Laurence Hope

(1865-1904 / India)

Kotri, By The River - Poem by Laurence Hope

At Kotri, by the river, when the evening's sun is low,
The waving palm trees quiver, the golden waters glow,
The shining ripples shiver, descending to the sea;
At Kotri, by the river, she used to wait for me.

So young, she was, and slender, so pale with wistful eyes
As luminous and tender as Kotri's twilight skies.
Her face broke into flowers, red flowers at the mouth,
Her voice,--she sang for hours like bulbuls in the south.

We sat beside the water through burning summer days,
And many things I taught her of Life and all its ways
Of Love, man's loveliest duty, of Passion's reckless pain,
Of Youth, whose transient beauty comes once, but not again.

She lay and laughed and listened beside the water's edge.
The glancing rirer glistened and glinted through the sedge.
Green parrots flew above her and, as the daylight died,
Her young arms drew her lover more closely to her side.

Oh days so warm and golden! oh nights so cool and still!
When Love would not be holden, and Pleasure had his will.
Days, when in after leisure, content to rest we lay,
Nights, when her lips' soft pressure drained all my life away.

And while we sat together, beneath the Babul trees,
The fragrant, sultry weather cooled by the river breeze,
If passion faltered ever, and left the senses free,
We heard the tireless river decending to the sea.

I know not where she wandered, or went in after days,
Or if her youth she squandered in Love's more doubtful ways.
Perhaps, beside the river, she died, still young and fair;
Perchance the grasses quiver above her slumber there.

At Kotri, by the river, maybe I too shall sleep
The sleep that lasts for ever, too deep for dreams; too deep.
Maybe among the shingle and sand of floods to be
Her dust and mine may mingle and float away to sea.

Ah Kotri, by the river, when evening's sun is low,
Your faint reflections quiver, your golden ripples glow.
You knew, oh Kotri river, that love which could not last.
For me your palms still shiver with passions of the past.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010



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