Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Monday, 9 June 2014

John Shaw Neilson






Most readers will have heard of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson, at school, and encountered their works in popular culture, but mentioning the name of John Shaw Neilson would likely generate a blank look.

Yet this poet, a contemporary of Lawson and Paterson, wrote some exquisite material.

When you consider the life he lived, and the area he was brought up in – always marginal country, and often in the grip of drought, the lyrical intensity of his work is breathtaking.

It begs to be put to music, and Paul Kelly did just that.

Hence the clip above.

Jimmy Little also covered it.

I saw Kelly perform it live in the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba during the Foggy Highway tour, and he did Neilson and this work justice.

The Poem - 

Surely God was a lover
When He bade the day begin
Soft as a woman’s eyelid
Fine as a woman’s skin
Surely God was a lover
All burning with desire
When He called the night to come down
And set the day on fire
Surely God is a lover
Surely God is a lover
Surely God was a lover
When He made the driving rain
A woman must have left Him
Weeping in a waste of shame
Surely God was a lover
With the madness love will bring
He wrought while His love was singing
And put her soul in the spring
Surely God was a lover
When He made the trees so fair
In every leaf a glory
Caught from a woman’s hair
Surely God was a lover
You can see it in the flowers He grows
His love’s eyes in the violet
Her sweetness in the rose
Surely God was a lover

9 comments:

Jack O'Toole said...

Following Joan Evatt on twitter re the turc

Jack O'Toole said...

btw just checked the Cat, the TURC and Kathy Jackson no longer exist, if you want to know why check her performance in the witness box this morning. Oh and no mention of Kouks response.

1735099 said...

Oh and no mention of Kouks response.

There is now. They're calling it "lies".
Thanks for the link.

Jack O'Toole said...

The AMA intervenes on tobacco.
https://ama.com.au/media/ama-condemns-australians-promotion-smoking-and-big-tobacco

Jack O'Toole said...

Peter Wicks at the RCTU on twitter;
https://twitter.com/madwixxy

Jack O'Toole said...

Here is Latham on the RCTU attempt to get Gillard
in the AFR.
http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/there_is_no_trail_that_leads_to_g7WFnIxImpEjP2bZmclIcI

Jack O'Toole said...

Oops are they falling apart, this from the Aus
http://m.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/kathy-jackson-supporter-reported-to-police-over-alleged-intimidation/story-e6frg6nf-1226960411376

Jack O'Toole said...

Someone has done the homework and spiked Murdochs guns.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/smoke-and-mirrors-as-big-tobacco-fights-australian-plain-packaging-law-1.1837263

Anonymous said...

The Kouk today.
http://thekouk.com/blog/the-australian-sinks-to-a-new-low-on-tobacco.html#.U6YZqpS1Y68

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