There is no Breeze to Cool the Heat of Love

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

The listless Palm-trees catch the breeze above
The pile-built huts that edge the salt Lagoon,
There is no Breeze to cool the heat of love,
No wind from land or sea, at night or noon.

Perfumed and robed I wait, my Lord, for you,
And my heart waits alert, with strained delight,
My flowers are loath to close, as though they knew
That you will come to me before the night.

In the Verandah all the lights are lit,
And softly veiled in rose to please your eyes,
Between the pillars flying foxes flit,
Their wings transparent on the lilac skies.

Come soon, my Lord, come soon, I almost fear
My heart may fail me in this keen suspense,
Break with delight, at last, to know you near.
Pleasure is one with Pain, if too intense.

I envy these: the steps that you will tread,
The jasmin that will touch you by its leaves,
When, in your slender height, you stoop your head
At the low door beneath the palm-thatched eaves.

For though you utterly belong to me,
And love has done his utmost 'twixt us twain,
Your slightest, careless touch yet seems to be
That keen delight so much akin to pain.

The night breeze blows across the still Lagoon,
And stirs the Palm-trees till they wave above
Our pile-built huts; Oh, come, my Lord, come soon,
There is no Breeze to cool the heat of love.

Every time you give yourself to me,
The gift seems greater, and yourself more fair,
This slight-built, palm-thatched hut has come to be
A temple, since, my Lord, you visit there.

And as the water, gurgling softly, goes
Among the piles beneath the slender floor;
I hear it murmur, as it seaward flows,
Of the great Wonder seen upon the shore.

The Miracle, that you should come to me,
Whom the whole world, seeing, can but desire,
It is as though some White Star stooped to be
The messmate of our little cooking fire.

Leaving the Glory of his Purple Skies,
And the White Friendship of the Crescent Moon,
And yet; - I look into your brilliant eyes,
And find content; Oh, come, my Lord, come soon.

Perfumed and robed I wait for you, I wait,
The flowers that please you wreathed about my hair,
And this poor face set forth in jewelled state,
So more than proud since you have found it fair.

My lute is ready, and the fragrant drink
Your lips may honour, how it will rejoice
Losing its life in yours! the lute I think
But wastes the time when I might hear your voice.

But you desired it, therefore I obey.
Your slightest, as your utmost, wish or will,
Whether it please you to caress or slay,
It would please me to give obedience still.

I would delight to die beneath your kiss;
I envy that young maiden who was slain,
So her warm blood, flowing beneath the kiss,
Might ease the wounded Sultan of his pain -

If she loved him as I love you, my Lord.
There is no pleasure on the earth so sweet
As is the pain endured for one adored;
If I lay crushed beneath your slender feet

I should be happy! Ah, come soon, come soon,
See how the stars grow large and white above,
The land breeze blows across the salt Lagoon,
There is no Breeze to cool the heat of love.

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