Little Dead Milliner [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

Little Dead Milliner

So she is gone from us, —
She whom we knew,
Of the face beautiful
And the eyes blue.
When the Earth only gives
Heart-ache and toil,
The purest will perish,
The sweetest will spoil.
— Tell me, O God,
Is there no spirit still in her
Who has been false to
This little dead milliner?

Blue eyes once showed to her
All the world fair,
Red sunlight made for her
Joy everywhere.
Hearts that are holiest,
Bright eyes and blind,
These make the tragedies
Of humankind.
— Is there no answer,
No sweet spirit still in her
Who has been false to
This little dead milliner?

Had she been dull and cold
As she was warm,
Had she but loved the calm,
Hated the storm;
Had all Creation been
Otherwise planned,
Had not God planted her
With his own hand,
Pain had not pressed her so . .
— Is there not still in her
Something that speaks for
This little dead milliner?

She in her fevers felt
Many fires burn;
Back to the bitter road
How could she turn?
Stars white, mysterious
Lighted the sky;
Dying she gazed at them —
Did she know why?
— Is there no answer,
No sweet spirit still in her?
Who has been false to
This little dead milliner?

Though in the years to come
We may forget,
Mourning eyes still shall make
All the Earth wet;
Young hearts shall know
The grim death that she died,
Fairest flowers are the flowers
Plucked in their pride.
— Tell me, O God,
Is there no spirit still in her
Who has been false to
This little dead milliner?



Source:
Shaw Neilson , Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, pages 30-32

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