Tarafa

The tent lines these of Kháula in stone--stricken Tháhmadi.
See where the fire has touched them, dyed dark as the hands of her.
'Twas here thy friends consoled thee that day with thee comforting,
cried; Not of grief, thou faint--heart! Men die not thus easily.
Ay, here the howdahs passed thee at day--dawn, how royally!
stood for the Dédi pastures: a white fleet they seemed to thee,
Ships tall--rigged from Adáuli--of Yámin the build of them--
wandering wide the night through, to meet at the sunrising.
Thus climbed they the long wave--lines, their prows set how loftily!
ploughing the drifted ridges, sand heaped by the sandseers.

Alas for the dark--lipped one, the maid of the topazes,
hardly yet grown a woman, sweet fruit--picking loiterer!
A girl, a fawn still fawnless, which browses the thorn--bushes,
close to the doe--herd feeding, aloof in the long valleys.
I see her mouth--slit smiling, her teeth,--nay, a camomile
white on the white sand blooming and moist with the night--showers.
Sun--steeped it is, pure argent, white all but the lips of her,
these are too darkly painted to shrink from the sunburning.
The face of her how joyous, the day's robe enfolding her,
clean as a thing fresh fashioned, untouched by sad time--fingers.

Enough! New joys now claim me. Ay, mount and away from her!
Here on my swift--foot camel I laugh at love's bitterness.
Ship--strong is she, my nága, my stout--timbered road--goer,
footing the long--lined path--way--a striped cloak--in front of us.
Steel tempered are her sinews. She runs like an ostrich--hen,
one which has fled defying the ash--plumed proud lord of her.
Out--paces she the best--born, shank still on shank following,
threading the mazes lightly. Ah, what foot shall follow her?
The spring--long on Kufféyn she has wandered, her kind with her,
pastured in pleasant places, the rain--watered thyme--valleys,
Has turned to her herd's calling, aloft in wrath brandishing,
scared by the thick--furred red thief, that proud tuft the tail of her.
Her tail sways this and that way--a falcon, the wings of him
bating her flanks impatient: erect stands the bone of it--
So lasheth she in anger anon her croup--rider's knee,
then her own shrunken udder, a drought--withered water--skin.
Note well her limbs' perfection, her thighs like the elbow--worn
jambs of a city gateway, two smooth shafts of porphyry.
Her barrel, a stone well--mouth, like bent bows the curves of it,
caved where the neck--shaft enters, ends in an arched hollow.
Deep dens are her two arm--pits, a tree--trunk with cavities.
Bows are her rib--bones bended, her spine the hands holding them.
Her elbows are twin buckets, the pails of a water--man
wide--set, the neck between them the strong man who carries them.
Bridge--like, and Roman--builded! How swore he its architect
none should leave work or loiter, its key--stone unlaid by them!
Red chestnut is her chin--tuft, a vast vault the back of her.
Swift--step her hind--feet follow the path of her fore--footing.
Her legs are a cord twisted. Towards them the arms of her
slant from the shoulders outward, a tent--roof the slope of them.
So sways she, the strong--skulled one, and lightly her shoulder blades
rise from her spine alternate, arhyme with the march of her.
Like rain--pools in the smooth rock, so, flecking the sides of her,
white stand the girth--marks, witness once of the sores on them.
Her neck, how tall, how proud--set! Behold her! She raises it
high as in ships of Díjleh the point of a stern--rudder.
Her head--piece a stout anvil, and, joined to it hardily
sharp as a file the neck--ridge, fixed as a vice to it.
Her jowl a Syrian parchment, clean vellum the lip of her,
smooth as a hide of Yémen, no skin--crease nor fold in it.
Her eyes two mirrors shining, her bent brows the shade of them, pitted with deep--set hollows, as rock--holes for rain--water.
Eyes dark--rimmed, pure of dust--stains. You gaze in the depths of them as in a wild cow's wide eyes, scared for the calf of her.
Ears fearful of the night--sounds, the whispers, the murmurings
caught in the darkness passing--night--day: they can rest never.
Their thorn--tips tell her lineage, a wild bull's of Háumala
raging alone forsaken; her breeding you read in them.
Heart watchful of strange dangers, yet stout in the face of them.
Firm as a test--stone standing where cleft lie the base pebbles.
Lip slit, nose pierced for nose--ring, how slender its cartilage!
Nobly she lowers it running and stretched to the front of her.
I strike at her, my nága: I force her: I hurry her,
while in our path the false--lights lure us to follow them.
The gait of her how rhythm
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Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt was an English poet and writer. more…

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"Tarafa" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Jun 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/38817/tarafa>.

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