Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picture Stamps and My Boy Jack

It isn't something I think about much, but I really like picture stamps and always ask for them when I buy stamps at the Post Office. I think I like them because they tell a little story in themselves, and they're much more colourful and interesting than the bog standard Queen's head stamps.

This year I'm trying to be ahead of myself with the whole Christmas thing (presents, cards) and so in October I looked on the Royal Mail website to see when this year's Christmas stamps were being issued (Nov 6th), and put a note in my diary to buy them. Last year we had snowmen, this year it's some kind of angel with 'peace' written across it in a banner. I like both, though I prefer the snowman.

I also really liked the Harry Potter stamps and bought a full set and also the war stamps. I used them all except these two, which I realise I'm keeping.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite Harry Potter book. I kept the stamp depicting the 'Observer Royal Field Artillery 1917' because lately I'm more interested in the 1st World War, partly because of programmes like Who Do You Think You Are, and because I believe my papa fought in Palestine in the 1st World War (I really must find out more about that), and because I like the 1st World War poets.

I watched My Boy Jack on Remembrance Sunday, a drama about Rudyard Kipling's son Jack. I knew the story already but thought the drama was really well done and even Daniel Radcliffe was understated and pitched it just right. At the end of the programme the actor playing Rudyard Kipling spoke the poem 'My Boy Jack' and it was heartrending and so powerful.

My Boy Jack (1916)

'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 anyone 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!

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