The Runners

(Indian Frontier, 1904)

"A Sahibs' War"
Traffics and Discoveries





News!
What is the word that they tell now-now–now–
The little drums beating in the bazaars?
They beat (among the buyers and the sellers)
"Nimrud–ah Nimrud !
God sends a gnat against Nimrud!"

Watchers, O Watchers a thousand!

News!
At the edge of the crops-now-now-where the well-wheels are halted,
One prepares to loose the bullocks and one scrapes his hoe,
They beat (among the sowers and the reapers)
"Nimrud-ah Nimrud !
God prepares an ill day for Nimrud!"

Watchers, O Watchers ten thousand.

News!
By the fires of the camps-now-now-where the travellers meet
Where the camels come in and the horses, their men conferring,
They beat (among the packmen and the drivers)
"Nimrud-ah Nimrud
Thus it befell last noon to Nimrud!"

Watchers, O Watchers an hundred thousand!

News!
Under the shadow of the border-peels-now-now-now !
In the rocks of the passes where the expectant shoe their horses,
They beat (among the rifles and the riders)
"Nimrud-ah Nimrud!
Shall we go up against Nimrud?"

Watchers, O Watchers a thousand thousand !

News!
Bring out the heaps of grain - open the account-books again!
Drive forward the well-bullocks against the taxable harvest!
Eat and lie under the trees - pitch the police-guarded fairgrounds, O dancers!
Hide away the rifles and let down the ladders from the watch towers!
They beat (among all the peoples)
"Now-now-now!
God has reserved the Sword for Nimrud!
God has given Victory to Nimrud !
Let us abide under Nimrud!"

O Well-disposed and Heedful, an hundred thousand! thousand.