Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

(1840 - 1922 / England)

The Desert Wind - Poem by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

I went with happy heart (how happy!) a while since
Behind my camel flocks,
Piping all day where the Nile pastures end
And the white sand begins
Among the rocks.
The wheeling eagles mocked me high there from the skies,
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

I saw a lady pass, (what lady?) none could tell,
Nor of her tribe nor race,
Of Roum or Franjistan or Fars or Hind;
None knew. But I knew well
That her sweet face
Had blossomed first within the gates of Paradise.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

Within a tasselled frame, rich wrought, she sat and sang
A song of love so sweet,
That beast and bird and serpent came behind,
And lizard with shut fang
And faltering feet.
My flocks strayed after them, and I who heard likewise.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

Upon a camel tall (how tall!) she rode by me
Enrobed in white and red,
And veiled to her bright eyes in bands that bind
But hide not all souls see;
And on her head
A crown entwined of wool with gold and various dyes.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

Out to the wilderness, all day, we followed her.
By winding paths untrod,
O'er rock and plain none knew nor I could find,
Although my home was there;
And still we rode.
The creatures tired and stopped; but I went on with sighs.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

We came to a deep pool (how deep!) I knew of none
In all that land accursed,
A pool of waters clear with white shells lined,
And there we lighted down
And suaged our thirst,
And bathed our weary limbs, we two without disguise.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

Upon the brink we sat (ah me!) alone, we two,
In that fair empty place.
I kissed her hands and told her all my mind,
And dared her grace to sue,
Her utter grace.
And she with smiles said ``yea'' to my too blest surprise.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

Ah me, that night of stars, those bridal stars of heaven!
Ah me, those eyes of hers,
So sweet, so near, of that same starry kind,
Which drank their light ungiven,
(Poor blinded stars!)
And left them dark as they have left me wise.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

How shall I tell it? All three months of happy love
I lived with her, blest queen,
Fed on sole joy and what God's care might send
Of milk and treasure--trove
Of sorrels green,
And roots and tubers fine and samh which we made prize.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.

Since when I search the Earth (sad Earth!) in vain to win
Once more her wondrous voice,
Which led me forth to doom and left me blind,
Bereft of flocks and kin
And homely joys,
Of wife and children's love and to behold the skies.
The red blast of the desert wind
Hath seared mine eyes.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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