The Green Eye of the Yellow God

The Green Eye of the Yellow God

"The Green Eye of the Yellow God" is a poem by J. Milton Hayes that is a famous example of the genre of "dramatic monologue", which was popular in the early twentieth century. The poem is influenced by the ballads of Rudyard Kipling and was often parodied, most famously by Billy Bennett as "The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog".

The opening lines are still very well known:

:There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu,:There’s a little marble cross below the town;:There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,:And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

It is set in Nepal ("to the north of Kathmandu"), during the British Raj and tells the tale of a wild young officer known as "Mad Carew", who steals the "green eye" of a "yellow god" (presumably an emerald in a gold statue) in order to impress his beloved. He is wounded in the course of the robbery, and later murdered, presumably by a devotee of the god for the theft, who returns the jewel to the idol.

References in popular culture

The opening lines quoted above appear scattered around the game "Dizzy", where they serve as cryptic clues as to how to solve certain puzzles.

In the episode "The Fear of Wages" of the long-running radio comedy The Goon Show, characters trying to come up with excuses frequently answer along the lines of: "Well, it's a long story. You see...", and then quoting the opening lines (or variations) of the poem dramatically. In "The Shifting Sands of Waziristan", Bloodnok distorts it again, with "There's a little green-eyed idol to the north of Kathmandu... but the wind blew up the chimney just the same".

John Lennon uses the opening line in the posthumously released song "Nobody Told Me" (changing "one-eyed" to "little").

In "Doctor Who", the Doctor uses the opening lines on regaining consciousness in the 4th Doctor story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," although he misattributes them to music hall comic Harry Champion.

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine use part of the opening in their song "Perfect Day to Drop the Bomb", which starts "To the north of Kathmandu there's tiny children sniffing glue".

The poem is parodied in Series 2 of "DangerMouse" in the episode "Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God."

External links

* [ Text of poem]

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