He Sold Himself to the Daisies [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

He Sold Himself to the Daisies

He stayed too long in the sunlight,
He was so thin and shy,
He sold himself to the daisies
When no one strove to buy.

They called him hopeless coward,
They called him dull and mean,
Because he spoke to the people
His elders had not seen.

Slow were his eyes and only
The dull speech on his tongue,
He sold himself to the daisies
When a summer day was young.

For the daisies came together,
And they made no boastful sound,
And the grasses fell as playmates,
Over the green ground.

The traders knew no pity,
They called him shapeless clown,
And they put long prayers upon him
And chained him in a town.

But he rose ere the day had broken,
He rose when the stars hung high,
And his heart did hope within him
To die as the daisies die.

The daisies climb together,
They meet not death alone,
Their only life is loving,
And the daisies know their own.

They make no changeless Heaven,
No God with a furious Law,
And the dreamer under his eyelids
Saw that the daisies saw.

The traders saw him loiter
(And he had small heart to toil)
They said he was born to evil,
A black weed on the soil.

The clouds came thick and thicker,
The blue winds one by one
Baffled his hopeless body,
Carried him out of the sun.

They gave to him small pity
Of priest or prayer or stone,
But the daisies climbed together
And the daisies knew their own.

John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 139-140

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