Song Of Bells

A poem by John Kendall

Allons! Allons! Tra-la-la! Hear my Bellata!
Why do you not return to Mandalay O soldier?
Do you not remember the boats, and the paddles as they chunked outside the boats?
Do you not remember the elephants, the mighty elephants, strong, mysterious, impalpable (no, not impalpable), pachydermatous, and the extraordinary accuracy with which they succeeded in balancing trees or parts of trees, branches, logs, beams, planks, ... etc., ... with their trunks (the beams carefully supported at their centre of gravity, the logs carefully supported at their centre of gravity, the elephants without a smile at their centre of gravity)
From Rangoon to Mandalay?

For -

On the road to Mandalay the flying-fishes play,
But there are no omnibuses to ply.
Is there not a thirst here, and are there any ten commandments?
O you commandments! you first, second, third ... and tenth commandments!
What has Mandalay to do with you, and what have you to do with Mandalay?

Ha! What is that?

Is it a sound, is it the thunder, the sudden thunder, strepitant, tonant?
Is it the midday (twelve o'clock) cannon?


Is it not then the ocean, the storm of the ocean?

Divil a bit!

Return, return then O soldiers,
Return, you that have been discharged with pensions, as time-expired men, or as incorrigible and worthless,
Return, for it is the dawn, and it is calling to you as it comes up from China,
Though why from China do you ask me?
Then ask me another!

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