19 February 2010

The Green Eye of the Yellow God (J. Milton Hayes)

There's a one-eyed yellow idol
To the north of Kathmandu;
There's a little marble cross below the town;
And a brokenhearted woman
Tends the grave of 'Mad' Carew,
While the yellow god for ever gazes down.

He was known as 'Mad' Carew
By the subs at Kathmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell,
But, for all his foolish pranks,
He was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel's daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along
With the passion of the strong,
And that she returned his love was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one,
And arrangements were begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present
She would like from 'Mad' Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad:
And jestingly she made pretence
That nothing else would do ...
But the green eye of the little yellow god.

On the night before the dance
'Mad' Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they pulled at their cigars,
But for once he failed to smile,
And he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night ... beneath the stars.

He returned, before the dawn,
With his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temples ... dripping red.
He was patched up right away,
And he slept all through the day
While the Colonel's daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked her
If she'd send his tunic through.
She brought it and he thanked her with a nod.
He bade her search the pocket,
Saying, 'That's from "Mad" Carew,'
And she found ... the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew,
In the way that women do,
Although her eyes were strangely hot and wet,
But she would not take the stone,
And Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he'd chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height
On that still and tropic night,
She thought of him ... and hastened to his room.
As she crossed the barrack square
She could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro' the gloom.

His door was open wide,
With silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slippery where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried
In the heart of 'Mad' Carew ...
'Twas the vengeance of the little yellow god.

There's a one-eyed yellow idol
To the north of Kathmandu;
There's a little marble cross below the town;
And a brokenhearted woman
Tends the grave of 'Mad' Carew,
While the yellow god for ever gazes down.