new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Red Berries
O, red berries, red berries!
Surprise in the wilderness,
Coral on dark green dress.
Nay, don’t tell me she’s blank,
My own land; she makes things —
Insects like sticks, insects with leaf-shaped wings,
Wise fishes, no-winged bird —
Surprises so absurd
They leave the singer dumb,
A stockfish for a word,
One word, wherewith to thank
These quaint, as from her crucible they come.
Bugs with big odours; white repellent grubs,
Manna for chieftains; here the fairy tubs
Of tree-fern logs, fallen and hollowed out,
Bright-fringed with fern; here the full crimson shout
Of rata, set ablaze; but more than this,
Supreme, the last show of her laughing kiss,
Rowan-round, but their own dark,
A forest’s exclamation mark,
Berries, red berries! —
Bright impudent bobbins, half the size of cherries,
But twice as tasty for her wild-wood-pigeons.


Last updated 24 September, 2003