new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Learís Song
Thou King of Kings, that sets me here
Naked, without defence,
Now lend me greatness, to subdue
Their little insolence;

Not on their lips, which fitly wear
Their mockeryís livid stain,
But in my heart, where cockerelís crow
And wolfís snarl ring again.

Betimes is Learís self the thief,
Lear the murderous will;
Betimes the malice in his brain
Hisses like Goneril.

The great logs in my halls crash down,
Where royal fires consume.
It is the ashes of himself
That Learís state entomb.

It is the ember of his pride,
The lust grown stale and cold,
He must outwit in beggary
Who could not scourge with gold.

A naked man is safer man
Than him in silks, who feels
Against his throat no dagger sleet,
On his buttocks no windís weals;

Who on the blind heath turns him round,
Hearing no sob but his;
And knows at last what he hath not,
And guesses what he is.


Last updated 24 September, 2003