Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back to the present, for now

I had to be at a sales meeting this morning, and we were lectured and cheerleaded by three different sales persons, exhorting us to sell more auto, life and health policies. Huzzah!

No problem with the motivation; I need to keep my job so I can afford the fun things I have acquired and maintain all of it in working condition. Add the cold weather and my mind began to drift to another place...

Not the Caribbean.

Many years ago, I was at this place in Brunswick, Maine. Actually, we were trucked a few miles past there, I don't really remember.

But I do remember sitting in a small place, about two feet by four feet, freezing, and listening to this poem;

Boots
Rudyard Kipling
INFANTRY COLUMNS

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!

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!

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!


Over and over.

The recorded version is much more descriptive.

Sometimes I feel like one of the Vonnegut characters described in "Slaughterhouse Five". That sales deal was not uncomfortable in any way, I just got bored and unhinged from the present. Boots-boots-boots...

Those that know, know!

6 comments:

Bob said...

Reminds me of Poe's Bells, another poem that is better in concept than in execution.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Thanks, Bob. I will look that one up.

Buck said...

Kipling is good, to say the very least. Were you at SERE school up in Maine? Apropos of nothing... SN2 owns a house in Brunswick and keeps making noises about retiring there.

I don't know jack about SERE school, but I do know from sitting in interminable meetings, bored to tears...

Old Retired Petty Officer said...

Medicine Hat has hell for a basement. I was in school near there from 68 to 71. It was sort of a battle cry for "The Hat"
It was not my first exposure to Kipling. That was the Jungle Book and Riki Tiki Tavi. Dad used to regale me with passages from Gunga Din and being in Canada, Tommy was almost a sacred writing at the time. At least in the land of the Sally Horse and The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

esoren8562 said...

I recall enjoying very similar accommodations in sunny Warner Springs, Ca.(same company, different hotel) I will never get that menacing ear worm out of my head, but I am a fan of Kipling!

Happy New Year and Happy Sailing!

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Hey Erik;
Thanks. Hope you had a chance to see the sailing video from the Bay Area. Some real sailing going on out there!

We shall do some boating as soon as Jacksonville thaws out.