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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
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Archives > Books and Poetry > Poetry > Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (1916) > The Little Piou-piou ( The French "Tommy")

The Little Piou-piou ( The French "Tommy")

Published by Susan on 07/24/2003 (6299 reads)
Oh, some of us lolled in the chateau...

Oh, some of us lolled in the chateau,
  And some of us slinked in the slum;
But now we are here with a song and a cheer
  To serve at the sign of the drum.
They put us in trousers of scarlet,
  In big sloppy ulsters of blue;
In boots that are flat, a box of a hat,
  And they call us the little piou-piou.
The laughing and quaffing piou-piou,
The swinging and singing piou-piou;
And so with a rattle we march to the battle,
The weary but cheery piou-piou.

    Encore un petit verre de vin,
    Pour nous mettre en route;
    Encore un petit verre de vin
    Pour nous mettre en train.

They drive us head-on for the slaughter;
  We haven't got much of a chance;
The issue looks bad, but we're awfully glad
  To battle and die for La France.
For some must be killed, that is certain;
  There's only one's duty to do;
So we leap to the fray in the glorious way
They expect of the little piou-piou.
          En avant!

The way of the gallant piou-piou,
The dashing and smashing piou-piou;
The way grim and gory that leads us to glory
Is the way of the little piou-piou.

      Allons, enfants de la Patrie,
      Le jour de gloire est arrivé.

To-day you would scarce recognise us,
  Such veterans war-wise are we;
So grimy and hard, so calloused and scarred,
  So "crummy", yet gay as can be.
We've finished with trousers of scarlet,
  They're giving us breeches of blue,
With a helmet instead of a cap on our head, -
  Yet still we're the little piou-piou.
            Nous les aurons!

The jesting, unresting piou-piou;
The cheering, unfearing piou-piou;
The keep-your-head-level and fight-like-the-devil;
The dying, defying piou-piou.

      À la bayonette! Jusqu'a la mort!
      Sonnez la charge, clairons!

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