A long poem set in Malaya.
Like ramparts of jade, in a garden sea-circled of blues and of greens –
A garden all frangipanni, and moonflowers, and mangosteens
Wine-red under lustrous foliap where the mating parrots scream –
Due South from the Great Pagoda, four days of a favouring steam,
Rise the Ridges of Lallong Island; jade ramparts, that beetle down
To the straight white roads, and the palm-trees, and the beaches of Lallong Town.
Life’s lazy for us in lallong: we are few, far off, on the fringe
Of the teeming Eastern markets; but ever their trades impinge
On the sunbright, seasonless sequence of our ordered, tropic days…
Yet when Jimmy was liquor-crazy, nor the proven risk nor the dread
Of the ten-fold deadlier peril – fears known, friends ruined, or dead –
Could hold him back from the women. And that night, ere the bar-boys slept,
He had shoiuted for pahit and for stinger till the hot, strong bane of them swept
In flam to each brain-cell’s tiner. Flesh called, and all flesh was sweet,
As he kicked up his rickshaw-coolie, and settered him blind, for ‘The Street’.
About the author (from Wikipedia):
Gilbert Frankau (21 April 1884 – 4 November 1952) was a popular British novelist. He was known also for verse (he was a war poet of World War I) including a number of verse novels, and short stories.
His novels, while having conventional romantic content, also contained material from his own conservative politics and meditations on Jewish identity in the climate of the times. Some of them were filmed (see Christopher Strong; If I Marry Again was based on a short story). His status as a divorcé (he married three times) frustrated his political ambitions – the Conservative Party of the time did not regard divorce as acceptable. His outspoken criticism of Stanley Baldwin also did nothing to endear him to the Tory leadership.