“Boots”

When my ex was in SERE school, during POW training, the “enemy” troops made the “prisoners” listen to this recording for days. Supposedly it’s the exact recording…

“There’s no discharge in the war.” Perfect for Halloween, I think.

Boots
Rudyard Kipling
Recited by Taylor Holmes (1915)

We’re foot-slog-slog-slog-sloggin’ over Africa –
Foot-foot-foot-foot-sloggin’ over Africa –
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again!)
There’s no discharge in the war!

Seven-six-eleven-five-nine-an’-twenty mile to-day –
Four-eleven-seventeen-thirty-two the day before –
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again!)
There’s no discharge in the war!

Don’t-don’t-don’t-don’t-look at what’s in front of you.
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again)
Men-men-men-men-men go mad with watchin’ em,
An’ there’s no discharge in the war!

Count-count-count-count-the bullets in the bandoliers.
If-your-eyes-drop-they will get atop o’ you!
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again) –
There’s no discharge in the war!

We-can-stick-out-‘unger, thirst, an’ weariness,
But-not-not-not-not the chronic sight of ’em –
Boot-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again,
An’ there’s no discharge in the war!

‘Taint-so-bad-by-day because o’ company,
But night-brings-long-strings-o’ forty thousand million
Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again.
There’s no discharge in the war!

I-‘ave-marched-six-weeks in ‘Ell an’ certify
It-is-not-fire-devils, dark, or anything,
But boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again,
An’ there’s no discharge in the war!

Try-try-try-try-to think o’ something different –
Oh-my-God-keep-me from goin’ lunatic!
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin’ up an’ down again!)
There’s no discharge in the war!

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One response to ““Boots”

  1. Kipling is a much-neglected poet but actually a fine one, admittedly of a rather right-wing, Edwardian school.

    M
    __________
    Marie Marshall
    author/poet/editor
    Scotland

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