Dear Little Cottage [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Heart of Spring (1919) and Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson (1934).]

Dear Little Cottage

’Tis not for the lilies, white lilies and tall:
The grass has outlived them, it grows by the wall
Of the dear little cottage that I know . .

’Tis not for the cherries — the cherries are wild,
And into their branches has clambered no child
To drink up the blood of a cherry . .

’Tis not for the river, hemmed in by the weir,
Or the lilt of the winds in the glow of the year
When the birds o’ the water make merry . .

A spell is upon me, and why should I stray
When I have fine company all the long day
In the dear little cottage that I know.

It is for the voices, the voices that blessed,
The lips that made music, the hands that caressed
In the dear little cottage that I know.

It is for the shadows that sit by the door,
The feet that go tripping the old broken floor
At night when the fiddles are shrieking.

It is for the counsel, long-loving and wise,
The hopes that were born in a legion of sighs . .
The lips (oh, the cold lips) are speaking.

It is for a temple enshrouded in mist,
A rosy girl raising her face to be kissed
In the dear little cottage that I know.



Source:
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, pages 54-55

Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Lothian Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 48-49

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