Res John Burman

Rookie - 77 Points (27th October 1942 to 'Not Yet! ' / London, Middlesex, England)

Brown-Bread Tommy. - Poem by Res John Burman

Poor Tommy Atkins
In trouble
Running round the square
“Double! ”
Large pack small pack
Bayonet and scabbard
Bullet pouches all
Buckled upon him.
Rifle overhead
At full stretch
Of his puny arms.

Sergeant Ottley
Drill Sergeant
Or as we said
Drill Pig!
The scourge of the innocent!
Fault finder among the faultless!
The only person
In the British Army,
Certified: -
“Unfit for Human Consumption! ”
Pursuing him
With demented shrieks
“Double, double!
Lift that rifle up!
Higher, higher!
Get them knees up!
Higher, higher! ”

Poor Tommy demised.
Run into the ground!
Passed over!
Answered the final question!
Gone for a Burton!
Discharged /Dead!

Poor Tommy
After he’d handed back
His rifle and kit
He was posted
To Heaven.
Saint Peter said
You are welcome here
Because you knew hell
On earth.”

Crafty Tommy
Peeked in the Gates
And shuddered!
Up on the throne
Starched and polished
Chevroned and straight!
“I’m not comin’ in there! ”
Sez Tommy,
“That’s Sergeant Ottley! ”

“No No! ” Saint Peter cried,
“You’ll be alright.
That’s not Ottley,
That’s God!
He just thinks he’s Ottley!

(29th March 2008)

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 7, 2008

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