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Lost quotations

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West of Suez - Lady, in your crimson sari | 13-Sep-12

Enquirer is trying to trace the author of a poem called "West of Suez" which begins:

"Lady, in your crimson sari,
Undulating up the queue
For the fast eleven-thirty,
Bournemouth-bound from Waterloo,
Do you like the way we travel?
Aren't our platforms cold and pale?
Don't you hanker for the chaos
Of the old Calcutta Mail?"

2 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!

Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


I read this poem in a Punch magazine in South India in 1951,and could only remember : Lady in your crimson sari undulating up the queue, for the fast 11.30 Bournmouth bound from Waterloo,...then fo llows reminiscensis about India....then.."Lady take my reservation for the Tudor dining car,-wheres,the queue for Coromandel, whens the train for Malabar?...I have searched to find the complete verse for some 60 years !! Grateful for any news
Alec barby

My father had two copies of this poem in his papers. I was trying to find out who wrote it. The poem continues:

Do you never miss the voices carrying coconuts and pan,
Crying water for the Hindu, crying water for the Mussulman;
Miss the crowded wooden benches in the dilatory train,
Miss the three-days-journey-distant village in the dusty plain,
Where the smoke of burning cow dung spreads its homesick-making smell,

And your sisters, softly swaying, balance homeward from the well
Tier on Tier of brazen vessels? Do you never long to see
Kites and bulbuls, crows and mynas? Bullock carts? A peepul tree?
Would the evening howl of jackals still be music to your ears?
Have you heard the West a-calling through the voice of Donald Peers?

Do you go for Veeraswamy's chillies, turmeric and rice
Or exotic suet puddings, apple flans and cottage pies?
Have you left your Mother Ganges, turned your back on Kali's shrine,

For a pilgrimage to Boscombe, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Chine?
Madam, take my reservation in the Tudor dining car.
Where's the queue for Coromandel? Where's the train to Malabar?
Renata Atkin

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