The Convert

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

The sun was hot on the tamarind trees,
Their shadows shrivelled and shrank.
No coolness came on the off-shore breeze
That rattled the scrub on the bank.
She stretched her appealing arms to me,
Uplifting the Flagon of Love to me,
Till - great indeed was my unslaked thirst -
I paused, I stooped, and I drank!

I went with my foe to the edge of the crater, -
But no one to return, we knew, -
The lava's heat had never been greater
Than the ire between us two.
He flung back his head and he mocked at me,
He spat unspeakable words at me,
Our eyes met, and our knives met,
I saw red, and I slew!

Such were my deeds when my youth was hot,
And force was new to my hand,
With many more that I tell thee not,
Well known in my native land.
These show thy Christ when thou prayest to Him,
He too was a man thou sayest of Him,
Therefore He, when I reach His feet,
Will remember, and understand.

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