Treasure Island

Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

The Grave of the Hundred Heads


There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun,
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.


A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
A blanket over his face --
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
The men of an alien race --
They made a samadh in his honor,
A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
Should go to his God in state;
With fifty file of Burman
To open him Heaven's gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
The village of Pabengmay --
A jingal covered the clearing,
Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village --
The village of Pabengmay,
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
The head of his son below,
With the sword and the peacock-banner
That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris --
The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For he Burmans said
That a kullah's head
Must be paid for with heads five score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun,
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: river, son, work, anger, red, silence, water, heaven, pain, howl

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Grave of the Hundred Heads by Rudyard Kipling )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

New Poems

  1. Return of the Friend, Mohja Kahf
  2. On The Run In The Dream, Albert Martin
  3. My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Si.., Mohja Kahf
  4. Joan Rivers, Ima Ryma
  5. First October Twentieth Fourteen, Tony Adah
  6. تحية طيبة, خليل مردم بك
  7. Happy Writer, Cynthia BuhainBaello
  8. هذا وربك مثوى كل إنسان, خليل مردم بك
  9. Scars Never Heal, Cynthia BuhainBaello
  10. Closed Doors, Omar Eldamsheety

Poem of the Day

poet Walt Whitman

ARM’D year! year of the struggle!
No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year!
Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas
piano;
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Blackberry-Picking, Seamus Heaney
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. Warning, Jenny Joseph
  9. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  10. Dreams, Langston Hughes

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]