Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening / Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from New Hampshire, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Robert Frost biography

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January / Hilaire Belloc


It freezes – all across a soundless sky
The birds go home. The governing dark's begun:
The steadfast dark that waits not for a sun;
The ultimate dark wherein the race shall die.

Death, with his evil finger to his lip,
Leers in at human windows, turning spy
To learn the country where his rule shall lie
When he assumes perpetual generalship.

The undefeated enemy, the chill
That shall benumb the voiceful earth at last,
Is master of our moment, and has bound
The viewless wind itself. There is no sound.
It freezes. Every friendly stream is fast.
It freezes; and the graven twigs are still.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
from Sonnets and Verse, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Hilaire Belloc biography

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Three Thousand Miles / Louis MacNeice

Three Thousand Miles

Now he can hardly press
The heavy petals of thought,
Tired of what he wants
And sick of what he ought,
He is content to watch
The window fill with snow
Making even the Future
Seem long ago.

Knowing that in Europe
All the streets are black
And that stars of blood
Star the almanac,
One half-hour's reprieve
Drowns him in the white
Physical or spiritual
Inhuman night.

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)
from Poetry, May 1940

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Louis MacNeice biography 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The First Snow-Fall / James Russell Lowell

The First Snow-Fall

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
  And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
  With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock      
  Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
  Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
  Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,    
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
  And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
  The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,    
  Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
  Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
  As did robins the babes in the wood.    

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
  Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
  Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
  And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
  When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
  That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
  The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
  “The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father    
  Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
  And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
  Folded close under deepening snow.      

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
from Under the Willows, and other poems, 1869

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

James Russell Lowell biography

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Wish / Margaret Veley

A Wish

If I could find the Little Year,
The Happy Year, the glad New Year
If I could find him setting forth
To seek the ancient track
I'd bring him here, the Little Year,
Like a pedlar with his pack.

And all of golden brightness,
And nothing dull or black,
And all that heart could fancy,
And all that heart could lack,
Should be your share of the pedlar's ware,
When he undid his pack.

The best from out his treasure
A smile of yours would coax,
And then we'd speed him on his way,
At midnight's failing strokes;
And bid him hurry round the world,
And serve the other folks!

Margaret Veley (1843-1887)
from A Marriage of Shadows, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Penny's Top 20 / December, 2017

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in December 2017:

  1.  For Christmas Day, Charles Wesley
  2.  The Sonnet, George J.Dance
  3.  A Miracle, George J. Dance
  4.  Autumn Twilight, Harry Kemp
  5.  December ('Neath Mistletoe), J. Ashby-Sterry
  6.  Good King Wenceslas, John Mason Neale
  7.  A Song for New Year's Eve, William Cullen Bryant
  8.  Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
The Christmas Night, Lucy Maud Montgomery
A Song of Autumn, Rennell Rodd 

11.  The Magi, W.B. Yeats
12.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
13.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
14.  O Holy Night, Placide Cappeau / J.S. Dwight
15.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
16.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
17.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
18.  A Dream in November, Edmund Gosse
19.  Premonition, George J. Dance
20.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Song for New Year's Eve / William Cullen Bryant

A Song for New Year's Eve

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
     Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
     Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
     Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
     For his familiar sake.
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
     Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
     Because he gives no more?
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
     While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
     How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
     Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
     Of all they said and did!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
     And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
     Oh be the new as kind!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), 1859
from Thirty Poems, 1864

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Cullen Bryant biography