The Woman of Ireland [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

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

The Woman of Ireland

It was a woman of Ireland in old days I knew
Being far down was embittered — her little voice grew
Loaded with all the sweet honey and having love too.

So would she sit in the long days and mad to the core
Shrill would she say to her Michael to make his heart sore,
How slow would she say to her Michael, “Now love me no more.”

Her man would be telling and telling the things he had told
How she would be always a sweetheart; but never consoled
Was she with the little feet falling down into the cold.

Sometimes she would say that the angels did stay at the door,
And sometimes she spoke to the fairies seen long before.
Then slow would she say to her Michael, “Now love me no more.”

How strange it did seem that a woman too weary to sigh,
That a woman should take all her honey to sweeten a lie,
That a woman should call to her lover to let his love die.

She would be thinking too long of the flowers and the dew
And of all striving and loving the young lovers do:
“Ah, sure,” she would say, “’tis a famine up there in the blue.”

How often at even come little blue clouds in the sky
And she would be knowing their meaning, would make not a sigh,
But taking up all her sweet honey would call a good-bye.

Long would she sit in the summer, and mad to the core
Slow would she say to her Michael to make his heart sore,
How slow would she say to her Michael, “Now love me no more.”



Source:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Melbourne: Lothian Publishing Company, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 106-107

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