Sunday, October 23, 2016

Besides the Autumn poets sing / Emily Dickinson

Besides the Autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the Haze –

A few incisive mornings –      
A few Ascetic eves –
Gone – Mr Bryant’s “Golden Rod” –
And Mr Thomson’s “sheaves.”

Still, is the bustle in the brook –
Sealed are the spicy valves –
Mesmeric fingers softly touch
The eyes of many Elves –

Perhaps a squirrel may remain –
My sentiments to share –
Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind –      
Thy windy will to bear!

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), 1859

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

Saturday, October 22, 2016

October / William Cullen Bryant


Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath,
    When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
    And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief,
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Wind of the sunny south! oh still delay
    In the gay woods and in the golden air,
    Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
    Might wear out life like thee, mid bowers and brooks,
    And, dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)
from Poems, 1836

[Poem is in the public domain world-wide]

William Cullen Bryant biography

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October: "The old eyes" / H.L. Davis

October: "The old eyes"

In these cold mornings the alders can not hold their leaves,
But in the stained pond-water drop them, broad and cold.
Days ago the willows yellowed the river’s edge.
The river-breaks are stuck full of gray wild seed.
Dry and without the late hunger is every weed.      

The latest-bearing tree’s fruit is under roof;
Nothing we value is left, nothing is left
Except the garden Eusebia planted as she grew old.
Under the trees of her orchard the tall marigolds,
Past their best, are grown dark yellow with rain:      
Half-wild stalks, that gave this woman much pride and much pain
To thin and keep in order.
                    It has rained, and turned cold.
No one comes along the river or the breaks;
No foot has changed the color of this tall grass.
About her house, big rose-hips ripen, partly gray.      
Who sits in the leaves there—the old eyes, and the flesh fallen?
Eusebia Owen is come again, this chilly day:
A ghost comes, and grieves at last because she is old.

The water of dead leaves, which the fruit trees
Shed upon her dress, is not cold; there’s no fear now, though      
Hard waves in the river gather and pace to the wind;
There’s no pleasure in marigold petals upon her face.
She grieves, and says: “So many years I let go,
Working hard, and was content to think that love
Would surely return; but the dead go all alone.”      

It is so: the years during which this woman lived
Were divided—so many for love, so many following
For work; and at last, let them be busy with flowers.
Dusty summers, long harvests, awhile to rest; but in the cold days
Eusebia gathered tree-cotton to weave cloth upon,      
Worked with her garden, and would not fold her hands.
This woman was not idle until she died.
There’s tree-cotton, and cold days another year
In which all her use is departed. This sad ghost
That cries for love again, even the spirit is old.      
The hair which hangs against the dry breast is gray.
The old dark dress is worn thin; and, wet and cold,
She who wears it would enjoy love again, would lie
In childbed over again.
                    When I was her friend
I thought she had been content: and see the gray hair      
Heavy and stained with water! Once she was vain,
And now leaves stick upon her dress and her arms.
Now she has left secrecy, and I am ashamed
That we were less friends than ever I had dreamed.

H.L. Davis (1894-1960)
from Poetry, June 1920

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Dirge in Woods / George Meredith

Dirge in Woods

A wind sways the pines,
         And below
Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that glow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine-tree drops its dead;
They are quiet, as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,
As the clouds the clouds chase;
         And we go,
And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
         Even we,
         Even so.

George Meredith (1828-1909)
from Ballads and Poems of Tragic Life, 1887

[Poem is in the public domain world-wide]

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Especially when the October wind / Dylan Thomas

Especially when the October wind

Especially when the October wind
With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
By the sea's side, hearing the noise of birds,
Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
My busy heart who shudders as she talks
Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.

Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark
On the horizon walking like the trees
The wordy shapes of women, and the rows
Of the star-gestured children in the park.
Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,
Some of the oaken voices, from the roots
Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,
Some let me make you of the water's speeches.

Behind a pot of ferns the wagging clock
Tells me the hour's word, the neural meaning
Flies on the shafted disk, declaims the morning
And tells the windy weather in the cock.
Some let me make you of the meadow's signs;
The signal grass that tells me all I know
Breaks with the wormy winter through the eye.
Some let me tell you of the raven's sins.

Especially when the October wind
(Some let me make you of autumnal spells,
The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)
With fists of turnips punishes the land,
Some let me make you of the heartless words.
The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
By the sea's side hear the dark-vowelled birds.

Dylan Thomas (1914-1954)
from Eighteen Poems, 1934

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Dylan Thomas biography

Saturday, October 8, 2016

An October Garden / Christina Rossetti

An October Garden

In my Autumn garden I was fain
To mourn among my scattered roses;
Alas for that last rosebud which uncloses
To Autumn’s languid sun and rain
When all the world is on the wane!
Which has not felt the sweet constraint of June,
Nor heard the nightingale in tune.

Broad-faced asters by my garden walk,
You are but coarse compared with roses:
More choice, more dear that rosebud which uncloses
Faint-scented, pinched, upon its stalk,
That least and last which cold winds balk;
A rose it is though least and last of all,
A rose to me though at the fall.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
from Poetical Works, 1904

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Christina Rossetti biography

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Penny's Top 20 / September 2016

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in September 2016:

  1.  A Song to Mithras, Rudyard Kipling
  2.  Gethsemane, Rudyard Kipling
  3.  Puck's Song, Rudyard Kipling
  4.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  5.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  6.  Manhattan, Lola Ridge
  7.  Day Turns Night, James D. Senetto
  8.  The Names, Billy Collins

  9.  The City Revisited, Stephen Vincent Benet

10.  Autumn Twilight, Arthur Symons

11.  Indian Summer, Archibald Lampman
12.  Hymn to the Month of September, John Davies

13.  September, Hilaire Belloc
14.  In September, Amy Levy
Long May You Live, George J. Dance
16.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
17.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
18.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
19.  Once Like a Light, AE Reiff
20.  August Night on Georgian Bay, William Wilfred Campbell

Source: Blogger, "Stats"