The Road to the Hospital [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Beauty Imposes: Some Recent Verse (1938).]

The Road to the Hospital

(Over this road, running west through the Gardens to the Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, mothers carry their children day by day)

This is the road the fainting go on Summers keen and bold,
And this the way of the wounded in bitterness and cold.
Oh, some are proud in the loving arms, and some too faint to sigh:
I am with God in a reverence when Mother Love goes by.

They tell me that the city dust has filled the trees with grime,
And the flowers are pale — I will not have such heresy in my rhyme!
For the rainy eyes of the children have left them sweet and fair —
There is no stain on the clean gardens when Mother Love is there.

They tell me that this wide city is black with every sin,
And that Heaven’s gates are shut so fast we never may crowd in;
But the woes of little eyelids will teach us how to pray,
And our eyes will all go mothering with Mother Love to-day.

Vainly I seek the scented word, the witness of the Spring,
Glad with the honey at the heart for long remembering,
But dumb I am to the clean earth and dumb to the great sky —
I am with God in a reverence when Mother Love goes by.



Source:
Shaw Neilson, Beauty Imposes: Some Recent Verse, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1938, pages 12-13

Previously published in:
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 15 September 1934, p. 11

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