new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Nay, to-day we give no audience to patient Kings and Queens,
To the embassy of glistering English trees.
We refrain from curtsey-bobbing on the heartís bland village greens,
Our business is with blackberries.

To-day I whittle the world as a boy may whittle a stick
To a blue-cleft breathing valley and the blackberries bending over.
She is stained with berries and kisses, with the hard-pressed quick
Kisses of her blackberry lover.

Darken the juices of berries on sunsweet mouth and hands,
But his is the drawn pavilion of shadow under her breast,
And a gathering what may please him, in the brown and lavish lands
Whose lady stoops the boughs at his behest.

And he may seek as he list new wine of passion or mirth,
Lady of old frail porcelain, nymph among English trees ó
But he will remember the beating of her heart against the earth,
And the wild purple jest of blackberries.


Last updated 24 September, 2003