[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Heart of Spring (1919), Ballad and Lyrical Poems (1923), and Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson (1934).]
What is a rose — a white, white rose?
A sweetheart sweetening in the Spring:
Shyly she lives, and shyly grows,
Mourner and mystic — blossoming.
What is a rose — a red, red rose?
A woman proud, in a proud hour:
Scented of love, she overflows —
It is the ripening of the flower.
What is a rose, a yellow rose?
A woman grave, in the pale gold
Braver than all — she smiles and knows
It is the quiet’ning for the cold.
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, Sydney: The Bookfellow, 1919, page 56
Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson, Ballad and Lyrical Poems, Sydney: The Bookfellow in Australia, 1923, page 99
John Shaw Neilson (edited by R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Book Publishing Company, 1934, page 50
quiet’ning = a vernacular rendering of the word “quietening” (the act of becoming quiet; the act of ensuring less noise is made; making people or something become quieter)
Leave a Reply