Ride Him Away [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

Ride Him Away

Now that I weary, lad o’ my heart,
I will not say that the sun is cold —
The days go heavily, joys depart,
The feet can never be quite so bold —
But you have the eyes . . . and the lights of gold
Run like rivers around the day:
When I am dead,
Bound to a bed,
Take my horse, my holiday horse,
Ride him away!

He will not tarry where grey men halt
And long confer of the coming doom;
But he will loiter (an old-time fault)
In shady place, where summer bloom
And whites and yellows defeat the gloom
While birds speak up to the heat of day:
When I am dead,
Heavy as lead,
Take my horse, my holiday horse,
Ride him away!

He will tarry long where the children play.
The young ears listen to sounds that stir
When we have wandered too far away . . .
The clouds come over, the lights demur,
The red goes into the lavender,
When Love has fallen, oh, who would stay?
When I am dead,
Nailed to a bed,
Take my horse, my holiday horse,
Ride him away!

He may stop and linger at some old tree,
A place of lovers and night come down,
Where grasses listen and flowers agree
Till the moon as white as a wedding gown
Puts her tremour upon a town,
And little lovers have tears to say:
When I am dead,
Straight in a bed,
Take my horse, my holiday horse,
Ride him away!



Source:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 108-109

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