All the World’s a Lolly-Shop [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Heart of Spring (1919) and Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson (1934).]

All the World’s a Lolly-Shop

Life is behind the counter, and
he waits on all who buy;
He has a sweet for every mouth,
a smile for every sigh;
And ’tis the greatest miracle
that ever did befall —
He has so many customers
and yet he serves them all.

Now, some do fear too much the powers
that would all joy retard;
And some bite slow and gingerly,
and others quick and hard;
And some look ever left and right
and some have little care —
For all the world’s a lolly-shop
and always trading fair.

Life is behind the counter, and
he knows not how to frown:
His talk is of a lad’s delight
and of a wench’s gown:
He puts the hot love on the lip,
and red blush on the skin,
And ever to his spacious shop
the customers come in.

But when the sweetness leaves the sweet
and sugars bring no joy,
May we have love of tenderling —
some gracious girl or boy;
And when we have not heart to love
we are not wanted then,
So let us die as ladies calm
and courteous gentlemen.

When we shall face the weather bleak
outside the trembling wall,
Can we be sure of taste of bliss
or any shop at all?
So let us not despise the place
where we had feastings rare,
For all the world’s a lolly-shop
and always trading fair.



Source:
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, pages 77-78

Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Lothian Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 69-70

Editor’s notes:
tenderling = a young child (may also refer to someone who has been mollycoddled or who is weak or effeminate; also may refer to a budding tip of one of a deer’s antlers)

Speak Your Mind

*