Ballade Of Nurshali

A poem by Edward Powys Mathers

Come in haste this dusk, dear child. I will be on the water path
When your girl friends go laughing by the road.
"Come in haste this dusk; I have become your nightingale,
And the young girls leave me alone because of you.
I give you the poppy of my mouth and my fallen hair."
Come in haste this dusk, dear child.

"I have dishevelled and spread out my hair for you;
Take my wrist, for there is no shame
And my father has gone out.
Sit near me on this red bed quietly."
Come in haste this dusk, dear child.

"Sit near me on this red bed, I lift the poppy to your lips;
Your hand is strong upon my breast;
My beauty is a garden and you the bird in the flowering tree."
Come in haste this dusk, dear child.

"My beauty is a garden with crimson flowers."
But I cannot reach over the thicket of your hair.
This is Nurshali sighing for the garden;
Come in haste this dusk, dear child.

From the Pus'hto (Afghans).

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