Sunday, July 15, 2018

Breeze / Ilya Shambat


So much the sweetness and softness of air
Breathe lightly upon me I cannot speak.
Your soul is a summer wind
Sprinkled with petals and feathers
Running through forests and meadows
Running through caverns and rapids
Running through mountains and deserts
Carrying sunlight
Carrying pollen
Carrying raindrops
And carrying love into hearts.
Breathe lightly my love
I can only feel you
Wafting across me
Rubbing against me
Flying around me
Enfolding, caressing my heart.
Bring me the world
Sweet breeze
Bring me world by the molecule
Bring me the top of the atmosphere
Bring me the bloom of the rainforest
Bring me the salt of the ocean
The girl and the boy making love under glancing moon.
Play, play with my flames
Sweet breeze
Send sparks flying
Let my fulminations become
A tapestry shining and tearing
And reaching for you
Carry me through the mind of humanity
Carry me to the soul of eternity
Carry me all around the globe
And together we'll drape it in love.

Ilya Shambat (born 1975)
from Word and Pictures, 2003

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

Ilya Shambat biography

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cuckoo Song

Cuckoo Song

Sumer is icumen in,
  Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
  And springth the wude nu —
          Sing cuccu!    

Awe bleteth after lomb,
  Lhouth after calve cu;
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth,
  Murie sing cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thu, cuccu:
  Ne swike thu naver nu;
Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu,
  Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu!

Anonymous, circa 1250
from the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900, 1919

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, July 8, 2018

When the World is Burning / Ebenezer Jones

When the World is Burning

When the world is burning,
Fired within, yet turning
  Round with face unscathed;
Ere fierce flames, uprushing,
O'er all lands leap, crushing,    
  Till earth fall, fire-swathed;
Up amidst the meadows,
Gently through the shadows,
  Gentle flames will glide,
Small, and blue, and golden.
Though by bard beholden,
When in calm dreams folden,—
  Calm his dreams will bide.

Where the dance is sweeping,
Through the greensward peeping,
  Shall the soft lights start;
Laughing maids, unstaying,
Deeming it trick-playing,
High their robes upswaying,
  O'er the lights shall dart;
And the woodland haunter
Shall not cease to saunter
  When, far down some glade,
Of the great world's burning,
One soft flame upturning
Seems, to his discerning,
  Crocus in the shade.

Ebenezer Jones (1820-1860)
from the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900, 1919

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ebenezer Jones biography

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Summer 1924 / Mary Devenport O'Neill

Summer 1924

Rain and hazy squirted light,
Dampness and the fat green trees,
Sleepily I read this book
Open on my knees –
’Who of the Nymphs divine
That haunt Olympus height,
Who, then, will tell me, who?’
Above the square five seagulls fly,
Like Cassiopeia, black on a white sky,
The afternoon wears on –
’Toil upon toil brings toil;
Whither, ah, whither,
Whither have I not gone?’

Mary Devenport O'Neill (1879-1967)
from Prometheus, and other poems, 1929

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Mary Devenport O'Neill biography

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Christ Walks in this Infernal District Too /
Malcolm Lowry

Christ Walks in this Infernal District Too

Beneath the Malebolge lies Hastings Street,
The province of the pimp upon his beat,
Where each in his little world of drugs or crime
Moves helplessly or, hopeful, begs a dime
Wherewith to purchase half a pint of piss –
Although he will be cheated, even in this.
I hope, although I doubt it, God knows
This place where chancres blossom like the rose,
For on each face is such a hard despair
That nothing like a grief could enter there.
And on this scene from all excuse exempt,
The mountains gaze in absolute contempt,
Yet this is also Canada, my friend,
Yours to absolve of ruin, or make an end.

Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957)
from Tamarack Review, 1961

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Malcolm Lowry biography

Penny's Top 20 / June 2018

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in June 2018:

  1.  Daysleepers, George J. Dance
  2.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  Written at the close of Spring, Charlotte Turner Smith
  4.  Advice to a Butterfly, Maxwell Bodenheim
  5.  O moon, large golden summer moon, Mathilde Blind
  6.  The Parterre, E.H. Palmer
  7.  Lunar Baedeker, Mina Loy
  8.  June Apples, Ethelwyn Wetherald
The Conjurer, George J. Dance
10.  A Spring Idyll, Patrick MacGill

11.  A Memory of June, Claude McKay
12.  To Spring, Robert Story
13.  To the Moon, Percy Bysshe Shelley
14.  Card Game, Frank Prewett
15.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
16.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
17.  Three Thousand Miles, Louis MacNeice
18.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
19.  It's September, Edgar Guest
20.  November, Robert Frost

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Saturday, June 30, 2018

O moon, large golden summer moon /
Mathilde Blind

from Love in Exile:


O moon, large golden summer moon,
    Hanging between the linden trees,
    Which in the intermittent breeze
Beat with the rhythmic pulse of June!

O night-air, scented through and through
    With honey-coloured flower of lime,
    Sweet now as in that other time
When all my heart was sweet as you!

The sorcery of this breathing bloom
    Works like enchantment in my brain,
    Till, shuddering back to life again,
My dead self rises from its tomb.

And, lovely with the love of yore,
    Its white ghost haunts the moon-white ways;
    But, when it meets me face to face,
Flies trembling to the grave once more.

Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)
from Songs and Sonnets, 1893

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mathilde Blind biography