John Milton Hayes

(1884-1940 / Lancashire, England)

John Milton Hayes
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John Milton Hayes, better known as J. Milton Hayes, was an English actor and poet, best known for his 1911 dramatic monologue The Green Eye of the Yellow God, much parodied by his contemporary Stanley Holloway and later by The Goon Show. He also wrote and performed many other monologues. Curiously little is known about Hayes, save that he was from the north of England (probably Lancashire) and that he knew Alec Waugh when the two were prisoners of war together in Mainz, Germany in 1918. From the fact that he was accommodated alongside Waugh at Mainz, we may assume that Hayes served as an officer in the First World War. In his book My Brother Evelyn and Other Profiles Waugh describes Hayes as... more »

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  • Rookie Peter Miller (1/3/2007 5:34:00 PM)

    There is more known about Milton Hayes than I have found on any internet site. It stated somewhere that he was born 'probably in Lancashire'. In fact he came from Manchester. He served in the First World War and was awarded the Military Cross. Two poems well worth adding to any anthology are 'Let Me Awake', written under fire in the trenches, and 'Orders' written in 1936. Many references get the title of 'The Green Eye of the Yellow God' wrong - there is no 'Little' in the title. Hayes was also a comedian and made a series of recordings in the 1920's entitled 'The Meanderings of Monty'. One of these has 'You know what I mean? ' on the reverse. Amongst those who parodied his verse was Billy Bennet with 'The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog' and 'The Tightest Man I know' Hayes retired from the stage in about 1928 and wrote a number of articles for the 'Manchester Guardian' in the 1930's. He died in the South of France (I THINK in Marseille) and is buried there. I can provide copies of 'Orders' and 'Let me Awake', but only by post. I haven't yet mastered the scanner!

    Peter Miller

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Best Poem of John Milton Hayes

My Old Football

YOU can keep your antique silver and your statuettes of bronze,
Your curios and tapestries so fine,
But of all your treasures rare there is nothing to compare
With this patched up, wornout football pal o’ mine.
Just a patchedup wornout football, yet how it clings!
I live again my happier days in thoughts that football brings.
It’s got a mouth, it’s got a tongue,
And oft when we’re alone I fancy that it speaks
To me of golden youth that’s flown.
It calls to mind our meeting,
’Twas a present from the Dad.
I kicked it yet I worshipped it,
How strange a priest ...

Read the full of My Old Football

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