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  ― 125 ―

Dirge John Shaw Neilson

GENTLY he walked with us, and gave of his spirit
Magic of dusk and dusk and the inner voice of the rain,
Gently he went from us and his place shall know him
Never again!

Largesse of wind and wing and the dear faces
Of hidden laughter he gave to us—these remain;
But he who was priest of the altar of lovely places. …
Never again!

Westward wheeling of swans' contralto crying,
Deep intoning to deep—and the hushed refrain
Of darkling sheoaks, banshee, and banshee sighing,
Never again!

Desolate sweet song of sorrowing mountain thrushes
From some dear dead September's castle in Spain—
Lilting low croon of the river song in the rushes. …
Never again!

Reed-sweet and delicate song of his sure finding
Who has trod the way of the spirit and tasted pain
He plucked from life—who shall know the gall of its binding
Never again!

Last song, last silence, flooding the dark and failing
Like a lost plover out on a windy plain. …
We, earth-bound, sad, strain songward unavailing,
Never again!




  ― 126 ―
Swallows shall come, swallows for Spring's returning,
Thrush answer thrush in the lull of the singing rain,
But he shall sing of Heart's Desire and its yearning
Never again!

He has gone hence to his own with the High Evangels,
Who shall return to Earth from their white domain,
Though we call, though we speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
Never again!

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