Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE JUNGLE WALLAH, by BERTON BRALEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE JUNGLE WALLAH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The jungle wallah, he lives alone
Last Line: When the jungle shall call him back.
Subject(s): Animals; Jungles; Travel; Wilderness; Journeys; Trips

The Jungle Wallah, he lives alone
Though boss of a thousand men
And out in the heart of the Great Unknown
In jungle and marsh and fen,
He clears the path for the right of way,
He builds to the proper grade
And chivvies his coolies day by day
To see that the steel is laid.

The Jungle Wallah for months on end
Must work with an alien race,
Afar from kindred or kith or friend
Alone—in a lonely place.
For he lives apart from the coolie crew
Upholding the White Man's pride,
It's his to see that the Job goes through
Whatever the fates betide.

The Jungle Wallah is autocrat
And god of his coolie mob
And nurse and doctor on top of that—
It's more than a Man's Size Job;
With floods and fever and tropic sun
With snakes, mosquitoes and flies
And beasts he fights, till the work is done
Or maybe until he dies.

The Jungle Wallah—he coaxes, drives
His chattering coolie band,
He damns their souls and he saves their lives
For the sake of the work in hand.
In hot Malesia, in damp Siam
The Philippines, Borneo,
The road, the bridge and the river dam,
Are samples he has to show.

The Jungle Wallah—he dreams of Town
Of London, New York, Paree,
He curses the hot sun blazing down
And vows when he once is free
Of "fever, insects and coolie scum"
He'll hit for the homeward track,
But he knows in his heart of hearts he'll come
When the jungle shall call him back.

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