new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Mark Antony
He had so much to do, this little Caesar! . . .
Only to eat his dinners, ride his horse,
Keep ear to ground, while fools held long discourse,
And profit by their lacks.
                                      Yet this Iíld say.
Caesar may claim another patch of ground;
Why, that may any castaway, whoís found
On some new island, babbling with its threat
Of half-heard sound, its blue-ringed emptiness.
But in the very rustle of her dress
Lost cities, bronze and ushu, triumph yet,
And I am conqueror in their gardens, where
To haunting sound is tricked the minstrel air.
There nardís become a thing of cheapened use,
Since keener fragrance doth her bosom loose.
Her angers are my wars, where I may know
Hiss of blue javelins, twang of well-strung bow.

 Or say he levies tribute. Caesarís bold . . .
But whereís the breast so well becomes his gold
As that which does mine own poor sapphires keep
Throbbing, or stilled in sleep?

Tell Caesar that the pearl of the earth is mine.
Her I dissolve in wine;
Good health, to any friend! . . . best, to my foe!
Bid him go conquer apes, anít like him so.


Last updated 24 September, 2003