new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Conquerors And Other Poems

It was not I who walked in that street,
But another woman . . . I know not her name . . .
Clovis, or Anne; only the sweet
Breath of the limes, and this light, are the same.

One cricket sang, and so her heart reeled
And her youth was drunken on ecstasy.
Summer, summer . . . the vials unsealed
And the gold light sifting on girl and tree.

But slow and steadfast, under the leaves,
She moved in the torrent of moonbeam rain,
And the doves awoke, and cried from the eaves,
And the lime-boughs whispered, "She walks again."

For space of a moment, where the road ends,
She stood with her grave hands clasped at her breast;
And wine-red lilies were hers . . . and friends . . .
A lighted window, a place of rest.

It was not I who walked in that street,
Yet she used my body a moment. And I
Know (while the breath of the limes clings sweet)
That her laugh was truth, that death is a lie.


Last updated 11 September, 2003