bodies were all our defense while we wrought our defenses.
They bought us anew with their blood, forbearing to blame us,
Those hours which we had not made good when the judgment o'ercame us.
They believed us and perished for it. Our statecraft, our learning
Delivered them bound to the Pit and alive to the burning
Whither they mirthfully hastened as jostling for honour—
Not since her birth has our Earth seen such worth loosed upon her.
Nor was their agony brief, or once only imposed on them.
The wounded, the war-spent, the sick received no exemption
Being cured they returned and endured and achieved our redemption,
Hopeless themselves of relief, till Death, marvelling, closed on them.
That flesh we had nursed from the first in all cleanness was given
To corruption unveiled and assailed by the malice of Heaven—
By the heart-shaking jests of Decay where it lolled on the wires—
To be blanched or gay-painted by fumes—to be cindered by fires—
To be senselessly tossed and retossed in stale mutilation
From crater to crater. For this we shall take expiation.
But who shall return us our children ?