Song of the Enfifa River

by Laurence Hope

Adela Florence Nicolson

At day-break, when the tide was low
He came to bathe his slender feet,
And laughing, sported to and fro,
Across my waters cool and sweet.
Obedient to his Faith's decree
His sable hair was shorn away,
One curl was left, that floating free,
I longed to deck with silver spray.
His eyes were wide and full of light,
Young eyes, where dreams and fancies glow.
There was no star in Heaven so bright,
And I reflect the stars, and know.
He gave himself to my embrace,
Ah, Youth, confiding and unwise !
My Kisses clustered on his face
How should I render up my prize?
Yet he withdrew ; my waves were weak.
He loitered on my banks awhile,
Shook my caresses from his cheek. '
And left me with a careless smile.
I let him leave; my tides were low.
But, seeking succour of the Sea
At noon I felt the breakers flow
Across the bar, and join with me.
I waited in the heat; at length
Again he came to bathe alone.
Then, in the fullness of my strength.
I caught and held him for my own!
His strong young arms apart he flung,
His red lips cried, I had no care.
In eddies round his limbs I clung,
And rippled in and out his hair.
I bore him downwards to the Sea,
The white surf, met us on the sand
His beauty was made one with me
Who saw and loved it on the land.
I laid him down upon the bar,
Played with his hair, and kissed his eyes.
How cold these mortal lovers are!
He sleeps and makes me no replies.
My tides run low; he will not wake,
His hand drifts like an empty shell.
I stole him for his beauty's sake,
Alas, Enfifa did not well!
His young lips show no stir of breath.
Ah, - I begin to understand,
And I remember: - this is Death!
The haunting terror of the land.

Last updated January 14, 2019