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This poem is taken from PN Review 158, Volume 30 Number 6, July - August 2004.

Two Poems Les Murray


Mallee poet John Shaw Neilson
never went to peremptory school.

He loved the word dim,
balm for his eyes. The blinding book
was the reading his sight allowed him.

As a lover, he was a mystic. No who.
It was green as the childhood of music;
the sun on the outside of blue
combed blonde all through his lieder.

He shoved a shovel under rock
until white-hot wore brown
and Jesus! cried lamplit mates at
lines he got them to spell down.

All the colours of inside a pumpkin
striped the Mallee in rain
but Neilson's own pain

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