Top Hat And Tails

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Top Hat And Tails, A Poem About An Old Tap Dancer


Top Hat and Tails


Shuffling slowly through the crowded thoroughfare.

This crazy old man, hardly worth the time to stare.

The people just glare at this scruffy figure that dares

to hinder their headlong flight, rushing who knows where.

They don't care.


Just get out my way scruffy old man,

in your strange black and white tuxedo.

Top hat and tails,

Silver tipped cane.

You make me laugh,

you silly daft thing.

Just a quick look of scorn,

A blink of disgust.


Ignoring the hustle and bustle of the busy humanity charging by.

Pushing the shopping cart borrowed years ago, to an empty seat nearby.

Taking the board from within the trolley, he lays it on the ground.

Pressing a button on the battered radio, it emits vinyl sound.

The crackling music plays.


People turn and look at the scruffy old man,

in his strange black and white tuxedo.

Top hat and tails,

silver tipped cane.

They point and laugh,

you silly daft thing.

A quick look of scorn,

curse of disgust.


As the orchestra plays from within the scruffy, beat-up, wireless,

the music washes over his rheumatoid body, defying old age weakness.

He feels stirrings, happiness of memories flooding back overcoming,

his arthritic joints with rhythm, making his heart start pounding.

Feeling the beat, he desires to dance.


People turn, stop and stare at the scruffy old man.

In his strange black and white tuxedo.

Top hat and tails,

silver tipped cane.

They no longer laugh but still call out,

you silly daft thing.

What are you doing?

Smiles of amusement.


The old song encouraging, the old man stands tall.

Top hatted head raised proud, eyes closed to all.

Tap tap tap it beats in rhythm to the musical sound.

Canes silver tip beating the board on the ground.

Toes twitch with eagerness.


He has drawn a crowd this scruffy old man.

In his strange black and white tuxedo.

Top hat and tails,

silver tipped cane.

They stand in silence awaiting,

this silly daft thing.

What are you doing?

Why are you doing it?


Eyes shut tight, he feels the jazz swing bands from that golden age.

In his mind he enters the brilliant lights beam, awaiting him on the stage.

Big band swinging behind him, applauding crowd, he starts his show

his feet begin to move, toe to heel, double step, tap heel to toe.

Tip-pity-tap, rat-a-tat tat.


Crowd watches in awe at this scruffy old man,

in his strange black and white tuxedo.

Top hat and tails,

silver tipped cane.

Peoples hands instead of pointing,

clap in encouragement.

At this silly daft thing,

no longer crazy maybe.


Moving and swaying with the music of that wondrous time.

With exaggerated flair and grace, for one his age, body and mind

Both feet tapping, stepping frantically, rhythmically dancing mystic.

This battered Mr Bo Jangles struts his amazing footwork magic.

His feet step the beat.


The crowd call out and applaud their admiration,

at this amazing man in a black and white tuxedo.

Proud in top hat and tails,

elegant with his silver tipped cane.

As he dances his life as if on the stage,

best tap dancer of them all in his day.

No longer a silly old man,

but a tapping masterpiece.


After he finishes his dance and the crowds depart to their homes.

He bends down slowly, rheumatism returning to fill his old bones.

Picking up the many coins and dollar notes received for dancing.

People think it was for them he danced, but Mr Bo Jangles is smiling,

He gives the money, to a battered old tramp.


A man shouts “get out my way scruffy old man.

in your strange black and white tuxedo.”

Top hat and tails,

silver tipped cane.

You make me laugh,

you silly daft thing.

Just a quick look of scorn,

and a curse of disgust.


by Tracey Owen & R.B.Rueby


When I was a young school girl, living in a remote English village. Occasionally through the winters coldest days, instead of walking down the steep hill to school. My two sisters, mum and I, would catch the town bus. The bus stop was in an exposed area and the north wind would blow hard. Freezing cold as we waited for the bus, our toes would go numb in our school shoes. Mum one cold snowy morning after I kept complaining of icy feet, started teaching us to tap dance. Something she had been taught as a child. So there we were all four of us every cold morning lined up in formation tap dancing. Starting with the basic steps until we were proficient enough, then Mum would add in another move to the previous sequence of steps.

In this poem, the first chorus is set to the rhythm of a few basic tap dance steps. Then each chorus after, adds a little more each time. Getting slightly more intricate as the poem progresses, just like our mum taught us to keep our feet warm.

Copyright May 2009



Submitted: March 24, 2012

© Copyright 2021 BITSxOFxKINKY. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Very trippy if I might use an out of date word! I enjoyed it very much. You are a class act and it seems your talent is very deversified!

Thanks for sharing!

Sun, March 25th, 2012 2:37am


we do like to change styles keep it varied keeps the readers interested i think i hope :) thankyou hun :)

Mon, March 26th, 2012 9:25am


I really liked this Tracy. Was a cute story. I could actually visualize the ole tap dancing man... lol

Mon, March 26th, 2012 2:22pm


people tend to see the older generation as an annoyance but they have wisdom and oh the tales they can tell of things theve seen and done ... thank you RB

Mon, March 26th, 2012 9:33am


i really loved this one.....the magic of music rejuvenating....and the growing admiration of the crowd....and the pathos of the ending....simply wonderful

Tue, March 27th, 2012 10:17pm


We thank you very much for this wonderful comment :)

Tue, March 27th, 2012 4:08pm


Marvellous! We all become the crazy old tap dancer eventually! I have always loved the story of Bo Jangles, sung by Sammy Davis Jr, of course. Reminds me now of Bruce Forsyth! Liked the style and appreciate the care you have put into getting it just as you wanted it.

Wed, March 28th, 2012 6:22am


thank you .. i can drive brian crazy sometimes .. i can be very finiky over the littlist thing :) pleased you enjoyed this little toe tapper

Wed, March 28th, 2012 5:44am


What is wrong with a well dressed man? People can be so cruel. Loved the poem. XD

Wed, April 18th, 2012 3:33pm


thank you when i see the older generation all i see is wisdom knowlage and advice for life .. i agree with you thank you

Wed, April 18th, 2012 8:38am

Mike Stevens

What an excellent image this brings to mind!

Wed, April 18th, 2012 4:25pm


Thanx Mike Hugs :)

Wed, April 18th, 2012 9:27am


What an exquisite piece! A thoroughly enjoyable read, thank you.

Sun, April 22nd, 2012 1:03pm


And Thank you Tom much apreciated

Sun, April 22nd, 2012 7:05am


What charming imagery and how clearly I could see it all and feel it all and could reach out to that man, that Bo Jangles, and to the music and to the crowds. And how harsh the light of life hits after the stage lighting dies. -- Our loss. Not his.
Many warm regards. I truly enjoyed this - both your writing and your choice of formatting that set my stage and played to my audience... Thank you. Connie

Fri, April 27th, 2012 6:31pm


And Thank You For Such A Warm Hearted Comment (( Hugs ))

Fri, April 27th, 2012 11:57am

Brian W

What a sight it would have been seeing a row of girls tap dancing at a bus stop on a cold morning...The poem brought out a few emotions in me as I read it..Both for the old man and the passer bys...Well written I enjoyed it

Tue, May 1st, 2012 4:22am


:) thank you Brian

Tue, May 1st, 2012 5:14am

Ian Dawn

Nice job babe you are teh queen of feel good.

Mon, May 7th, 2012 9:53pm


ahhh not a queen maybe the royal joker :) if i can make one person smile it is an accomplishment

Mon, May 7th, 2012 4:54pm

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