Skip to comments.Tommy - by Rudyard Kipling (1890)
Posted on 05/26/2014 9:13:22 AM PDT by llevrok
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer, The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here." The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die, I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away"; But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play, The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play, O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be, They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me; They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls, But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls! For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside"; But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide, The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide, O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap; An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit. Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?" But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll, The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll, O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too, But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you; An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints, Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints; While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind", But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind, There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind, O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all: We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace. For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot; An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please; An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
Yes and especially on this Memorial Day.
I read it every Memorial and Veteran’s Day. And get weepy every time.
Sir Roger did a wonderful read. It brings even more life to the words. Thanks for the link!
Nice touch. Thank you.
Unfortunately many high school or college students of today have not heard of Kipling. Nor do they appreciate his works.
Rappers might note the poem has a certain rhythm and flow. Not too bad for an old white British colonialist soldier of a time long past.
And yes, it still rings true today.
“Unfortunately many high school or college students of today have not heard of Kipling”
You would have to have the ability to read first. The local paper three days ago ran an article pointing out that over 500 HS seniors here would not get a diploma because they failed the 10th grade reading exam.
Memorial Day Joyce Kilmer The bugle echoes shrill and sweet, But not of war it sings to-day. The road is rhythmic with the feet Of men-at-arms who come to pray. The roses blossom white and red On tombs where weary soldiers lie; Flags wave above the honored dead And martial music cleaves the sky. Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel, They kept the faith and fought the fight. Through flying lead and crimson steel They plunged for Freedom and the Right. May we, their grateful children, learn Their strength, who lie beneath this sod, Who went through fire and death to earn At last the accolade of God. In shining rank on rank arrayed They march, the legions of the Lord; He is their Captain unafraid, The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.
When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It’s time to stop rambling ‘cause there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli
How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again
Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me
So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away
And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who’ll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Motorhead - 1916
16 years old when I went to the war
To fight for a land fit for heroes
God on my side and a gun in my hand
Chasing my days down to zero
And I marched and I fought and I bled and I died
And I never did get any older
But I knew at the time that a year in the line
Was a long enough life for a soldier
We all volunteered and we wrote down our names
And we added two years to our ages
Eager for life and ahead of the game
Ready for history’s pages
And we brawled and we fought and we whored till we stood
Ten thousand shoulder to shoulder
A thirst for the hun, we were food for the gun
And that’s what you are when you’re soldiers
I heard my friend cry and he sank to his knees
Coughing blood as he screamed for his mother
And I fell by his side and that’s how we died
Clinging like kids to each other
And I lay in the mud and the guts and the blood
And I wept as his body grew colder
And I called for my mother and she never came
Though it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t to blame
The day not half over and ten thousand slain
And now there’s nobody remembers our names
And that’s how it is for a soldier
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Wilfred Owen, 18 March 1893 4 November 1918
He was killed by rifle fire one week before the Armistice. The symptoms are both phosgene and mustard gas. The "green sea" reference is to the green lenses of gas masks. The Latin is from Horace, "Sweet and proper is it to die for one's country."
I still can’t imagine students at high school or college level being unable to read. They are missing the opportunity to educate and better themselves about any subject they choose.
Knowledge is power and one of the ways to obtain knowledge is reading. The more knowledge they have, the more power they have to control their lives.
The public schools do not emphasize the importance of mastering the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills over the social issues of the day. The students willing accept social skills to be the more important because they are being taught “it’s who you know, not what you know”, “we’re diverse, yet all equal regardless of color, race, sex, religion, etc.”, “there are no wrong answers - 2+2 is 5 or whatever if you say so”, and “the government is here to help you if you fail”.
When faced with reality, they realize they have been short changed. By then it is too late for many get an education. They have few choices but to accept crumbs from the government welfare to survive. These are the low information people who vote and support the socialist liberals.
I apoligize for the long response, but it’s hard to stop when I get going.
Do you like Kipling?