Poetry of Kansas

Who Are the Heathen?

The heathen down in Mandalay
Are very ignorant they say
And every year a mission band
Sets out for India's coral strand;
While we at home must work and pray
And garner cash to send away
To free the folks who long have lain,
Bound down by superstition's chain.
One day, as down the street I went,
I noticed in a dinky tent
A dusky, dirty looking pair,
With snaky coils of raven hair,
With hardware hanging in their ears,
Who called themselves the Hindoo Seers.
And while I watched, behold, there came
The sad and silly, halt and lame,
The son and daughter, man and wife,
From all the avenues of life,
Who dug the money from their jeans
That should have gone for pork and beans;
For they imagined___foolish guys___
Those tin-horn prophets very wise
And thought by paying fifty cents
To get a line upon the hence.
And some there were who shed big tears
O'er loved ones, missing many years,
And others spoke of divers things
Like family spats and wedding rings;
Some asked the time to wean their pigs
And where to set their drilling rigs
And got their answers, cut and dried,
Then turned away quite satisfied.
The heathen down on Ganges' bank
May have some notions crude and rank
And it's all right to work and pray
And point him to the better way.
But while we want to treat him kind
And brighten his benighted mind,
Let's not forget the folks at home
Who harbor bats within their dome,
Who think an Oriental mutt
Who smears his mouth with betel nut;
Whose nimble back is often bent
To gods of reinforced cement,
Beyond this mortal vale can look
And read the future like a book.

Verdigris Valley Verse
Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Page 44

Kansas:  Poetry  History  Towns  Counties  Colleges  Libraries  Museums

March 6, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

Blue Skyways Kansas on the Net   Visit the Home Page for Kansas
  A service of the Kansas State Library