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Friar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 04:53 PM
Original message
That Kipling poem referenced at buzzflash
I decided to look it up. It's amazing how relevent it is.

Tommy

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!

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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. This Kipling one was quoted a lot when Afghanistan
was in the news.


When you're wounded and left
On Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out,
To cut up your remains,
Just roll on your rifle,
And blow out your brains,
And go to your Gawd
Like a soldier.
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markses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. Completely disagree as to relevance
US military personnel - while certainly disparaged in real policy - are currently deified in the public imagination. Can you imagine a soldier being told by a bartender that this bar doesn't serve soldiers? Absurd.

Perhaps the more relevant Kipling poem is as follows. Draw your own connections:

A PICT SONG
Rudyard Kipling

Rome never looks where she treads.
Always her heavy hooves fall
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on -- that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk -- we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you'll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak --
Rats gnawing cables in two --
Moths making holes in a cloak --
How they must love what they do!
Yes -- and we Little Folk too,
We are busy as they --
Working our works out of view --
Watch, and you'll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know of Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you -- you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Ooooh, now THAT
bites!
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Friar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. that kicks ass
I still think "Tommy" is relevent though. It's not about troops on home ground but on foreign soil and about the way the gummint treats them.

I think I'll be spending some time reading Kipling now. "The Jungle Book" was the first real book I ever read. That was in 2nd grade, believe it or not. My Mom taught me to read when I was not quite four.
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roughsatori Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Yes much more relevant
with a nice sting at the end. Thanks.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. It's relevant
Can you imagine a soldier being told by a bartender that this bar doesn't serve soldiers? Absurd.

That soldier even in uniform probably wouldn't be admitted to some fat-ass rich Repug drinking holes. And if he was out of uniform they'd mistake him for a delivery person or a servant and tell him to use the rear entrance!
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