new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

The Dwelling
There stands the dwelling. Though you never come,
See how I set the doorway just so wide
That it may frame the changeling trees outside
You would love best, slim truants from the green
Strong-kelp of bush, half frightened to be seen
So near lit windows, blur of cobalt smoke.
In time these, linking boughs, shall venture near,
Sapling sing back to leaf, "Nay, naught to fear —
Quiet the habitation, dreams its folk."
You will not come. But I for you, most dear,
Shall watch daylong my doorway space the blue,
Shall watch through latticed boughs surprise of wings,
Add moving hushed among familiar things
Shall fold away the lovely woof for you.

And all you would have loved, but may not own,
Crude earthen vessels, weavings stealing soul
From hands that made them, ancient blue of delft,
Copper’s flushed flags — I set them on the shelf
Ordered for you. The courtiers to the throne
Brought golden gifts, but the old foster-mother
Gave memory of her breasts, the small milk-brother
With sharp blue eyes spied out where treasures grow,
And brought the year’s first strawberries, in the bowl
Of clay he made, the sweetest milk to flow,
And peeled white whistles. Those two, lacking words,
Carved him their love in tiny stags and birds.
One dusk shall I lie tranquil on this bed,
And though no footfall crisps beneath the trees
Yet in the mirror I shall watch your head
Turn, half asleep; the candle’s stalk unfold
Its tall ellipse, the bud of blue and gold,
And you stretch out your arms — at ease, at ease.
Then let the darkness wind me how it please.


Last updated 24 September, 2003