The Right Coast
August 31, 2004
By Tom Smith
A Right Coast reader and 101st Airborne veteran who served in Vietnam sends in this version of the famous Kipling poem:
(With apologies to Mr. Kipling and the British Army)
Johnny went public with ‘is boasts, an’ ‘ero without fear,
“Til sudden like the Swifties say, “We got a turncoat ‘ere.”
The Libs they just ignored ‘em, sayin’ “Ah, it’s all a lie!”
Then Johnny’s outted by their ads an’ to myself says I:
Oh it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, ‘e’s the ‘ero of the day.
But it’s wait now, Mr. Kerry, what’s that record really say?
The horns are loudly blowin’ boys as our band begins to play,
An’ it’s goodbye, Mr. Kerry, as they blow your arse away.
Johnny goes to Cincinnati sober as a man can be,
An’ they give ol’ George a “Bravo Lad!” but John no sympathy.
They give ‘im plain their message, sittin’ silent in the ‘alls,
That when it comes to fightin’ men, they know oo’s got the balls.
For it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, but wait, he might ‘a lied
From the platform of his campaign train an’ on the Boston tide.
His ship is on the tide, my boys, his ship is on the tide,
An’ it’s plain as day she’s sinkin’ boys, because the turncoat lied.
Yes Johnny mocked our uniforms that guard you while you sleep.
He cheapened all our medals throwing his upon that heap;
An’ rustlin’ up his phony troops, he led them for a bit,
Until his aspirations and theirs no longer fit.
Now it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, an’ Johnny how’s yer soul,
In that brave front rank of ‘eroes as our drums begin their roll?
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
An’ they’ll keep right on a rollin’ boys, ‘til we chuck ‘im in the hole.
We make no claim as ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But ‘onorable men an’ warriors fightin’ once agin for you.
An’ if your ‘ero’s record, our charges soundly taint,
That’s what we’re tryin’ to tell you blokes, your ‘ero ain’t no saint.
For it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, an’ “Check him out, the Loot!”
Was ‘e the “Savior of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot?
Now it’s Johnny’s turn to prove us wrong, an’ make us all out liars,
By signin’ that one eighty form an’ puttin out the fires.
Oh it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, ‘e’s the ‘ero of the day,
But it’s hold on, Mr. Kerry, what’s that record really say?
The horns are loudly blowin’ boys, as our band begins to play,
“Cheerio, Old Man,” to Johnny and blows his arse away.
* * *
We get quite a few veterans as readers of the Right Coast, which pleases me immensely. The poem above, in addition to its political content, does a pretty good job, IMHO, of capturing the sound and feel of Kipling's underrated verse.