new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Conquerors And Other Poems

Hold up, my hands, against these crumbling days
No stronger hands shall save thee in this hour,
Now the blind giant in his agony
Wrenches the pillars, that before he die
All in this evil house may know his power.
Hear our brave leaders shriek to one another,
"Save me, my friend." "Save yourself, oh my brother."
(And some flee burdened with their pilfered gold,
And some limp empty-handed, crazed and old.)

Look to the doorways, where the proud crests shone
And see like limping curs the nations run.
Crash upon crash . . . yet by unhurried ways
I am come unto the desolate hall alone,
And mount the stair, and seize the empty throne.

I am The Silenced. From my ageless dumb
Affronted calm, the last commands shall come
(Though not a warrior heed my least behest
Save the blind babe that suckles at my breast),
Yet mine to say if still arise your seed,
Or if the stricken grain be dead indeed
And mine the terror trumpet-thrill that tears
Down your red walls of twice a thousand years.

Now I will stretch my hand, and save the maimed
Giant who comes against me to destroy;
And make her very woman again, that shamed
Delilah whom the nation took for toy.
And man may choose the portent of his fate
Whether he rule in honour, and be great,
Or if The Silenced laugh; and laughing, face
The ring of spears, the unnumbered alien race.



Last updated 11 September, 2003