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John Shaw Neilson

A Protest and a Protest

A certain old maid at Port Victor
had many strange pets to afflict her,
her Kangaroos fought
with the emu's she caught
and when she protested, they kicked her

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The Smoker Parrot

He has the full moon on his breast,
The moonbeams are about hs wing;
He has the colours of a king.
I see him floating unto rest
When all eyes wearily go west,
And the warm winds are quieting.
The moonbeams are about his wing:
He has the full moon on his breast.

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Native Companions Dancing

On the blue plains in wintry days
The stately birds move in the dance.
Keen eyes have they, and quaint old ways
On the blue plains in wintry days.
The Wind, their unseen Piper, plays,
They strut, salute, reatreat, advance;
On the blue plains, in wintry days,
These stately birds move in the dance

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Beauty Imposes

Beauty imposes reverence in the Spring,
Grave as the urge within the honeybuds,
It wounds us as we sing.

Beauty is joy that stays not overlong.
Clad in the magic of sincerities,
It rides up in a song.

Beauty imposes chastenings on the heart,
Grave as the birds in last solemnities
Assembling to depart.

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The Break of Day

THE STARS are pale.
Old is the Night, his case is grievous,
His strength doth fail.

Through stilly hours
The dews have draped with love’s old lavishness
The drowsy flowers.

And Night shall die.
Already, lo! the Morn’s first ecstasies
Across the sky.

An evil time is done.
Again, as some one lost in a quaint parable,
Comes up the Sun.

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Tell Summer That I Died

When he was old and thin
And knew not night or day
He would sit up to say
Something of the fire within.
How woefully his chin
Moved so slowly as he tried
Some lusty word to say:
Tell Summer that I died.

When gladness sweeps the land,
And to the white sky
Cool butterflies go by,
And sheep in shadow stand;
When Love, the old command,
Turns every hate aside,
In the unstinted days
Tell Summer that I died.

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The Meeting of Sighs

YOUR voice was the rugged
old voice that I knew;
I gave the best grip of
my greeting to you.
I knew not of your lips—
you knew not of mine;
Of travel and travail
we gave not a sign.

We drank and we chorused
with quips in our eyes;
But under our song was
the meeting of sighs.
I knew not of your lips—
you knew not of mine;
For lean years and lone years
had watered the wine.

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Love's Coming

QUIETLY as rosebuds
Talk to thin air,
Love came so lightly
I knew not he was there.

Quietly as lovers
Creep at the middle noon,
Softly as players tremble
In the tears of a tune;

Quietly as lilies
Their faint vows declare,
Came the shy pilgrim:
I knew not he was there.

Quietly as tears fall
On a warm sin,
Softly as griefs call
In a violin;

[...] Read more

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May

Shyly the silver-hatted mushrooms make
Soft entrance through,
And undelivered lovers, half awake,
Hear noises in the dew

Yellow in all the earth and in the skies,
The world would seem
Faint as a widow mourning with soft eyes
And falling into dream.

Up the long hill I see the slow plough leave
Furrows of brown;
Dim is the day and beautiful: I grieve
To see the sun go down.

But there are suns a many for mine eyes
Day after day:
Delightsome in grave greenery they rise,
Red oranges in May.

[...] Read more

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Song be Delicate

Let your song be delicate.
The skies declare
No war — the eyes of lovers
Wake everywhere.

Let your voice be delicate.
How faint a thing
Is Love, little Love crying
Under the Spring.

Let your song be delicate.
The flowers can hear:
Too well they know the tremble,
Of the hollow year.

Let your voice be delicate.
The bees are home:
All their day's love is sunken
Safe in the comb.

[...] Read more

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