new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

The Betrothal
When did the lion cease, lest the claw unsheathed should rend
That which he dragged through thorns to the yellowing grass of his lair?
When did the serpent weep, that his stony tear might mend
That which stood in his path, trancèd and half-aware?
Take not such leech to thy friend; of the jaws unsated beware.

Death is a root that strikes full deep in many a garden,
And the scent of its wide cream flowers may quicken a weary night.
But talk not to That in the boughs of prayer or pity or pardon;
Hew as you will. But the lord of the leaves has might.

Speak to her not of the sun, who is won of the darkness for ever,
She who has taken the vows, and sits at the dark godís side.
What may come to the hand that shall seek the twain to dissever?
Raped or drunken or willing, she is his bride,
Tied with the strong knot, tied.


Last updated 24 September, 2003