Pale Neighbour by John Shaw Neilson

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Over the road she lives not far,
   My neighbour pale and thin:
"Sweet is the world!" she cries, "how sweet
   To keep on living in!"

Her heart it is a right red heart
   That cannot stoop to pine;
Her hand-clasp is a happiness,
   Her welcome is a wine.

Love, she will have it, is a lilt
   From some lost comedy
Played long ago when the white stars
   Lightened the greenery.

Ever she talks of earth and air
   and sunlit junketing:
Gaily she says, "I know I shall
   Be dancing in the Spring!"

Almost I fear her low, low voice
   As one may fear the moon,
As one may fear too faint a sound
   In an old uncanny tune.

... Over the road 'twill not be long --
   Clearly I see it all
Ere ever the red days come up
   Or the pale grasses fall.

There will be black upon us, and
   Within our eyes a dew:
We shall be walking neighbourly
   As neighbours -- two and two.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 December 1913;
and later in
The Lone Hand, 16 September 1919;
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934; and
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 15, 2012 8:06 AM.

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