Today is my day to take my 10 year old son to school. I told him his mom left instructions for me to make sure he does his spelling.

“Why?” he said. “The test is four days away.”

“Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die,” sprung from my lips before I could think about it.

“What?” he asked.

“It’s from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade,” I answered.  I looked it up on the Internet and read it to him:

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

We talked about how the cadence sounds like galloping horses. We talked about the Crimean War.

Then he did his spelling.

Tonight I promised him we’d take a look at Gunga Din.