Skip to main content

Mandalay

by Rudyard Kipling

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say;
"Come you back, you British Soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay;
Can't you 'ear their paddles clunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,
An' 'er name was Supi-Yaw-Lat jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,
An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,
An' wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:
Bloomin' idol made o' mud--
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd--
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!
On the road to Mandalay ...

When the mist was on the rice-fields an' the sun was droppin' slow,
She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing "Kulla-la-lo!"
With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek again my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an' the hathis pilin' teak.
Elephants a-piling teak
In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
Where the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid to speak!
On the road to Mandalay ...

But that's all shove be'ind me -- long ago and fur away,
An' there ain't no 'buses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay;
An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
"If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."
No! you won't 'eed nothin' else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay ...

I am sick 'o wastin' leather on these gritty pavin'-stones,
An' the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Tho' I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An' they talks a lot o' lovin', but wot do they understand?
Beefy face an' grubby 'and--
Law! wot do they understand?
I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
On the road to Mandalay . . .

Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there ain't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin', and it's there that I would be--
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
O the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

*Mandalay is a beautiful poem by Rudyard Kipling.

*Mandalay also reminds me of an Amitav Ghosh masterpiece "The Glass Palace". A superb book set in Burma , India and Malaya (now Malaysia). It even has chapters on my hometown of Sungai Petani( Sp)! And Amitav himself (might) have came to Sp to do some research. Im still looking to buy this book, read it at the library last time, want to read it again. Read the review.

*havent posted anything for a long time, been travelling, busy, things are happening beyond
control. Will be back soon with something different, set up my website and do some serious 'interneting'.

-Gp 2005-

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

while it lasts

First Contact, Remixed

On the last Thursday of the year, about half past 10 local time, they landed in the garden of the White House. The security never knew what hit them, in no time all the men in blue and black and whatever colour they’re in were rolling on the ground laughing. Apparently the aliens hit them with laughing gas. Good, now we know they have some sense of humour and wont bomb us…hemmm…senseless. Another half an hour went past, the president was hiding under his table, the secret service nowhere in sight. Thinking of the worst, he reached for his cell phone and dialled 911 with his trembling fingers. So much for him, the aliens UFO, which funnily enough is shaped like a saucer, lighted up like a Las Vegas casino, sans neon signboard. A door opened up and from it rolled down a weird looking robot with a huge plasma screen TV for its head. Words fail to describe alien technology, literally, so I’m using earth analogy. Oh, and by the way, I am the dude, who saw it all.

The president peering from …

...you

for, its during the rainy seasons
when we sit admiring
the cool breeze and wandering droplets
we realize we are admiring the beauty of loneliness
from afar, of you and me

[feast]