The Stolen Lament [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

The Stolen Lament

It has the seal of sorrow; it was born
In lamentation where sweet women died
And the red smoke came out upon the corn.

Leave it in pity — it is sealed of woe —
Lest you should hear the hisses of the Dead
Of Ireland seven hundred years ago.

Beauty of light is on it, scent of dew
That once in Heaven was, the bud that came
On trees of happiness that never grew.

Beauty it has that never came by words,
The lordly evidence of Summer-time,
And the deep adoration of the birds.

It has been lifted on rebellion’s red.
But listening in the calm we know that night
Is but a generous playtime for the Dead.

* * * * * * *

Its wealth of tears is not for you to know,
Lest you should hear the hisses of the Dead
Of Ireland seven hundred years ago.



Source:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], page 150

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