THE BEIRA MALARIA - Thomas Craig Poems


Poems » thomas craig » the beira malaria


When you rise to greet old Phœbus with a booming in your head,
    And your temples throb and threaten straight to burst;
When your tongue feels like a doormat and your eyelids feel like lead,
    And your throat is dry and parched with burning thirst;
        When your eyeballs shun the light;
        And the sunshine seems a blight,
You may moan your luck, and wish you'd ne'er been weaned,
        For your star is unpropitious
        And the Fates have hit you "vicious,"
And you're "collared" by the Beira Fever Fiend;
        For he's a "daisy" -- he's a "lamb" --
        And Rudyard's kippered "damn"
Seems gurgling baby-prattle meant to grieve you,
        While the curs'd malaria rages
        Through it's flaming fiery stages --
Only scientific swearing will relieve you.

When the Fever Fiend has gripped you, and your vitals seem a-fire,
    Sure, the devil gets possession of your brain;
Temptations you're resisted crowd amain to feed your ire,
    And you pine to have such chances once again.
        Then the doctor fills you up,
        As per tabloid, pill, or cup,
With foul remedies designed to kill or cure;
        And the martyrdom you suffer
        From the dire diploma'd duffer
Tests the limit human nature can endure.
        And he's a "daisy" -- he's a "lamb" --
        And Kipling's childish "damn"
Seems silly baby-prattle meant to grieve you,
        When the doctor stirs your liver,
        And your nerves are all a-quiver --
Only scientific praying will relieve you.

When you scent the steaming mangroves with their miasmatic heat,
    As the Pungwe's poisoned waters ripple past;
When you note the drabs and dagoes as they pass along the street,
    And you wonder if this bout will be your last --
        Then some stranger turns and stares,
        As the kafirs chained in pairs
Bear a coffin to its final place of rest --
        But 'tis just some comrade strong,
        Gone to join the angel throng
With a shovelful of quicklime on his chest.
        Oh! it's a "daisy" -- it's a "lamb,"
        And Rudyard's weary "damn"
Seems only baby-prattle meant to grieve you;
        For the Beira Cemetery
        Makes you feel so grimly merry,
Only scientific laughing will relieve you.