new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Mix the bowl deep with that old berried drink
Which no Prince else will covet, no fair woman,
Because it is a trivial, common stuff,
A laughter out of hedgerows, ripe and human.

Bruise the tough roots, shrewd jesting such as stirs
In tavern-rooms, flames thrusting through the slats.
We shall be hymned by better revellers
Than they whose feet prance purple in the vats.

Thus when they prate of pearls dissolved in wine
I shall lift glass to some girl gipsy-eyed;
You to a boy with fledglings in his cap,
Speaking the speckled lore of country-side.

I give you pebbles for your brooch, my Queen,
The yellow dust of sheepfolds for your cloak;
But for your under-robe, more thin than dreams,
The burning leaves wind off their spindled smoke.

Grave then your lips in that old noble smile
Of those who drank the fullest and the best;
And set, while time shall batter on our doors,
The asp of all disdain against your breast.


Last updated 24 September, 2003