Black Humour


Your brave, unpretentious,  British Tommy,

Found much that was really quite serious,


He joked about rats, and the fleas and the lice,

And other less pleasant trench-dwelling wildlife

Which was nice.

He joked about things like the prospect of dying

And in tanks and in planes, the real prospect of frying

He joked about Kaiser Bill's moustache

He joked about how long the war would last

He joked about desperate situations

About everyday life, and the fate of nations

Some of his humour was dark and grim

Some of the punchlines a trifle thin

He was racist and sexist

And the salt of the earth

Vulgar, obscene and sometimes much worse

He quite often crudely

And inevitably -  rudely

Expressed his most basic emotions

In verse

But what sets Tommy apart

What defines his fine art

Is that although he poked sharp and irreverent fun

At everything and everyone

Including his officers, and not forgetting the Hun

(Who've been neither renowned for their fine sense of fun)

The butt of most of his jokes

Were the ordinary blokes

Of which he was

Most certainly one.

© nigel hallworth 2014