Ojira, To Her Lover.
I am waiting in the desert, looking out towards the sunset,
And counting every moment till we meet.
I am waiting by the marshes and I tremble and I listen
Till the soft sands thrill beneath your coming feet.
Till I see you, tall and slender, standing clear against the skyline
A graceful shade across the lingering red,
While your hair the breezes ruffle, turns to silver in the twilight,
And makes a fair faint aureole round your head.
Far away towards the sunset I can see a narrow river,
That unwinds itself in red tranquillity;
I can hear its rippled meeting, and the gurgle of its greeting,
As it mingles with the loved and long sought sea.
In the purple sky above me showing dark against the starlight,
Long wavering flights of homeward birds fly low,
They cry each one to the other, and their weird and wistful calling,
Makes most melancholy music as they go.
Oh, my dearest hasten, hasten! It is lonely here. Already
Have I heard the jackals’ first assembling cry,
And among the purple shadows of the mangroves and the marshes
Fitful echoes of their footfalls passing by.
Ah, come soon! my arms are empty, and so weary for your beauty,
I am thirsty for the music of your voice.
Come to make the marshes joyous with the sweetness of your presence,
Let your nearing feet bid all the sands rejoice!
My hands, my lips are feverish with the longing and the waiting
And no softness of the twilight soothes their heat,
Till I see your radiant eyes, shining stars beneath the starlight,
Till I kiss the slender coolness of your feet.
Ah, loveliest, most reluctant, when you lay yourself beside me
All the planets reel around me – fade away,
And the sands grow dim, uncertain, – I stretch out my hands towards you
While I try to speak but know not what I say!
I am faint with love and longing, and my burning eyes are gazing
Where the furtive Jackals wage their famished strife,
Oh, your shadow on the mangroves! and your step upon the sandhills, –
This is the loveliest evening of my Life!
Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)
Source: The garden of Kama and other love lyrics from India by Laurence Hope (1865-1904); Illustrated by Byam Shaw (1872-1919). London: Heinemeann, 1914.