THIS MONTH THE ALMONDS BLOOM AT KANDAHAR
translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)
- HATE this City, seated on the Plain,
- The clang and clamour of the hot Bazar,
- Knowing, amid the pauses of my pain,
- This month the Almonds bloom in Kandahar.
- The Almond-trees, they sheltered my Delight,
- Screening my happiness as evening fell.
- It was well worth -- that most Enchanted Night --
- This life in torment, and the next in Hell!
- People are kind to me; one More than Kind,
- Her lashes lie like fans upon her cheek,
- But kindness is a burden on my mind,
- And it is weariness to hear her speak.
- For though that Kaffir's bullet holds me here,
- My thoughts are ever free, and wander far,
- To where the Lilac Hills rise, soft and clear,
- Beyond the Almond Groves of Kandahar.
- He followed me to Sibi, to the Fair,
- The Horse-fair, where he shot me weeks ago,
- But since they fettered him I have no care
- That my returning steps to health are slow.
- They will not loose him till they know my fate,
- And I rest here till I am strong to slay,
- Meantime, my Heart's Delight may safely wait
- Among the Almond blossoms, sweet as they.
- That cursed Kaffir! Well, he won by day,
- But I won, what I so desired, by night,
- My arms held what his lack till Judgement Day!
- Also, the game is not yet over -- quite!
- Wait, Amir Ali, wait till I come forth
- To kill, before the Almond-trees are green,
- To raze thy very Memory from the North,
- So that thou art not, and thou hast not been!
- Aha! Friend Amir Ali! it is Duty
- To rid the World from Shiah dogs like thee,
- They are but ill-placed moles on Islam's beauty,
- Such as the Faithful cannot calmly see!
- Also thy bullet hurts me not a little,
- Thy Shiah blood might serve to salve the ill.
- Maybe some Afghan Promises are brittle;
- Never a Promise to oneself, to kill!
- Now I grow stronger, I have days of leisure
- To shape my coming Vengeance as I lie,
- And, undisturbed by call of War or Pleasure,
- Can dream of many ways a man may die.
- I shall not torture thee, thy friends might rally,
- Some Fate assist thee and prove false to me;
- Oh! shouldst thou now escape me, Amir Ali,
- This would torment me through Eternity!
- Aye, Shuffa-Jan, I will be quiet indeed,
- Give here the Hakim's powder if thou wilt,
- And thou mayst sit, for I perceive thy need,
- And rest thy soft-haired head upon my quilt.
- Thy gentle love will not disturb a mind
- That loves and hates beneath a fiercer Star.
- Also, thou know'st, my Heart is left behind,
- Among the Almond-trees of Kandahar!
POEMS BY LAURENCE HOPE
|"This Month the Almonds Bloom at Kandahar" is reprinted from India's Love Lyrics. Trans. Laurence Hope. New York: John Lane Co., 1906.