Sunday, March 26, 2017

I So Liked Spring / Charlotte Mew


I So Liked Spring

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;–
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing,–
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

~~
Charlotte Mew (1869-1928), 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Return of Spring / Pierre de Ronsard


Return of Spring

God shield ye, heralds of the spring!
Ye faithful swallows, fleet of wing,
    Houps, cuckoos, nightingales,
Turtles, and every wilder bird,
That make your hundred chirpings heard    
    Through the green woods and dales.

God shield ye, Easter daisies all,
Fair roses, buds, and blossoms small,
    And he whom erst the gore
Of Ajax and Narciss did print,      
Ye wild thyme, anise, balm, and mint,
    I welcome ye once more!

God shield ye, bright embroidered train
Of butterflies, that on the plain
    Of each sweet herblet sip;      
And ye, new swarms of bees, that go
Where the pink flowers and yellow grow
    To kiss them with your lip!

A hundred thousand times I call
A hearty welcome on ye all!      
    This season how I love —
This merry din on every shore —
For winds and storms, whose sullen roar
    Forbade my steps to rove.

~~
Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585)
translated by Henry Francis Cary (1772-1844)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Awake, thou Spring / Thomas Campion


Awake, thou Spring

Awake, thou spring of speaking grace, mute rest becomes not thee!
The fairest women, while they sleep, and pictures, equal be.
O come and dwell in love's discourses,
     Old renewing, new creating.
The words which thy rich tongue discourses,
     Are not of the common rating!

Thy voice is as an Echo clear, which Music doth beget,
Thy speech is as an Oracle, which none can counterfeit:
For thou alone, without offending,
     Hast obtained power of enchanting;
And I could hear thee without ending,
     Other comfort never wanting.

Some little reason brutish lives with human glory share;
But language is our proper grace, from which they sever'd are.
As brutes in reason man surpasses,
     Men in speech excell each other:
If speech be then the best of graces,
     Do it not in slumber smother!

~
Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
from The Third and Fourth Book of Ayres, 1617

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thomas Campion biography

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dirty Spring / Edward Sapir


Dirty Spring

The streets are filled with muck,
A dirty mess of melting snow and mud,
Splashing recklessly
As heavy-footed horses trot along.
Down from the snow-encrusted roofs
An icy dirty trickle pelts the pavement,
Little splashes mid the universal splash.
And the sky is blotched with dirty-gray cloudlets
Speeding under the sun.
The porches dribble with wet and they gently steam
Where the sun, piercing the dirty cloudlets,
Can cook them.
An irritated wind blows intermittently,
Banging doors, scattering wisps, napping capes and skirts.

The snow-locked beauty of winter is gone,
The rigors are loosening up;
Clean summer's not here yet.
The city moves from cleanly cold to cleanly warmth
Immersed in dirt.

Therefore, my friends, take heart!
You must not despair
When the passage from old to new is dirty;
When you ve left the old realm of glittering cold
And have not yet reached the new realm of glistening warmth;
When dead tradition is back of you,
When the new-born promise is off ahead of you,
And you struggle and splash in a welter of mud.

~~
Edward Sapir (1884-1939)
from Dreams and Gibes, 1917

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]



Sunday, March 12, 2017

March / William Morris


March

Slayer of winter, art thou here again?
O welcome, thou that bring’st the summer nigh!
The bitter wind makes not thy victory vain,
Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky.
Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dry
Make April ready for the throstle’s song,
Thou first redresser of the winter’s wrong!

Yea, welcome March! and though I die ere June,
Yet for the hope of life I give thee praise,
Striving to swell the burden of the tune
That even now I hear thy brown birds raise,
Unmindful of the past or coming days;
Who sing, “O joy! a new year is begun!
What happiness to look upon the sun!”

O, what begetteth all this storm of bliss,
But Death himself, who, crying solemnly,
Even from the heart of sweet Forgetfulness,
Bids us, “Rejoice! lest pleasureless ye die.
Within a little time must ye go by.
Stretch forth your open hands, and, while ye live,
Take all the gifts that Death and Life may give.”

~~
William Morris (1834-1896)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Morris biography

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March (O Wind of March) - J. Ashby-Sterry

from The Social Zodiac:

March

O Wind of March! O biting breeze!
It nips the nose and nips the trees;
     It whirls with fury down the street,
     It makes us flee in quick retreat,
And gives us cold and makes us sneeze!

It makes us cough and choke and wheeze,
With painful back and aching knees;
     With dire discomfort 'tis replete,
          O Wind of March!

Our hands we're glad enough to squeeze,
In cuffs and muffs and muffatees;
     'Tis charged with blinding, cutting sleet,
     It spoils our temper, chills our feet,
And brings the Doctor lots of fees —
          O Wind of March!

~~
J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March in Tryon / Florence D. Snelling


March in Tryon

I

In the sweet March morning
  On the upland road
Sunshine and Blue Moth
  And I were abroad.

Like a voice the Silence   
  Where old leaves lay dead:
“Make straight a highway
  For the Spring!” it said.


II

O East, there still are stars (a sign for sleep!)
  Like daffodils in a dark garden springing,
While the white moon slips down that other deep
  Of West, with low clouds clinging.
We wake for day, my armored-pine and I,
But only Watchman Wind goes lightly by,
  His “All’s well!” singing.


III

I have listened, O wind —
I must go.
The valleys below
Into blossom are breaking,
But snow
I shall find
On the way I am taking,
I know.

Level lands become steep,
Rough with stone.
There goes none
On this journey uncharted,
Save one
Who will keep
To the heights joyous-hearted,
Alone.

I have felt thee, O wind,
Out of space
Touch my face.
There shall be no returning.
New ways
Feet must find,
And the slow lips be learning
New praise.

~~
Florence D. Snelling 
from Poetry, March 1919

[Poem is in the public domain in the United States]

Florence D. Snelling biography