new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Conquerors And Other Poems

All round this isle, the dark slow tides are drawn
To the female moon in glittering revolt;
Led on by silver banners, little waves
Troop from their dimlit homes in creeks and caves
Where no man feels against his breast the salt
Buffet of currents, that have scarce forgotten
Argoís old timbers, crumbling gaunt and rotten
To lose their glory in the Grecian dust.
Only the seagulls cry, perplexed by some
Dream mutiny in their ancient island home,
And like a trident, one great rock upthrust
Threatens the opal peace before the dawn.

Hellas and Albion and fierce Japan
Followed this leadership, to find their fate;
And ever in their heart the swarthy peoples
Kept the low pulsing of the Middle Sea;
And look in Venice, how the waves were free
Of swanlike floating stair and mirrored steeples.
Here are a little people, hardly knowing
That on the crest of Time they shall be great;
Nor may this change, though Attila in state
Unleash the challenge of his red heartís plan.
For not ten thousand legions shall unman
The cordon of swift waters round us flowing.


Last updated 11 September, 2003