Kipling and Shell-Shock: The Healing Community

Here are some images and references relevant to my paper at the Canterbury Kipling conference on Friday:



2. My Mother’s Son

I have a dream—a dreadful dream—
A dream that is never done,
I watch a man go out of his mind,
And he is My Mother’s Son.

They pushed him into a Mental Home,
And that is like the grave
For they do not let you sleep upstairs,
And you’re not allowed to shave.

And it was not disease or crime
Which got him landed there,
But because They laid on My Mother’s Son
More than a man could bear.

What with noise, and fear of death,
Waking, and wounds and cold,
They filled the Cup for My Mother’s Son
Fuller than it could hold.

They broke his body and his mind
And yet They made him live,
And They asked more of My Mother’s Son
Than any man could give.

For, just because he had not died
Nor been discharged nor sick
They dragged it out with My Mother’s Son
Longer than he could stick. . . .

And no one knows when he’ll get well—
So, there he’ll have to be
And, ’spite of the beard in the looking-glass,
I know that man is me!

from Limits and Renewals










Kipling’s imagined Lodge is:

“…a set of social ideals based on male self-sufficiency, shared knowledge and comradeship, where special jargon and rituals not only confer power – the power of a secret mastered and shared – but imply unity and sense, a world that makes sense, obeys rules, and protects those inside it.”
Kathryn Sutherland Jane Austen’s Textual Lives: From Aeschylus to Bollywood Oxford 2005.p.20

6.The text of Mary’s Meadow can be found at


Mary's Meadow - Juliana Horatia Ewing



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