The Sweetening of the Year [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

The Sweetening of the Year

When old birds strangely-hearted strive to sing
and young birds face the Great Adventuring:

When manna from the Heaven-appointed trees
bids us to banquet on divinities:

When water-birds, half-fearing each blue thing,
trace the blue heavens for the roving Spring:

When school-girls listening hope and listening fear:
They call that time the sweetening of the year.

* * * * * * *

When schoolboys build great navies in the skies
and a rebellion burns the butterflies:

Sunlight has strange conspiracies above
and the whole Earth is leaning out to Love:

When joys long dead climb out upon a tear;
They call that time the sweetening of the year.



Source:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], page 112

Editor’s notes:
manna = something gained freely and unexpectedly; in the Bible it refers to the food bestowed upon the Israelites in their journey from Egypt, hence the expression “manna from heaven” (also refers to spiritual nourishment; also refers to the substance exuded or excreted by certain insects and plants)

Speak Your Mind

*