Works in the Herald 1937
The storied calm of old Cathay 
   Is shattered by a rending blast, 
And in the smoke-drift waft away 
   The pictures of a dreaming past -
Dark China of the traveller's tale, 
   Strange fancy and exotic fad. 
All vanish in a leaden hail. 
   The world has turned a little mad. 

A blandly smiling mandarin, 
   The tinkle of a temple bell, 
And golden ladies drooping in 
   The pathway by the bamboo dell -   
All, all has vanished in a breath 
   For stern-faced warriors khaki clad 
Armed with new instruments of death. 
   The world has turned a little mad. 

Coy Lotus Blossom, ivory maid. 
   Sloe-eyed, slim-fingered, strange of gait,
Hung round with ornaments of jade -   
   Shade from the willow-pattern plate -      
Gives place, to Madam, college-bred,     
   Broadcasting now a story sad   
To all the earth, sown wide with dread.   
   The world has turned a little mad.     

The splendours of the Peacock Throne,   
   The curious tales with dragons strewn,   
Quaint fables that our youth had known   
   Fade to a faster, fiercer rune.   
Boots tramping thro' the yellow mud   
   Where bare-foot coolies used to pad     
Imprint the modern tale of blood;   
   Surely the earth is turning mad.  
Herald, 22 September 1937
The Courier Mail, 23 October 1937, p23

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2010-11