Poetry Forum Areas

Introduce Yourself

New to PoetrySoup? Introduce yourself here. Tell us something about yourself.

Looking for a Poem

Can't find a poem you've read before? Looking for a poem for a special person or an occasion? Ask other member for help.

Writing Poetry

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.

High Critique

For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!

How do I...?

Ask PoetrySoup Members how to do something or find something on PoetrySoup.

You have an ad blocker! We understand, but...

PoetrySoup is a small privately owned website. Our means of support comes from advertising revenue. We want to keep PoetrySoup alive, make it better, and keep it free. Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on PoetrySoup. See how to enable ads while keeping your ad blocker active. Also, did you know you can become a PoetrySoup Lifetime Premium Member and block ads forever...while getting many more great features. Take a look! Thank you!
Get Your Premium Membership

Gentlmen-Rankers

by
 To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned,
 To my brethren in their sorrow overseas,
Sings a gentleman of England cleanly bred, machinely crammed,
 And a trooper of the Empress, if you please.
Yea, a trooper of the forces who has run his own six horses, And faith he went the pace and went it blind, And the world was more than kin while he held the ready tin, But to-day the Sergeant's something less than kind.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way, Baa! Baa! Baa! We're little black sheep who've gone astray, Baa--aa--aa! Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree, Damned from here to Eternity, God ha' mercy on such as we, Baa! Yah! Bah! Oh, it's sweet to sweat through stables, sweet to empty kitchen slops, And it's sweet to hear the tales the troopers tell, To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental hops And thrash the cad who says you waltz too well.
Yes, it makes you cock-a-hoop to be "Rider" to your troop, And branded with a blasted worsted spur, When you envy, O how keenly, one poor Tommy being cleanly Who blacks your boots and sometimes calls you "Sir".
If the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep, And all we know most distant and most dear, Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our sleep, Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer? When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters And the horror of our fall is written plain, Every secret, self-revealing on the aching white-washed ceiling, Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from pain? We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth, We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung, And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
God help us, for we knew the worst too young! Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence, Our pride it is to know no spur of pride, And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way, Baa! Baa! Baa! We're little black sheep who've gone astray, Baa--aa--aa! Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree, Damned from here to Eternity, God ha' mercy on such as we, Baa! Yah! Bah!

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - Gentlmen-RankersEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...


Top Rudyard Kipling Poems

Analysis and Comments on Gentlmen-Rankers

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem Gentlmen-Rankers here.