The Good Season [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

The Good Season

The old mother talks, and her eyes will be dimming and dimming;
It is the good season that comes up, and, “Oh!” she will say,
“All summer the ducks do I see; they are swimming and swimming!
The barley it talks to the butterflies wheeling away.

“Oh! that was the season for all the long grass and the clover;
The oats they were over the fences, and seven foot high!
Our own little creek, it was flooded a dozen times over;
And water-birds came without warning to blacken the sky.

“But what did we think of? It was not the storing of money;
For he would be riding to see me the whole summer through;
How sweet was the scent of the world! it was shaking with honey
And I would be building my palaces up in the blue.

“The sun it was more like a moon; it was never so mellow;
Your heart would be thinking of plenty, and always at ease;
How drowsy the cattle were! Oh! and the butter was yellow!
All summer the little round parrots fell out of the trees.

“The shearing was late; for you never could get the fine weather;
’Twas close on to autumn the last of the wool was away.
The wheat was too rank, and the year was too rich altogether;
We started at Easter the second time cutting the hay.”

The old mother dreams, and the blood will be thinning and thinning;
Her eyes they go up to the heavens and over the ground;
She says, “I can see him still, laughing and losing and winning,
And oh! he looks long at me, riding off, all the year round.”

John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 156-157

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