What is a rose — a white, white rose?
A sweetheart sweetening in the Spring:
Shyly she lives, and shyly grows,
Mourner and mystic — blossoming.
What is a rose — a red, red rose?
A woman proud, in a proud hour:
Scented of love, she overflows —
It is the ripening of the flower.
What is a rose, a yellow rose?
A woman grave, in the pale gold
Braver than all — she smiles and knows
It is the quiet’ning for the cold.
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, page 56
Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Lothian Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], page 50