John Shaw Neilson

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

Old Granny Sullivan


A pleasant shady place it is, a pleasant place and cool -
The township folk go up and down, the children pass to school.
Along the river lies my world, a dear sweet world to me:
I sit and learn - I cannot go; there is so much to see.

But Granny she has seen the world, and often by her side
I sit and listen while she speaks of youthful days of pride;
Old Granny's hands are clasped; she wears her favourite faded shawl -
I ask her this, I ask her that: she says, 'I mind it all.'

The boys and girls that Granny knew, far o'er the seas are they,
But there's no love like the old love, and the old world far away;
Her talk is all of wakes and fairs - or how, when night would fall,
''Twas many a quare thing crept and came,' and Granny 'minds them all.'

The day she first met Sullivan - she tells it all to me -
How she was hardly twenty-one and he was twenty-three.
The courting days! the kissing days! - but bitter things befall
The bravest hearts that plan and dream. Old Granny 'minds it all.'

Her wedding-dress I know by heart; yes! every flounce and frill;
And the little home they lived in first, with the garden on the hill.
'Twas there her baby boy was born; and neighbours came to call,
But none had seen a boy like Jim - and Granny 'minds it all.'

They had their fights in those old days; but Sullivan was strong,
A smart quick man at anything; 'twas hard to put him wrong…
One day they brought him from the mine… (The big salt tears will fall)…
''Twas long ago, God rest his soul!' Poor Granny 'minds it all.'

The first dark days of widowhood, the weary days and slow,
The grim, disheartening, uphill fight, then Granny lived to know.
'The childer,' ah! they grew and grew - sound, rosy-cheeked and tall:
'The childer' still they are to her. Old Granny 'minds them all.'

How well she loved her little brood! Oh, Granny's heart was brave!
She gave to them her love and faith - all that the good God have.
They change not with the changing years; as babies just the same
She feels for them, though some, alas! have brought her grief and shame:

The big world called them here and there, and many a mile away:
They cannot come - she cannot go - the darkness haunts the day;
And I, no flesh and blood of hers, sit here while shadows fall -
I sit and listen - Granny talks; for Granny 'minds them all.'

Just fancy Granny Sullivan at seventeen or so,
In all the floating fin

Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010

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