Where dost thou stand behind them all, my lover, hiding thyself in the shadows? They
push thee and pass thee by on the dusty road, taking thee for naught. I wait here
weary hours spreading my offerings for thee, while passers-by come and take my
flowers, one by one, and my basket is nearly empty.
The morning time is past, and the noon. In the shade of evening my eyes are drowsy
with sleep. Men going home glance at me and smile and fill me with shame. I sit like a
beggar maid, drawing my skirt over my face, and when they ask me, what it is I want,
I drop my eyes and answer them not.
Oh, how, indeed, could I tell them that for thee I wait, and that thou hast promised to
come. How could I utter for shame that I keep for my dowry this poverty. Ah, I hug
this pride in the secret of my heart.
I sit on the grass and gaze upon the sky and dream of the sudden splendour of thy
coming - all the lights ablaze, golden pennons flying over thy car, and they at the
roadside standing agape, when they see thee come down from thy seat to raise me
from the dust, and set at thy side this ragged beggar girl a-tremble with shame and
pride, like a creeper in a summer breeze.
But time glides on and still no sound of the wheels of thy chariot. Many a procession
passes by with noise and shouts and glamour of glory. Is it only thou who wouldst
stand in the shadow silent and behind them all? And only I who would wait and weep
and wear out my heart in vain longing?
Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and
never a soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage to no country and to no
In that shoreless ocean, at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in
melodies, free as waves, free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not come yet? Are there works still to do? Lo, the evening has come down
upon the shore and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off, and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset,
vanish into the night?
The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee; and entering my heart
unbidden even as one of the common crowd, unknown to me, my king, thou didst
press the signet of eternity upon many a fleeting moment of my life.
And today when by chance I light upon them and see thy signature, I find they have
lain scattered in the dust mixed with the memory of joys and sorrows of my trivial days
Thou didst not turn in contempt from my childish play among dust, and the steps that I
heard in my playroom are the same that are echoing from star to star.
This is my delight, thus to wait and watch at the wayside where shadow chases light
and the rain comes in the wake of the summer.
Messengers, with tidings from unknown skies, greet me and speed along the road. My
heart is glad within, and the breath of the passing breeze is sweet.
From dawn till dusk I sit here before my door, and I know that of a sudden the happy
moment will arrive when I shall see.
In the meanwhile I smile and I sing all alone. In the meanwhile the air is filling with the perfume of promise.