There’s a one-eyed yellow idol
To the north of Kathmandu,
There’s a little marble cross below the town.
There’s a brokenhearted woman
Tends the grave of ‘Mad’ Carew,
While the yellow god forever 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,
As 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 through 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.
There’s a brokenhearted woman
Tends the grave of ‘Mad’ Carew,
While the yellow god forever gazes down.

J Milton Hayes

What’s in My Journal

July 31, 2017

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Thing, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can’t find them. Someone’s terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.

William Stafford
(from Crossing Unmarked Snow)

a need to suffer

July 31, 2017

To enter that silence was like entering a sea. At once a happiness and a very precise state of abandonment to an evolving idea. A way of thinking or perhaps of not thinking – the two things are not so far apart. It’s not clear. It’s a love that loves even now, which invades everything, and which is immune from anything anyone may say about it, for reasons that might be called religious. For it resembles a need to suffer, an obscure need to suffer in order to recall an absence without an image, without a face, without a voice. It can’t be stated. It’s elusive, helpless. And yet it exists.

Marguerite Duras
Practicalities
tr. by Barbara Bray

A journal

I got out this diary and read, as one always does read one’s own writing, with a kind of guilty intensity. I confess that the rough and random style of it, often so ungrammatical, and crying for a word altered, afflicted me somewhat. I am trying to tell whichever self it is that reads this hereafter that I can write very much better; and take no time over this; and forbid her to let the eye of man behold it. And now I may add my little compliment to the effect that it has a slapdash and vigour and sometimes hits an unexpected bull’s eye. But what is more to the point is my belief that the habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles. Going at such a pace as I do I must make the most direct and instant shots at my object, and thus have to lay hands on words, choose them and shoot them with no more pause than is needed to put my pen in the ink. I believe that during the past year I can trace some increase of ease in my professional writing which I attribute to my casual half hours after tea. Moreover there looms ahead of me the shadow of some kind of form which a diary might attain to. I might in the course of time learn what it is that one can make of this loose, drifting material of life; finding another use for it than the use I put it to, so much more consciously and scrupulously, in fiction. What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think on re-reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time. But looseness quickly becomes slovenly. A little effort is needed to face a character or an incident which needs to be recorded. Nor can one let the pen write without guidance; for fear of becoming slack and untidy…

Virginia Woolf
Diary entry: April 20th, 1919