Surely God was a Lover [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).]

Surely God was a Lover

Surely God was a lover when He bade the day begin
Soft as a woman’s eyelid — white as a woman’s skin.

Surely God was a lover, with a lover’s faults and fears,
When He made the sea as bitter as a wilful woman’s tears.

Surely God was a lover, with the madness love will bring:
He wrought while His love was singing, and put her soul in the Spring.

Surely God was a lover, by a woman’s wile controlled,
When He made the Summer a woman thirsty and unconsoled.

Surely God was a lover when He made the trees so fair:
In every leaf is a glory caught from a woman’s hair.

Surely God was a lover — see, in the flowers He grows,
His love’s eyes in the violet — her sweetness in the rose.



Source:
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, page 51

Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Lothian Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], page 45

Editor’s notes:
wile = craftiness, cunning, trickery used to ensnare or manipulate someone, especially to beguile, entice, or seduce someone (commonly used in the plural sense, such as in the phrase “womanly wiles”)

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