new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Conquerors And Other Poems

In Darkness
Lying awake in the dark
I have suddenly thought
(At the clasp of unseen fingers under my head),
"God is no more
Than any apple-bough, then,
Where the birds of the air have nest —
Than the little, hardly-sought
Home of the field-mouse, high in the tawny grain,
Where the spoiler looks in vain;
Than the lowly earthen door
Where the vixen runs to hide, as the bold hunt passes
In flurry of blood-red music and blood-crazed men;
Than the bending meadow grasses
Under the breast of the lark."

Lying awake in the night
I have watched with dread
The wheel of white stars, turning against the sky;
For the lack of one would mean that Beauty is dead
And her lovers’ lips shall parch at a well run dry.
Yet one by one, Saturn, Orion, Mars,
Betelgeuse, and the ancient unnamed stars
Slowly took wing from their purple nest on high,
A flock of wild swans straining in silver flight,
And the flare of their way to the shrouded dayspring streams.
Never a diamond plume from their wings shall fall,
For these are deathless, as all
Great or little, who yield them to loveliness.
God is no less
Than any galaxy, then —
Than the farthest palace of dreams
Built for the longing of men.


Last updated 11 September, 2003