Vale Of The Voluptuous

Leigh Blackmore

I have dreamed long of a certain remote vale, where the dark green boughs of luxuriant trees rise to the sky like lazily imploring sprites. Beneath the fronds of waving palms in the lustral breeze the dates grow thick with luscious fruit, whose weight bears low the branches. Voluptuous and purple-lidded I saw thee there, reclining at length on a carven couch inlaid with porphyry and mother-of-pearl. A dozen dusky maidens from exotic climes, from Samarkand and Petra, fanned thee and dipped thy fingers in scented water and painted thy toenails with the red of flaming sunsets.

O pale goddess, whose skin is as the milk of the hippogriff, whose hair is darkly lustrous as the deeps of night, thou who delightest me with thy smallest movement, whose raiment is the veil upon a thousand splendours – from the distant lands in my wanderings beyond the valleys thou knowest have I travelled night and day to find thee. Thou upholdest thy slender hand like a lily, and thy laugh is as silver strown upon the sands of an alien shore. In tranquil silence have I beheld thee at court with thy many suitors, seeing how thou dalliest with them but a little, but that thou turnest them away, and gaze with thy sea-green eyes into the distance, as though afar thou beheld a traveller in the desert.

Then have I beheld there is a downcast to thine eyes and a sadness that the proud upholding of thy head cannot disguise. But see, I have brought thee grapes, rich and purple, from the lands to the North; and hangings, richly woven with thread-of-gold from the lands to the South. And I have brought thee heady wines that foam, from the lands to the East, and garments of finest silk from the lands to the West. Gifts from all quarters of this strange dim world have I brought thee.

But these are only as toys and trinkets, for a deathless love I bring thee also, and this comes not from the lands to North or South or East or West, but from the reachless depths of the heart. Dismiss thou thine handmaidens and draw me with thy scarlet nails unto the white snows of thy bosom. For there may I find surcease of sorrow, and thy sadness may depart, until the guardian suns above shall fade to embers. And beneath their final slumber we go down together unto the end of all things.

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