Thursday, 11 November 2010


from wikipedia

The First Two Minute Silence in London (11 November 1919) was reported in the Manchester Guardian on 12 November 1919:
The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect. The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition. Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of 'attention'. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still ... The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain ... And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.[18]

Now, of course, lest we impede Growth, Remembrance Day  is celebrated on a Sunday,  a 'photo opportunity for the filth to posture, as they send more youth to die in some bandit cause, an opportunity for some ghastly Dimblebore or Lardman Boulton to feign solemnity, to hitch their pisspoor diction to a slow, martial beat.  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month simply too precious to the Economy-Stupid,  think of the money we'd lose, if everyone stopped for two minutes' reflection;  think how angry folks might become, in schools and workplaces,  about the Blair-Bush Wars......Best have a bit of a do. On the weekend.

I wrote this last year, Kipling's not the only poet I know, some of my best friends, if I had any, would be poets.  I say I wrote it but maybe I just, what's the word, channeled it, wrote it straight down without a correction, I like it better this year, it rolls along with an unstoppable venom, who knows where it came from, the shitegeist, maybe.  And given the rubbish that will be published along these lines, I make no apologies for posting it again.  The names and faces have changed, even though it's the same old names and faces, spouting the same old cant, just playing musical chairs, with the quick and the dead.

It is now  the eleventh day of the eleventh month; if you are visiting here,  maybe summonsed by a cyber prompt, maybe just wandering, spare a moment or two.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


Oh they're wearing fancy poppies, as they're lined-up in the Mall
But they're no-good, thieving bastards, rotten cowards one and all
Rotten cowards one and all,  lads, rotten cowards one and all
And they're wearing solemn faces, as they're standing in the Mall.

And you'd think that they was 'oly, with their kissers all turned down
And a look so bleedin' pious you'd think the angels 'ad come down,
the angels 'ad come down, me lads, the angels 'ad come down
And blessed 'em all, for bein' such a sorry bunch of clowns.
A sorry bunch of clowns me lads, all standin' in a row.
Got-up like tailors' dummies, the lowest of the low.

They do this once a year, me lads, the flags and all the tears
But we live with their rottenness, for years and bloody years.

Was the improvised explosive, done the damage to the lads
And they might have fared right better had they been in armoured cabs,
But they never spent the money, so the lads all 'ad it rough
While Bobby Bleedin' Ainsworth, 'ad is nose stuck in the trough,
'is nose stuck in the trough, me lads, 'is nose stuck in the trough.
'E 'ad 'is fingers in our pockets, an' 'is nose stuck in the trough.

Some is living in an 'ostel, some is livin' on the street
There's some 'as got no ears, no eyes, and some 'as got no feet.
And some 'as got no feet me lads, and some 'as got no feet.
Oh, it's hard to go a-marching, when you hasn't got no feet.

And some 'as melted faces, make the children look away,
Make their wives and girlfriends shudder, though they'd never like to say
That there's worser things than dyin', like comin 'ome this way.
They can do wonders, now, with plastic
Or so the doctors say.

And some is off on jailhouse leave, and can't be here today,
The Judge, y'see, he banged 'im up for ever and a day.
'E banged 'im up for fightin; but that's what soldiers do
And when he's got no war to fight, 'e 'as trouble getting through
Trouble getting' through, me lads, when all the shootin' stops 
And no-one wants to know 'im, just the prisons and the cops
The prisons and the cops, me lads, stick in a soldier's craw
Cos those what sent 'im killin' is far beyond the law.

If I but stole a fiver, now, from comrade next to me
I'd be on charges, sharpish, there, for everyone to see
They'll never get their collars felt, however much they steal
It's like that Alan Duncan said, a splendid fucking deal.
They write the rules, then break 'em, say they didn't understand.
They're shitting in our faces, up an down the bleedin' land
Shittin' in our faces, just as hard as e'er they can.

Pissin' in our pockets and spitting in our eyes
And travellin' on the gravytrain to the house of bleedin' lies.
An Armistice, all of their own, and no-one got no blame
They just paid a few shillings back and carried on the same.
Carried on the same, me lads, for now and evermore
Stuffed like pigs and drunk with power, while we go off to war.

The members and right honourables know only how to lie
And cheat and steal and fornicate, whilst we march off to die
In some benighted wogland, some jungle, veldt or bush
Or in the hills and mountains of the Hindu bleedin' Kush
The Hindu bleedin' Kush, me lads, you'd think they'd understand
That the killing fields of Afghannystan are No Man's Bleedin' Land.
No Man's Bleedin' Land, me boys, and it was ever thus
They shoot from caves and run away, in the Hindu bleedin Kush.

There's Charlie in 'is medals, heir to the bleedin' throne,
The one what we're out fightin' for, while he's sitting safe at home.
E'll 'ave yer Mrs, like as not, you give 'im 'alf a chance
He just takes what he wants, you see, it only takes a glance
For he is true nobility, the country's pride and joy
Whilst we are noble savages, cannon fodder to deploy.
They'll send us up to fiery death, and out in unsafe trucks
And when we're blown to Kingdom Come, why, no-one gives a fuck.

But when we come in sixes, with coffins draped in flags
They look a bit embarrassed, like, they're just a bunch of slags
Just a bunch of slags, me lads, all standin' ramrod straight
They'll smile and say So sorry, just a simple twist of fate
I would have gone myself, you know, but I'm important here,
We also serve, we lousy pricks, who only stand and wait.

You can put your bleedin' poppies where the Sun don't never shine
For hypocrisy's your only creed, you ain't no friend of mine
You ain't no friend of no-one's, if the truth was only told
To the boys you send to bleed and die and never to grow old.
It wouldn't do for your sons, all to the manner born
To die alone in foreign fields, forgotten and forlorn
To die alone in foreign fields, forgotten and forlorn
That's the stuff for me and mine, our bodies ripped and torn.

So you can put your bleedin' poppies where the monkey put his nuts
The only thing we've seen from you is cuts and bleedin' cuts'
And some ain't got no bullets and some ain't got no boots
And some are boys of seventeen, just bleedin' young recruits
Bleeding young recruits, me lads, all blown to smithereens,
They never saw their twenty-first, they never left their teens.

See, they're only paper flowers and you're only paper men
And if the call to valour came you'd cut and run again.
But paper flowers, that's the thing, to show you are sincere
And shiny shoes an' overcoats, that's why you're standin' ere.
We're soldiers of the Queen me lads, and not this sorry bunch
Who steal their houses, dodge their tax and steal their bleedin' lunch
They're one step down from parasite, a squalid learning curve
Lets hope before they meet their end, they get what they deserve.

Oh they're wearing fancy poppies, as they're lined-up in the Mall
But they're no-good, thieving bastards, rotten cowards one and all
Rotten cowards one and all, lads, rotten cowards one and all
And they're wearing solemn faces, as they're standing in the Mall.


Mike said...

Mr I. Just returned from my local RSL (in Sydney) after 11am (11th of the 11th). Passed the local school and the kids were parading and the flag was being lowered.

Remember a few years back in Martinborough (just north of Wellington, NZ) a stirring dawn service. The whole town marched to the memorial, school kids and scouts/guides in smart uniforms, moving speech by the vicar, robust rendering of God Save The Queen.

The fallen are remembered respectfully in the colonies, I assure you.

Anonymous said...

Very moving, Mr Ishmael. I missed it last time, so I'm glad you posted it again.

jgm2 said...

See if you can spot the deliberate error in this BBC explanation about the 'Unknown Soldier'

On the morning of 11 November 1920 - four years to the day after the war had ended, the body of the unknown warrior was drawn in a procession through London to the Cenotaph. This new war memorial on Whitehall was then unveiled by George V.

PT Barnum said...

Kipling would be honoured to be associated with such verses. And I am deeply moved by having read them.

Woman on a Raft said...

The time has come that politicians are not allowed the oxygen of publicity. They can stand at the back while wreaths are laid exclusively by those who either served or served with the fallen.

I went down to the market square today and it was all done respectably; a priest saying words for the religiously inclined then the Kohima inscription from a secular representative; he obviously personally engaged and affected. The church bell, the silence, the gun, the trumpeter.

Having these public figures is just a distraction; they try to hijack the unknown-ness of the unknown soldier.

Dick the Prick said...

It is sobering but am just watching the Nazis - a warning from history on TeeVee and fuck me sideways genocide's a different fucking ballgame. I guess the Great War is the most mental thing Brits can get their heads round - certainly I have struggles with going a bit mental wondering why it didn't just fucking stop about 4 months in when it must have been blatantly obvious it was a fuck up.

But this Iraq & Afghani thing seems like good fun if you like that kinda thing. I guess there may be a link between that bribe ridden, toxic, tribal, narco, oil patriachial theatres of conflict and terrorism. Columbia, Peru, Mexico etc make a fucking fortune out of coke so God alone knows the numbers coming out of smack & oil. I guess it's fair that the Saudi prop up their back yard and some lads volunteer to keep the cars going and the Scoucers smacked out of their tits. There's money in them there hills.

But WW2 is a whole fucking new genocidal pit of putrid flesh decaying in pits filled by their fellow prisoners. Perhaps because we had to defend much more than advance in WW2 our tactics never really could give a shit about prisoners of war but Blighty can absolve itself from mechanized and wholesale genocide. China, Russia, Germany, Japan, Rwanda, Mozambique - I dunno, is there some vague valour in having the modern history that we've had?

When the tools were available which we fucking invented, when the tools were available we didn't shoot everything in sight or herd people up & shoot em. Or rape fuck out of 'em. No, instead we stood in a fucking ditch in a muddy field and got mustard lobbed over! Fucking Germans.

My best mate's half German and his nob of a brother just moved out 2 months back - lot more relaxed!

Cheers Mr Ish. Rudyard Kippling lost his lad! One huge fuck up - start to fucking finish.

call me ishmael said...

I know that series, mr DTP, and it just leaves the viewer feeling powerless and in awe, really, of the production. I think it's not actually very useful.

The Germans did it, most of them must have known about it, most of them voted for the Nazis. Laurence Olivier or some other luvvie droning pretentioulsy over images of bulldozed corpses, well, it just makes showbusiness of the whole nightmare. Darling, was I really good in that Holocaust show?

I would have dismantled the state of Germany completely and absorbed it entirely into its neighbours, banned the language, the culture and shot anyone who tried to foment German nationalism. Up against the wall, motherfuckers.

But then, you know me, just a romantic.

As to vague valour in modern history, yes, I think that we were seen as the good guys, blitzed but unbowed and with relatively clean hands, alone and defiant against monsterism; the saviours, in a sense, of this civilisation, such as it is. And then along came Tony and Imelda. And now we are filth.

call me ishmael said...

More than a distraction, mrs woar, you are too kind to them. Woe unto them.

call me ishmael said...

Rithmetic, eh, they don't do it at the BBC, mr jgm2. Who cares about stuff like that in the modern multi-platform media portal which is the Corporation?

Dick the Prick said...

Not at all being a BBC apologist but the In our Time programme Lord Melvyn of Bragg does on Thursday mornings is always top stuff. HHHHHHHHH''''aaapparently some Viking dudes who sacrificed slave virgin birds and stuff gave rise to the naming of Russia (or err..maybe not). All good stuff. Last week's was crap though; remember being bored that I was bored or something...hmm).

On at 9.30 this evening but abridged by 15 minutes as usual waffle. Very good.

mrs narcolept said...

The young miss narcolept is working in a supermarket (a degree in Fine Art certainly comes in handy) and, fair play, the announcement was made just before eleven and the whole place fell silent and stood still for the two minutes. Four little lads from the nearby school had come in for their poppies early in the morning, ready for their assembly where they would be reading poems by Owen and Kipling.

I know you don't much like the Wootton Basset doings, mr ishmael, but I am beginning to wonder if it isn't so much a public performance as a huge silent, baffled, horrified protest.

call me ishmael said...

Can't stand him, Bragg. You might enjoy his book, Credo, it's about Vikings and Saint Cuthbert in Northumbria, dark ages mayhem and spirituality, the most horrific violence I have ever read, bar none. It'll be in your library. Probably in a section marked: Books by Lords.

call me ishmael said...

I'm sure Kipling would be honoured, mr ptb; as I said, I just wrote it down, moves me, too.

Anonymous said...

The Welsh are by far the hardest bastards on the planet. I genuinely do believe we export Liberty but folks are scared of the Welsh. Yorkshire goes from Donny to Middlesbrough, Todmorden to Hull - proper massive. Welsh are cool.

DtP said...

19.57 was me - hmm.

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell, you can write.

Agatha said...

Mr. Rightwinggit said: Bloody Hell, you can write....

i just want to endorse Mr. Rightwinggit, Mr. Ishmael - you write like an angel, or daemon. If you were channelling Kipling, he chose well. I loved your poem last year, and the illustration of the hypocritical Blair, and it reads just as well this year. You should be published in the main-stream media.

call me ishmael said...

That's good to hear, mrs n, Tesco, every little bit helps. And we don't need, according to many, fine arts degress in the new world of caring cruelty.

As for Wootton basset, that would be nice, a slow march of horror, a requiem of revulsion, but the Legion fawning over Blair's filthy money and the govament suborning. it, owning it, sort of, approving of it, make me think it is more pantomime; no business like showbusiness.

Those throwing flowers at hearse convoys would be better employed throwing shit at their MP.

call me ishmael said...

How can you say such things, ms agatha? What have I done, that you would consign me thus, to skymadeupnewsandfilth?

killemallletgodsortemout said...

"Those throwing flowers at hearse convoys would be better employed throwing shit at their MP."

Wouldn't they, just?

Well put.

Agatha said...

Hi, Mr. Ishmael,
I was thinking more in terms of a book, dear sir: The collected insights of Ishmael and his good friend Stanislav, with occasional contributions from Buster,