new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Haunted Garden
The primulas are scanted of colour here,
They are as young lips knowing too little of love;
And the dusky weight of the laurel boughs above
Is a stern crown plaited for young brows lessoned in care.
Yea, and the scarlet shallop anemones
Bend in the wind for the warm white lute-string beach,
For the Orphic meadows no longing of mine can reach,
Who am prisoner here in the warded house of the trees.

But the small white poisonous flowers crumble into my days,
And the steel-bright arc of the fountain-drops pierces my heart.
I am as one who stumbles the yew-tree maze,
Where ever dreamer and dream are thrust further apart,
Till the little pools of starlight shine chill with danger,
Till the breath of the earth is a rising pearl-white smoke,
And he dare not stretch forth his hand, to touch the cloak
Of her who waits by the fountain, the motionless stranger.

And dusk is a statue, and thought is a chrysophrase set
Bleak on a brow half-seen through the leaning blue trees;
And the frail eve weighted by robes of sarcenet
Rests her sceptre of dreaming across her knees.
Heavy her spell upon heart, upon outstretched hands —
Only the ghost-world’s silver freights again
The barren orchard with blossom, limns the tall standing grain,
The watchful glistening spears of enchanted lands.


Last updated 24 September, 2003