The Hen in the Bushes [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

The Hen in the Bushes

Call me the man seeing
Too much in air:
Low by the little hen
Love it is there.

Winds of the Summer,
The red, the unkind,
Tilt at her motherhood
Resolute, blind.

As a Queen guarding
Her jewels so rare,
Patiently all the day
I see her there.

’Tis the Old Tyrant
To her body come,
He who will leave us all
Weighted and dumb.

He the Old Tyrant
Will many men slay,
He will most gladly
Burn women away.

He turns the peasant lad
To the raw soil,
He calls by candle-light
Slaves to their toil.

He it is urging up
Cities of sighs;
Who has seen Pity yet
Enter his eyes?

He it is under
The war and the moan,
He it is under
The lies on the stone.

Soon will the thin mother
With her brood walk;
Keen is the crow — and keen,
Keen is the hawk.

Call me the man seeing
Too much in air . . .
Low by the little hen
Love it is there.



Source:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 127-128

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