Pale Neighbour [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).]

Pale Neighbour

Over the road she lives not far,
My neighbour pale and thin:
“Sweet is the world!” she cries, “how sweet
To keep on living in!”

Her heart it is a right red heart
That cannot stoop to pine;
Her hand-clasp is a happiness,
Her welcome is a wine.

Love, she will have it, is a lilt
From some lost comedy
Played long ago when the white stars
Lightened the greenery.

Ever she talks of earth and air
and sunlit junketing:
Gaily she says, “I know I shall
Be dancing in the Spring!”

Almost I fear her low, low voice
As one may fear the moon,
As one may fear too faint a sound
In an old uncanny tune.

. . . Over the road ’twill not be long —
Clearly I see it all . .
Ere ever the red days come up
Or the pale grasses fall.

There will be black upon us, and
Within our eyes a dew:
We shall be walking neighbourly
As neighbours — two and two.



Source:
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, pages 11-12

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 11-12

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