Limits and Renewals

The Mother’s Son

Rudyard Kipling

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!

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