Colour Yourself for a Man [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson (1934).]

Colour Yourself for a Man

The seers may chasten; the fools may bid the waters dance uphill;
The seers may sorrow that little of all in the world can heed their will:
The hills may fall to the vales, and earth forget where the rivers ran:
Listen, Sally! Stifle your woes: colour your eyes and lips and hose!
Colour yourself for a man!

Thirst is Heaven, and thirst is Hell, and every fire between;
And Famine is old as the Winter time, and Pain is an evergreen:
Thirst is the maker of thieves; so, take every colour you can!
— Every glitter about the day: colour your words on the tiresome way!
Colour yourself for a man!

Colour is life and hate and heat and a million joys beside:
’Tis vanity keeps the world awake, and the wealth in a man is pride:
Thirst is the mother of theft, and theft was old when the world began:
Listen, Sally! Stifle your woes: colour your thoughts and eyes and hose!
Colour yourself for a man!



Source:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], page 126

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