A Woman by Mabel Forrest

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What were her eyes like? Have you seen the spears
Of grass trees, tipped with velvet soft and brown,
Yet lit with little flashing lights as when
The sun, thro' ripples, filters slowly down
And loses in the drifting weed, a glint
Of the immortal brightness of the skies?
Velvet as grass-spear tips and golden as
The lost sun flecks, the wonder of here eyes.

What was her mouth like? Have you seen the sun
On thund'ry nights blood red behind the range
Splashed where the cloud banks gather pile on pile,
Sullen, yet full of magic and of change?
The loves of gods that flame about the sky
Ere all the brightness o'er the world-rim dips,
Burning a man's heart up with the ripe glow,
And all the scarlet promise of her lips!

What was her throat like? Have you seen the sheep,
Fresh from the waters of the still wash pool,
All the stains gone, the yellow yolk washed out,
Leaving the purity of the virgin wool?
Or like a white crane's feather on the swamp,
By moonlight blue. Or lily buds afloat.
Take something from them all, the whitest white,
Crossed by blue veins, and there you have her throat.

What was her shape like? Take a slim young pine,
Straight, strong, and growing on the mountain side;
Add the firm curves of a fair woman's breasts,
Soft as white froth upon a racing tide.
Take a tall pine tree, swaying to the kiss,
The fickle loving of a scented breeze,
And join to that the easy swinging grace
You find in sweeping, drooping myall trees.

What was her hair like? Have you seen the corn
On the selection in the harvest time,
When the harsh challenge of the cockatoos
Shrieks through the patches of the stunted lime,
Red gold against the dry stalks hanging down?
That, of a warmer color and more rare,
Powdered with gold dust filched from hidden claims
That miners dream of? -- and you have her hair.

What was her love like? A white woman loved
A conqueror in Egypt long ago,
And when he died she hid a little snake
Close-nestled to her body's lines of snow.
Once in a thousand years such women are;
Their paths of love have ever thorny proved;
So, just because love was no more for her,
She sank and died -- that was the way she loved.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 March 1906

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 29, 2014 11:45 AM.

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