The Recall

(notes by John McGivering)


First published October 5th, 1909 in Actions and Reactions in association with “An Habitation Enforced”. (ORG no 934 p. 5426).

Later collected in

  • Inclusive Verse (1919)
  • Definitive Verse (1940)
  • Sussex Edition Vol. 8 p. 49 and Vol.34 p. 3
  • Burwash Edition Vols 8 and 27
  • Wordsworth Edition Poems of Rudyard Kipling (2001)
  • Cambridge Edition (2013 Ed. Pinney) p. 660

The poem

This poem is linked to the story “An Habitation Enforced” in Actions and Reactions. It closely reflects Kipling’s account of the American couple who settle in Sussex, more or less by accident, and find that the wife’s family comes from there. The land has mysteriously claimed them back. See Alastair Wilson’s detailed notes on the story, including comments on this poem by an early biographer of Kipling, Edward Shanks. See also “A Charm”.

Notes on the Text

[Verse 1]

I am the land of their fathers This is an echo of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau – “Land of my Fathers” – the national anthem of Wales, written by Evan James and his son James James in 1856, which goes to a stirring and popular tune.

[Verse 4]  strangers … sons:   surely an allusion to the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32) [D.H.]


[J McG]

©John McGivering 2017 All rights reserved