[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson (1934).]
Dolly has fashioned a wee bird home — two white eggs in a nest:
I dare not laugh at a holy thing, or a place where the young may rest:
Rude it is, but the mother love in Dolly beats home to me:
It shouts aloud of the heights of love and the wells of its melody.
Lips and eyes in the summer time and the faintest feet are bold:
Colours come to the heart and sing the song that is young and old:
The skies salute and the winds salute and the face of the earth is kind —
But Dolly can never come out to see, for Dolly is lame and blind.
Dolly is wise at eleven years old, for the dark has been her law:
Her body is put in a frozen place that only a love can thaw:
Love is keen in this that her two little hands have wrought for me:
It tells of wooing and joy and pain, and the pulse of the greenery.
I go out where the joys awake and the glistening lovers talk;
Joy is there in the young bird’s flight and joy in the young child’s talk;
Joys alight with the honey bees at the gates of the honey comb;
But ’tis a piece of the endless dark where Dolly is chained at home.
Dolly is all for love, it speaks in a thousand ways and shrill:
A home she heats with a good red heart, as a woman ever will:
The poor little nest is lined with love as warm as a man may find:
Out of the blackness light is called — and Dolly is lame and blind.
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 91-92
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