The Chinese Gong

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The Chinese Gong
by Robert E. Howard

From a letter to Tevis Clyde Smith, ca. March 1928; before the poem, REH instructs the reader to "Accent the second STRUM to get the rhythm." At its conclusion, he says "Some might say that’s a mere jingle but I say, if chanting and alliterative technique count for anything it’s a fair swinging rhyme."


The Chinese Gong


StrumaSTRUM, struma strum struma strum strum strum!

Roaring out the rally o’er the rumble of the drum!

Talking down the cannon with its boomaloomaboom!

Catchee plentee killee on the river plentee soon!

Shouting down to Canton with the Yellow River scum

Shaking coral buttons in a Holy City room.

Stroomabooma stroomabooma boom boom boom!

Daring decent devils like demoniacal doom.

Soom plentee plunder ‘long the Yellow River’s junks!

Hoomalooma hoomalooma strum stroom strum!

Streaming from the mountains are a million yellow monks.

Sellee loot to Melican and catchee plentee rum.

Yellow feet a-clatter on the clumpy cobbled street

Shouting of the shikars where the shore and river meet.

Roaring at the rumor of a raiding rider seen.

Lanterns in pagodas with a glimmer blue and green.

Sellee loot to Melican, chatchee Hong Kong.

—Yelling tinkling tales to a terrible tong.

Struma strooma strumastrooma kongalongbong!

Listen to the clatter of the Chinese gong.