new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

In the Lane
I’d like to forget now, just for the one clear minute,
Or more, if my querulous heart would let me be,
Life and everything in it
Save this. Once on a day, under a crab-apple tree
Stood an old white horse with a velvety Roman nose,
And a child reached up to pat him — ah, warily! —
Since lately she’d met with a rose
Of damask petals, and fiercely indignant bee.
But the old white horse liked apples. He stood as still,
Munching them there, as the shadows brushed on the hill
In glades of amber and purple. The faint wet tang
Of macrocarpa leaves crept into her heart.
There was the world, apart
From all but an old white horse, a child, and a thrush that sang;
It might have been something of Schumann’s; the child didn’t know —
Far happier so.
There was no harm in that — in stroking a velvety nose,
Hearing the crunch of apples, looking at leaves in the lane.
No clever, treacherous torture, to work in the brain —
Everything simple and plain,
A bright-edged beautiful peace, that loves you and goes —
Lie quiet. Perhaps, if you’re still, it may come again.


Last updated 21 September, 2003