Surface Rights

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

Drifting, drifting down the River,
Tawny current and foam-flecked tide,
Sorrowful songs of lonely boatmen,
Mournful forests on either side.

Thine are the outcrops' glittering blocks,
The quartz where the rich pyrites gleam,
The golden treasure of unhewn rocks
And the loose gold in the stream.

But, - the dim vast forests along the shore,
That whisper wonderful things o' nights, -
These are things that I value more,
My beautiful "surface rights."

Drifting, drifting down the River, -
Stars a-tremble about the sky -
Ah, my lover, my heart is breaking,
Breaking, breaking, I know not why.

Why is Love such a sorrowful thing?
This I never could understand;
Pain and passion are linked together,
Ever I find them hand in hand.

Loose thy hair in its soft profusion,
Let thy lashes caress thy cheek, -
These are the things that express thy spirit,
What is the need to explain or speak?

Drifting, drifting along the River,
Under the light of a wan low moon,
Steady, the paddles; Boatmen, steady, -
Why should we reach the sea so soon?

See where the low spit cuts the water,
What is that misty wavering light?
Only the pale datura flowers
Blossoming through the silent night.

What is the fragrance in thy tresses?
'T is the scent of the champa's breath;
The meaning of champa bloom is passion -
And of datura - death!

Sweet are thy ways and thy strange caresses,
That sear as flame, and exult as wine.
But I care only for that wild moment
When my soul arises and reaches thine.

Wistful voices of wild birds calling -
Far, faint lightning towards the West, -
Twinkling lights of a Tyah homestead, -
Ruddy glow on a girl's bare breast -

Drifting boats on a mournful River,
Shifting thoughts in a dreaming mind, -
We two, seeking the Sea, together, -
When we reach it, - what shall we find?

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Surface Rights' by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

comments powered by Disqus

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