Laurence Hope

(1865-1904 / India)

Memory - Poem by Laurence Hope

How I loved you in your sleep,
With the starlight on your hair!

The touch of your lips was sweet,
Aziza whom I adore,
As I lay at your slender feet,
And against their soft palms pressed,
I fitted my face to rest.
As winds blow over the sea
From Citron gardens ashore,
Came, through your scented hair,
The breeze of the night to me.

My lips grew arid and dry,
My nerves were tense,
Though your beauty soothe the eye
It maddens the sense.
Every curve of that beauty is known to me,
Every tint of that delicate roseleaf skin,
And these are printed on ever atom of me,
Burnt in on every fibre until I die.
And for this, my sin,
I doubt if ever, though dust I be,
The dust will lose the desire,
The torment and hidden fire,
Of my passionate love for you.
Aziza whom I adore,
My dust will be full of your beauty, as is the blue
And infinite ocean full of the azure sky.

In the light that waxed and waned
Playing about your slumber in silver bars,
As the palm trees swung their feathery fronds athwart the stars,
How quiet and young you were,
Pale as the Champa flowers, violet veined,
That, sweet and fading, lay in your loosened hair.

How sweet you were in your sleep,
With the starlight on your hair!
Your throat thrown backwards, bare,
And touched with circling moonbeams, silver white
On the couch's sombre shade.
O Aziza my one delight,
When Youth's passionate pulses fade,
And his golden heart beats slow,
When across the infinite sky
I see the roseate glow
Of my last, last sunset flare,
I shall send my thoughts to this night
And remember you as I die,
The one thing, among all the things of this earth, found fair.

How sweet you were in your sleep,
With the starlight, silver and sable, across your hair!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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