15 July 2012

From Epitaphs of the War

Kipling lost his son in World War I. Then he wrote a series of epitaphs, each one scorching.

Here are a few:

 An Only Son 
I have slain none except my mother. She
(Blessing her slayer) died of grief for me.

 Raped and Revenged 
 One used and butchered me: another spied
Me broken -- for which thing an hundred died.
So it was learned among the heathen hosts
How much a freeborn woman's favor costs.

 R.A.F (Aged Eighteen) 
 Laughing through clouds, his milk-teeth still unshed,
Cities and men he smote from overhead.
His deaths delivered, he turned to play,
Childlike, with childish things now put away.

Common Form
If any questions why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

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