You and Yellow Air

YOU, AND YELLOW AIR by John Shaw Neilson
I dream of an old kissing-time
And the flowered follies there;
In the dim place of cherry-trees,
Of you, and yellow air.

It was an age of babbling,
When the players would play
Mad with the wine and miracles
Of a charmed holiday.

Bewildered was the warm earth
With whistling and sighs,
And a young foal spoke all his heart
With diamonds for eyes.

You were of Love's own colour
In eyes and heart and hair;


Years Ago

THE old dead flowers of bygone summers,
The old sweet songs that are no more sung,
The rose-red dawns that were welcome comers
When you and I and the world were young,
Are lost, O love, to the light for ever,
And seen no more of the moon or sun,
For seas divide, and the seasons sever,
And twain are we that of old were one.

O fair lost love, when the ship went sailing
Across the seas in the years agone,
And seaward-set were the eyes unquailing,
And landward-looking the faces wan,


Yea, the Roses Are Still on Fire

Yea, the roses are still on fire
With the bygone heat of July,
Though the least little wind drifting by
Shake a rose-leaf or two from the brier,
Be it never so soft a sigh.

Ember of love still glows and lingers
Deep at the red heart's smouldering core;
With the sudden passionate throb of yore
We shook as our eyes and clinging fingers
Met once only to meet no more.


Yankee Doodle

This poem is intended as a description of a sort of Blashfield mural painting on the sky. To be sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle, yet in a slower, more orotund fashion. It is presumably an exercise for an entertainment on the evening of Washington's Birthday.


Dawn this morning burned all red
Watching them in wonder.
There I saw our spangled flag
Divide the clouds asunder.
Then there followed Washington.
Ah, he rode from glory,
Cold and mighty as his name
And stern as Freedom's story.
Unsubdued by burning dawn


Working Girls

The working girls in the morning are going to work--
long lines of them afoot amid the downtown stores
and factories, thousands with little brick-shaped
lunches wrapped in newspapers under their arms.
Each morning as I move through this river of young-
woman life I feel a wonder about where it is all
going, so many with a peach bloom of young years
on them and laughter of red lips and memories in
their eyes of dances the night before and plays and
walks.


Wounded

Is it not strange? A year ago to-day,
With scarce a thought beyond the hum-drum round,
I did my decent job and earned my pay;
Was averagely happy, I'll be bound.
Ay, in my little groove I was content,
Seeing my life run smoothly to the end,
With prosy days in stolid labour spent,
And jolly nights, a pipe, a glass, a friend.
In God's good time a hearth fire's cosy gleam,
A wife and kids, and all a fellow needs;
When presto! like a bubble goes my dream:
I leap upon the Stage of Splendid Deeds.


X

I have decorated this banner to honor my brother.
Our parents did not want his name used publicly
-- from an unnamed child's banner in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The boatpond, broken off, looks back at the sky.
I remember looking at you, X, this way,
taking in your red hair, your eyes' light, and I miss you
so. I know,
you are you, and real, standing there in the doorway,
whether dead or whether living, real. -- Then Y
said, "who will remember me three years after I die?
What is there for my eye


Written In Australia

THE WIDE sun stares without a cloud:
Whipped by his glances truculent
The earth lies quivering and cowed.
My heart is hot with discontent:
I hate this haggard continent.

But over the loping leagues of sea
A lone land calls to her children free:
My own land holding her arms to me—
But oh, the long loping leagues of sea.

The grey old city is dumb with heat;
No breeze comes leaping, naked, rude,
Adown the narrow, high-walled street;


Worked-Out Mine

On summer nights when moonbeams flow
And glisten o’er the high, white tips,
And winds make lamentation low,
As through the ribs of shattered ships,
And steal about the broken brace
Where pendant timbers swing and moan,
And flitting bats give aimless chase,
Who dares to seek the mine alone?

The shrinking bush with sable rims
A skeleton forlorn and bowed,
With pipe-clay white about its limbs
And at its feet a tattered shroud;
And ghostly figures lurk and groan,


Winter-Time

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;


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