new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

The Paladins
Death gathered in the paladins
For very shame, lest they should see
What next chill phalanx of revenge
March in the plumes of chivalry;

Lest men who fought beleaguerèd
Run mad and utter blasphemies
To hear rent womb and maidenhead
Answer, "Here lie thine enemies!"

Lest Omdurman, Arabia,
Bewildered fling their weapons down
To aid the trapped and choking tide
Penned in the phosgene’s taken town.

Death took a starveling peasant lad,
And hid blue eyes and beardless chin
Behind a gas-mask: "Be thou glad,
My darling and my paladin!"


Last updated 21 September, 2003