new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

That was so slight a theme —
Wind-bells, no more,
Foam-bells, bells of the paraha, lipping
An island shore.
Frail as a dream within a dream,
And the ebb-tide backward slipping;
No gold on the waters; only grey, ghostly waters
Under my white boat slipping.

Grey sands, dear to the touch,
Dark in the tide-runs, starred
By the tiny claws alighted
Of white-throat terns, benighted
Here on the island. Not much
Save their harsh mutinies, and the faint bells swung
In twilight. The bells of the paraha, rung
Softly, through a dream unmarred.

Flowers with veined mauve petals,
Sea-born convolvulus, wind-swayed
And strangely rooted in the rootless sands,
Faint they spoke on; and the fusing of ancient metals,
Copper and silver and white-hot moon, was made
Plain in the crucible west by mighty hands,
By wizard hands.
And the paraha flowers were the people
Native to this place,
Here, where all else was nomad — the clouds’ grey steeple,
The moon alighting, the dawn with uncovered face,
The gulls’ cry, harsh and mocking,
And I in a white boat rocking,
Rocking and dreaming, by an island place.



Last updated 24 September, 2003