Learn More

Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

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!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Do you like this poem?
8 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: red, wind, soldier, food, sometimes, music, sleep, thanks, girl

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Tommy by Rudyard Kipling )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie James Bates (11/28/2008 8:35:00 PM)

    Tommy Atkins is akin to America's GI Joe. He was the generic name for lower rank English soldiers.

    The rest of the poem is self explanitory. Tommy was treated badly. He was turned out of the bars and given the worst seats at the theater. But when the nation was at war..... then he was treated like a hero.

    note: the 'Widow' is Queen Victoria (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. 'My Christmas Prayer' (For all who have .., Linda Winchell
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. A Life-Lesson, James Whitcomb Riley
  10. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe

Poem of the Day

poet James Whitcomb Riley

There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Not A Fairytale, Apolynn Lagaras
  2. let's worship nothing, forever, Mandolyn ...
  3. Keep Patience and Stand, Kumarmani Mahakul
  4. Nothing Seems Right, Andrew Butler
  5. Seventeen Thoughts, A Lifetime, Kewayne Wadley
  6. Strangers Welcome, Kewayne Wadley
  7. What is truth?, Edward Clapham
  8. A Most Happy Holiday, Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  9. Christmas - Christmas, Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  10. Cage, Sarvesh wahie
[Hata Bildir]