She stands a moment in the sun,
Athwart her harsh land’s red and green -
Hands of a serf, and warrior eyes
Of some flame-sceptred Irish queen -
One moment, still. A little sob
Shakes parted lips and straining breast,
As if she heard the feet of those
Who tread her own forsaken quest;
As if she did not care that Life
Had snatched the jewels from her hair,
But grieved that menial needs and base
Were they which left her palace bare.
Then, with a strange and iron hand,
Destiny reaches forth and grips
The ruined cities in her eyes,
The bitter beauty of her lips.
Happy National Poetry Day/Week everyone! It seems apt to publish a New Zealand (South-African born) poet for this week’s Tuesday poem, in celebration of National Poetry Day/Week. One of my all-time favourite New Zealand fiction reads is undoubtedly Robin Hyde’s The Godwit’s Fly, so I thought I’d showcase some of her poetry from her first collection this week. This collection was put together in 1929, with the assistance of John Schroder, who had published many of them already in the Christchurch Sun. I find that there is an elegiac quality to Hyde’s poetry, combined with this overflowing passion and mental acuity that almost overwhelms, at times. I have always been particularly drawn to the first stanza of this poem – such power, such colour-blocked landscape, such a proud woman – and that opening line: ‘She stands a moment in the sun’. Perfect.
Enjoy Andrew Bell’s sharp, thoughtful commentary on the NZ Post Book Award finalists and three stunning poems at the hub. Take a dip into some of the other Tuesday Poet’s blogs, too, this week & help us celebrate everything that is poetry!