by Laurence Hope

Adela Florence Nicolson

Far in the Further East the skilful craftsman
Fashioned this fancy for the West's delight.
This rose and azure Dragon, crouching softly
Upon the satin skin, close-grained and white.
And you lay silent, while his slender needles
Pricked the intricate pattern on your arm,
Combining deftly Cruelty and Beauty,
That subtle union, whose child is charm.
Charm irresistible: the lovely something
We follow in our dreams, but may not reach.
The unattainable Divine Enchantment,
Hinted in music, never heard in speech.
This from the blue design exhales towards me,
As incense rises from the Homes of Prayer,
While the unfettered eyes, allured and rested,
Urge the forbidden lips to stoop and share;
Share in the sweetness of the rose and azure
Traced in the Dragon's form upon the white
Curve of the arm. Ah, curb thyself, my fancy,
Where would'st thou drift in this enchanted flight?

Last updated January 14, 2019