new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

Persephone in Winter

Ultima Thule
There is time now. The idle guests have gone.
Come in, if you are weary; you shall hear
No casual footstep loiter on this stair.
The lamp, the flowers, the wine, wait here alone,
And still a fire flickers on the stone.
Ah, had you come but when that fire was new,
When the tall princely flames leapt gold and blue.
There is naught here to show you, save a bough
Of almond-blossom, some few petals blown
Carelessly round the jar, a-withered now;
But night is like a dense blue jungle, grown
About this room . . . the light seems carved in stone . . .
And, like the lanthorn of one seeking far,
Shines in the patient glimmer of a star.

God knows if these and I be one indeed,
If they are flowers nurtured in my heart,
Or if their separate beauty gleams apart
In other fields, and there was stayed the need
Of your dear hands and without help of mine
Long since. But here at least stands free the shrine,
With dreams astir like swallows in the eaves,
With silence etched like moonlight on the leaves.


Last updated 24 September, 2003