Treasure Island

John Shaw Neilson

(22 February 1872 – 12 May 1942 / Penola, South Australia)

In the Dim Counties


In the dim counties
we take the long calm
Lilting no haziness,
sequel or psalm.

The little street wenches,
The holy and clean,
Live as good neighbours live
under the green.

Malice of sunbeam or
menace of moon
Piping shall leave us
no taste of a tune.

In the dim counties
the eyelids are dumb,
To the lean citizens
Love cannot come.

Love in the yellowing,
Love at the turn,
Love o' the cooing lip—
how should he burn?

The little street wenches,
the callous, unclean
—Could they but tell us what
all the gods mean.

Love cannot sabre us,
blood cannot flow,
In the dim counties
that wait us below.

Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010

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