Second Song: The Girl from Baltistan

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

Throb, throb, throb,
Far away in the blue transparent Night,
On the outer horizon of a dreaming consciousness,
She hears the sound of her lover's nearing boat
Afar, afloat
On the river's loneliness, where the Stars are the only light;
Hear the sound of the straining wood
Like a broken sob
Of a heart's distress,
Loving misunderstood.

She lies, with her loose hair spent in soft disorder,
On a silken sheet with a purple woven border,
Every cell of her brain is latent fire,
Every fibre tense with restrained desire.
And the straining oars sound clearer, clearer,
The boat is approaching nearer, nearer;
"How to wait through the moments' space
Till I see the light of my lover's face?"

Throb, throb, throb,
The sound dies down the stream
Till it only clings at the senses' edge
Like a half-remembered dream.
Doubtless, he in the silence lies,
His fair face turned to the tender skies,
Starlight touching his sleeping eyes.
While his boat caught in the thickset sedge
And the waters round it gurgle and sob,
Or floats set free on the river's tide,
Oars laid aside.

She is awake and knows no rest,
Passion dies and is dispossessed
Of his brief, despotic power.
But the Brain, once kindled, would still be afire
Were the whole world pasture to its desire,
And all of love, in a single hour, -
A single wine cup, filled to the brim,
Given to slake its thirst.

Some there are who are thus-wise cursed
Times that follow fulfilled desire
Are of all their hours the worst.
They find no Respite and reach no Rest,
Though passion fail and desire grow dim,
No assuagement comes from the thing possessed
For possession feeds the fire.

"Oh, for the life of the bright hued things
Whose marriage and death are one,
A floating fusion on golden wings.
Alit with passion and sun!

"But we who re-marry a thousand times,
As the spirit or senses will,
In a thousand ways, in a thousand climes,
We remain unsatisfied still."

As her lover left her, alone, awake she lies,
With a sleepless brain and weary, half-closed eyes.
She turns her face where the purple silk is spread,
Still sweet with delicate perfume his presence shed.
Her arms remembered his vanished beauty still,
And, reminiscent of clustered curls, her fingers thrill.
While the wonderful, Starlit Night wears slowly on
Till the light of another day, serene and wan,
Pierces the eastern skies.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Second Song: The Girl from Baltistan' by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy