The Roman Centurion’s Song – Rudyard Kipling

So after more than 40 years in Canada, the last member of my immediate family living here, my mother. has decided that while her heart remains in this country of her choice, far more important to her in many ways than that of her birth, she will be leaving to rejoin her children and grandchildren, in Europe. I have a complex heritage, but arrived in Canada 43 years ago, but also have deep heritage in Northern England, and my divorced parents divided my time between these continents, during my childhood. I have always strongly identified with the borders of the North of England and Southern Scotland, but also with the feelings of one for whom such a passion in a sense, as the Eastern Canadians would have it, “comes from afar”. Here is a recording of one of my father’s, and my own, favourite poems, of displacement and immigration, of the true power of a sense of belonging to a place in which one may not necessarily have been born, by a poet often accounted by the ignorant to be a racist or bigot. It was recorded at my mother’s place in Eastern Canada, as we have been clearing out her house, in preparation for who knows what… and… was intruded upon by a very particular animal, or several of them. I feel that the sound is wholly appropriate in terms of an echo of the wildness and the kinds of animal sounds which would have been part of the daily life of a Roman NCO of the 3rd or early 4th century, as is the intended voice of this poem. The sentiments herein in some way echo my own.

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