new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Conquerors And Other Poems

Ah, how shall I ever be torn away from these grasses?
Out of the deeps where the Canterbury bells,
Gravely rung by the bees, have whispered the knells
Of purblind road and a mad world’s shadowy riot?
Out of the charmèd circle, the blackbird’s singing,
Eventide’s sable winging?
These I have known as a child. These I can trust —
Yet my staff has taken it wings. Leave them I must.

Yet this old garden, silent so many years,
Finds its voice in a twilight shining like tears . . .
Here’s the place where the red morocco shoes
Lost their way in the larkspurs’ dazzle of blues;
Here’s where the thrush, grown sick of the wild dark cherries,
Eats his fill of the bright coprosma berries;
Here’s where the love that breaks its heart and passes
Sobbed for an hour alone in the hushed, dim grasses;
Here I was comforted, slept, woke in the morn
To the call of a bird forlorn
(And the long road bent to carry me into the wild
Knows not the heart of a child).
Here there was love . . . Well, over the hills and on.
But there’s never a sweeter haven day looks upon,
And when the night grows suddenly dark and steep
Here’s where my heart will sleep.


Last updated 11 September, 2003