The Reason for Swimming Trunks

Long-time followers of Joffre online (on other venues) will remember this little piece. It's a history of the Battle of Taranto (which you can read about here) in verse! And it's also a critique of male swimwear.

Why Men Should Not Wear Skimpy Bathing Suits

Everyone likes to talk 'bout Il Duce,
How Italy had places to go.
But his officers wore turkey feathers and Gucci,
And declined to face a tough foe.

It's difficult, when picking a fight,
With nations to south and to north,
If your soldiers wear loafers of light
And mince-step when sallying forth.

I realize it's been covered before,
I know it's a well-worn theme:
How Italia wore the dress of a whore,
Which, when tugged at, did rip at the seam.

Her martial men have been flogged,
Their reputation now has a stench.
The bright shield of Priam's been fogged;
Why, they've even been compared to the French!

What lots of people don't know,
What's evaded the average reader:
Her armed forces weren't all leavened dough,
There was one corps made proud its leader!

In Africa, at night, the tankers would run
Full tilt right into the trees.
On patrol the pilots would look at the sun
To find Spitfires coming in threes.

But of one thing papa and mama were proud
While chewing their gnocci in gravy.
There was a force fascist that yet was unbowed:
The illustrious Italian Navy!

British Tars, who're named for the combative lime,
Have a fine reputation for ruling the sea.
But Il Duce, that fiend, with his force maritime,
Would pick off their convoys, and spit in their tea.

The British had been left solitaire in the Med,
Quite suddenly, and yes, 't'was a shock.
The French fleet, once allied, became Vichy instead,
Leaving Limey alone on the Rock.

The Admiralty put all of their heads close together
And decided to think of a plot
That, God willing (that is, and the weather)
Would get them out of this dangerous spot.

"Toujours, toujours, toujours l'audace!"
Said they, with no flim-flummery.
"If we don't succeed, it will be our arse,
Plus we might lose the army of Montgomery!"

Six Italian battleships made Taranto their port,
Which was where Britain decided to strike.
Some Saxons would look on Valhalla's bright court,
And Romans would know what Elysium was like.

As far as raids go, this one was quite neat,
With ten different task forces sailing around.
Some came from Malta, some came from Crete,
And this criss-crossing did the Italians confound.

Then that great carrier, Illustrious by name,
Launched all of her Swordfish, loaded for bear.
And to the Italians ne'er dying shame
Those two dozen biplanes bearded them in their lair.

Fascist inventory listed: "Battleships, Six,"
Which made the Med Mare Nostrum.
But when the English flyers were done with their tricks
The Italians had all Mare lostum.

The lesson we've learnt from this naval history:
That men of some nations wear speedos,
But others leave much more to mystery...
And those nations have bigger torpedoes.


Post a Comment