Friday, December 31, 2010

The Darkling Thrush / Thomas Hardy

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
    When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
    The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
    The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
    Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
    Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
    His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.

Thomas Hardy
From Poems of the Past and Present, 1901

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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old Christmas / Mary Howitt

Old Christmas

Now he who knows old Christmas,
   He knows a carle of worth;
For he is as good a fellow,
   As any upon the earth.

He comes warm cloaked and coated,
   And buttoned up to the chin,
And soon as he comes a-nigh the door,
   We open and let him in.

We know that he will not fail us,
   So we sweep the hearth up clean;
We set him in the old armed chair,
   And a cushion whereon to lean.

And with sprigs of holly and ivy
   We make the house look gay,
Just out of an old regard to him,
   For it was his ancient way.

We broach the strong ale barrel,
   And bring out wine and meat;
And thus have all things ready,
   Our dear old friend to greet

And soon the time wears round,
   The good old carle we see,
Coming a-near; for a creditor
   Less punctual is than he!

He comes with a cordial voice
   That does one good to hear;
He shakes one heartily by the hand,
   As he hath done many a year.

Aud after the little children
   He asks in a cheerful tone,
Jack, Kate, and little Annie,
   He remembers them every one!

What a fine old fellow he is,
   With his faculties all as clear,
And his heart as warm and light
   As a man in his fortieth year!

What a fine old fellow, in troth!
   Not one of your griping elves,
Who, with plenty of money to spare,
   Think only about themselves!

Not he! for he loveth the children;
   And holiday begs for all;
And comes, with his pockets full of gifts,
   For the great ones and the small!

With a present for every servant –
   For in giving he doth not tire  –
From the red-faced, jovial butler
   To the girl by the kitchen fire.

And he tells us witty old stories,
   And singeth with might and main
And we talk of the old man's visit
   Till the day that he comes again!

Oh, he is a kind old fellow,
   And though that beef be dear,
He giveth the parish paupers
   A good dinner once a year!

And all the workhouse children,
   He sets them down in a row,
And giveth them rare plum-pudding,
   And two pence a piece also.

Oh, could you have seen those paupers,
   Have heard those children young,
You would wish with them that Christmas
   Came oft and tarried long!

He must be a rich old fellow,
   What money he gives away!
There is not a lord in England
   Could equal him any day.

Good luck unto old Christmas,
  And long life, let us sing,
For he doth more good unto the poor
  Than many a crownèd king.

Mary Howitt 
from Hymns and Fireside Verses, 1839

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mary Howitt biography

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Minstrels / William Wordsworth

To the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth [excerpt]

The minstrels played their Christmas tune
Tonight beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened?  till was paid
Respect to every inmate's claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And "Merry Christmas" wished to all.

O Brother! I revere the choice
That took thee from thy native hills;
And it is given thee to rejoice;
Though public care full often tills
(Heaven only witness of the toil)
A barren and ungrateful soil.

Yet, would that thou, with me and mine,
Hadst heard this never-failing rite;
And seen on other faces shine
A true revival of the light
Which Nature and these Rustic Powers,
In simple childhood, spread through ours!

William Wordsworth, composed Christmastide, 1819
from The River Duddon, 1820

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Wordsworth biography

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mistletoe / Walter de la Mare


Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen — and kissed me there.

Walter de la Mare
From Peacock Pie, 1913

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

Walter de la Mare biography

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Oxen / Thomas Hardy

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
      "Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
      By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
      They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
      To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
      In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
      "Come; see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
      Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
      Hoping it might be so.

Thomas Hardy
from Moments of Vision, 1917

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

Thomas Hardy biography

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Bells / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
      And wild and sweet
      The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
      Had rolled along
      The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
      A voice, a chime,
      A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
      And with the sound
      The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
      And made forlorn
      The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
      ‘For hate is strong,
      And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
      The Wrong shall fail,
      The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christmas 1864
from Household Poems, 1865

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow biography

Saturday, December 25, 2010

When Mary the Mother Kissed the Child / Charles G.D. Roberts

When Mary the Mother Kissed the Child

When Mary the Mother kissed the Child
And night on the wintry hills grew mild,
And the strange star swung from the courts of air
To serve at a manger with kings in prayer,
Then did the day of the simple kin
And the unregarded folk begin.

When Mary the Mother forgot the pain,
In the stable of rock began love's reign.
When that new light on their grave eyes broke
The oxen were glad and forgot their yoke;
And the huddled sheep in the far hill fold
Stirred in their sleep and felt no cold.

When Mary the Mother gave of her breast
To the poor inn's latest and lowliest guest,—
The God born out of the woman's side,—
The Babe of Heaven by Earth denied,—
Then did the hurt ones cease to moan,
And the long-supplanted came to their own.

When Mary the Mother felt faint hands
Beat at her bosom with life's demands,
And nought to her were the kneeling kings,
The serving star and the half-seen wings,
Then there was the little of earth made great,
And the man came back to the God's estate.

Charles G.D. Roberts
from The Book of the Rose, 1903

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

Charles G.D. Roberts (by George J. Dance)

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Holy Night / Minuit, chrétiens -- Placide Cappeau

O Holy Night 

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

English words by John Sullivan Dwight, 1855

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Minuit, chrétiens

Minuit, chrétiens, c'est l'heure solennelle,
Où l'Homme-Dieu descendit jusqu'à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d'espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.
Peuple à genoux, attends ta délivrance.
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!

De notre foi que la lumière ardente
Nous guide tous au berceau de l'Enfant,
Comme autrefois une étoile brillante
Y conduisit les chefs de l'Orient.
Le Roi des rois naît dans une humble crèche:
Puissants du jour, fiers de votre grandeur,
A votre orgueil, c'est de là que Dieu prêche.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur,
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.

Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave:
La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n'était qu'un esclave,
L'amour unit ceux qu'enchaînait le fer.
Qui lui dira notre reconnaissance,
C'est pour nous tous qu'il naît, qu'il souffre et meurt.
Peuple debout! Chante ta délivrance,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur!

Placide Cappeau, 1847

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ceremonies for Christmas / Robert Herrick

Ceremonies for Christmas

        Come, bring with a noise,
        My merry, merry boys,
The Christmas log to the firing,
        While my good dame, she
        Bids ye all be free,
And drink to your heart’s desiring.

        With the last year’s brand
        Light the new block, and
For good success in his spending,
        On your psalteries play,
        That sweet luck may
Come while the log is a-teending.

        Drink now the strong beer,
        Cut the white loaf here,
The while the meat is a-shredding;
        For the rare mince-pie
        And the plums stand by,
To fill the paste that’s a-kneading.

Robert Herrick
from Hesperides, 1648

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Herrick biography

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cheer / Thomas Tusser

Christmas Cheer

Good husband and housewife, now chiefly be glad,
Things handsome to have, as they ought to be had.
They both do provide, against Christmas do come,
To welcome their neighbours, good cheer to have some.

Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall,
Brawn, pudding, and souse, and good mustard withal.
Beef, mutton, and pork, and good pies of the best,
Pig, veal, goose, and capon, and turkey well drest,
Cheese, apples, and nuts, and good carols to hear,
As then in the country is counted good cheer.

What cost to good husband is any of this?
Good household provision only it is:
Of other the like, I do leave out a many,
That costeth the husband never a penny.

Thomas Tusser
from Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, 1573

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thomas Tusser biography

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Greeting / Walt Whitman

A Christmas Greeting

Welcome, Brazilian brother — thy ample place is ready;
A loving hand — a smile from the north — a sunny instant hall!
(Let the future care for itself, where it reveals its troubles,
Ours, ours the present throe, the democratic aim, the acceptance and
the faith;)
To thee to-day our reaching arm, our turning neck — to thee from us
the expectant eye,
Thou cluster free! thou brilliant lustrous one! thou, learning well,
The true lesson of a nation's light in the sky,
(More shining than the Cross, more than the Crown,)
The height to be superb humanity.

Walt Whitman 
from Leaves of Grass, 1889

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Walt Whitman biography

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa's Letter / Bernice Ann Page

Santa's Letter

I'm writing this letter to tell you
The government has taxed away
All those things I really needed:
My workshop, my reindeer, my sleigh! ...

All I have left is this donkey.
He's old and lazy and slow.
So, if you don't see me at Christmas ...
I am out on my ass in the snow!

Bernice Ann Page

[All rights reserved by the author's estate - Used with permission]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Now thrice welcome Christmas / William Winstanley

Now thrice welcome Christmas

Now thrice welcome Christmas,
          Which brings us good-cheer,
Minced pies and plum-porridge,
          Good ale and strong beer;
With pig, goose, and capon,
          The best that can be,
So well doth the weather
          And our stomachs agree.
Observe how the chimneys
          Do smoke all about,
The cooks are providing
          For dinner, no doubt;
But those on whose tables
          No victuals appear — 
Oh, may they keep Lent
          All the rest of the year.
With holly and ivy
          So green and so gay,
We deck up our houses
          As fresh as the day,
With bay and rosemary
          And laurels complete,
And every one now
          Is a king in conceit.

William Winstanley
from Poor Robin's Almanac, 1695

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Winstanley biography

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It is the day when he was born / Alfred Tennyson


It is the day when he was born,
A bitter day that early sank
Behind a purple-frosty bank
Of vapour, leaving night forlorn.

The time admits not flowers or leaves
To deck the banquet. Fiercely flies
The blast of North and East, and ice
Makes daggers at the sharpen'd eaves,

And bristles all the brakes and thorns
To yon hard crescent, as she hangs
Above the wood which grides and clangs
Its leafless ribs and iron horns

Together, in the drifts that pass
To darken on the rolling brine
That breaks the coast. But fetch the wine,
Arrange the board and brim the glass;

Bring in great logs and let them lie,
To make a solid core of heat;
Be cheerful-minded, talk and treat
Of all things ev'n as he were by;

We keep the day. With festal cheer,
With books and music, surely we
Will drink to him, whate'er he be,
And sing the songs he loved to hear.

Alfred Tennyson
from In Memoriam A.H.H., 1850

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Alfred Tennyson biography

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Burning Babe / Robert Southwell

The Burning Babe

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchèd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed,
As though his floods should quench his flames, which with his tears were fed.
'Alas,' quoth he, 'but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts, or feel my fire but I!

'My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilèd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.'
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callèd unto mind that it was Christmas Day.

Robert Southwell
from St. Peter's Complaint, 1595

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Southwell biography

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bring, in this timeless grave to throw /
A.E. Housman


Bring, in this timeless grave to throw,
No cypress, sombre on the snow;
Snap not from the bitter yew
His leaves that live December through;
Break no rosemary, bright with rime
And sparkling to the cruel clime;
Nor plod the winter land to look
For willows in the icy brook
To cast them leafless round him: bring
No spray that ever buds in spring.

But if the Christmas field has kept
Awns the last gleaner overstept,
Or shrivelled flax, whose flower is blue
A single season, never two;
Or if one haulm whose year is o'er
Shivers on the upland frore,
 Oh, bring from hill and stream and plain
Whatever will not flower again,
To give him comfort: he and those
Shall bide eternal bedfellows
Where low upon the couch he lies
Whence he never shall arise.

A.E. Housman (1859-1936)
from A Shropshire Lad, 1896

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

A.E. Housman biography

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow in the Suburbs / Thomas Hardy

Snow in the Suburbs

Every branch big with it,
Bent every twig with it;
Every fork like a white web-foot;
Every street and pavement mute:
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall,
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,
Whereon immediately
A snow-lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eyes,
And overturns him,
And near inurns him,
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;
And we take him in.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
from Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs, and Trifles, 1925

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

Thomas Hardy biography

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Snow / Charles E.S. Wood

First Snow

The cows are bawling in the mountains.
The snow flakes fall.
They are leaving the pools and pebbled fountains;
Troubled, they bawl.
They are winding down the mountain's shoulders
Through the open pines,
Through wild rose thicket and the granite boulders,
In broken lines.
Each calf trots close beside its mother
And so they go,
Bawling and calling to one another
About the snow.

Charles E.S. Wood (1852-1944)
from Poems from the Range, 1929

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

Charles E.S. Wood biography

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In my craft or sullen art / Dylan Thomas

In my craft or sullen art

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Not for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

Dylan Thomas
from Deaths and Entrances, 1946

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Dylan Thomas biography

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow / Madison Cawein


The moon, like a round device
On a shadowy shield of war,
Hangs white in a heaven of ice
With a solitary star.

The wind has sunk to a sigh,
And the waters are stern with frost;
And gray, in the eastern sky,
The last snow-cloud is lost.

White fields, that are winter-starved,
Black woods, that are winter-fraught,
Cold, harsh as a face death-carved,
With the iron of some black thought.

Madison Cawein
from The Garden of Dreams, 1896

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

Madison Cawein biography

Friday, December 10, 2010

After the Winter / Claude McKay

After the Winter

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
    And against the morning's white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
    Have sheltered for the night,
We'll turn our faces southward, love,
    Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire to shafted grove
    And wide-mouthed orchids smile.
And we will seek the quiet hill
    Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
    And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
    Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
    And ferns that never fade.

Claude McKay (1889-1948)
from Harlem Shadows, 1922

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

Claude McKay biography

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It Is Winter, I Know / Merrill Moore

It Is Winter, I Know

What if small birds are peppering the sky,
Scudding south with the clouds to an ultimate tip on lands
Where they may peck worms and slugs from moist sands
Rather muddily mixed with salt?
                                                                    Or if wind dashes by
Insufferably filled with birds' indeclinable twitter
Not deigning to toy with the oak-twigs that it passes
And treading but lightly on all the delicate grasses
Under trees where crickets are silent, where mad leaves flutter ?

It is winter, I know, there are too many Nays now confronting
The obdurate soul that would trick itself into believing
That buds are still ripe, that cells are all ready for cleaving;
It can only be winter, winter alone, when blunting
Winds rush over the ice, scattering leaves from their weeds
To rattle the sycamore tree's dry-shriveled seeds.

Merrill Moore (1903-1957)
from The Noise That Time Makes, 1929

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Merrill Moore biography

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Winter / William Blake

To Winter

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The North is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.
He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathèd
In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath reared his sceptre o'er the world.
Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.
He takes his seat upon the cliffs, — the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms! — till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.

William Blake (1757-1827)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Blake biography

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Coming of Winter / Archibald Lampman

The Coming of Winter

Out of the Northland sombre weirds are calling;
      A shadow falleth southward day by day;
Sad summer's arms grow cold; his fire is falling;
      His feet draw back to give the stern one way.

It is the voice and shadow of the slayer,
      Slayer of loves, sweet world, slayer of dreams;
Make sad thy voice with sober plaint and prayer;
      Make gray thy woods, and darken all thy streams.

Black grows the river, blacker drifts the eddy:
      The sky is grey; the woods are cold below:
Oh make thy bosom, and thy sad lips ready,
      For the cold kisses of the folding snow.

Archibald Lampman
from Among the Millet and Other Poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman (by George Dance)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mannequin in a Mirror / Matt E. & George J. Dance

Mannequin in a Mirror

Pushing a shopping cart
with everything in
the world in there,
a reflection
in the sidewalk 'mirror'
discloses the truth
about an imposter tatterdemalion
in unwashed
skin crawling
out a mannequin
staring into a place where
toothless smiles make a day and
empty food wrappers get carried away
by a wind that can't spare

Matt E. and George J. Dance

[All rights reserved by the authors - Used with permission]

New Poetry/Writers' Site / Leslie Moon

I along with several other poets am starting a poetry site. Our hope is to unite writers each Wednesday (for starters). We want to encourage poets/writers to give feedback to other writers as well as get feedback. I know I appreciate other writers; they often see something in my writing that I don't.

Our One Shot Wednesdays are fun and a way to get to know others and get some traffic to you blog. Come join us weekly on Wednesdays -- from 10pm UK (5pm EST) on Tuesday until 8am UK (3am EST) Thursday -- for One Shot Wednesday

There is also the potential for you as a poet or artist to be highlighted either as an amateur or a pro.

Hope to see you there.

Leslie Moon (moondustwriter)

One Stop Poetry - Where Poets, Writers and Artists Meet

if you have questions our email address is

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December / George J. Dance


Entire city ablaze
with lights of every colour,
to stave off the black.

George J. Dance

Michael Gil, Toronto's Skyline, April 2, 2010.
Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0 Licence.

Creative Commons License
[December by George J. Dance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License]

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Town Window / John Drinkwater

A Town Window

Beyond my window in the night
      Is but a drab inglorious street,
Yet there the frost and clean starlight
      As over Warwick woods are sweet.

Under the grey drift of the town
      The crocus works among the mould
As eagerly as those that crown
      The Warwick spring in flame and gold.

And when the tramway down the hill
      Across the cobbles moans and rings,
There is about my window-sill
      The tumult of a thousand wings.

by John Drinkwater
from Swords and Ploughshares, 1915

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

John Drinkwater biography

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Frost Tonight" / Edith M. Thomas

"Frost Tonight"

Apple-green west and an orange bar,
And the crystal eye of a lone, one star .  .  .
And, "Child, take the shears and cut what you will,
Frost to-night — so clear and dead-still."

Then, I sally forth, half sad, half proud,
And I come to the velvet, imperial crowd,
The wine-red, the gold, the crimson, the pied, —
The dahlias that reign by the garden-side.

The dahlias I might not touch till to-night!
A gleam of the shears in the fading light,
And I gathered them all, — the splendid throng,
And in one great sheaf I bore them along.

            .         .          .         .         .         .

In my garden of Life with its all late flowers
I heed a Voice in the shrinking hours:
"Frost to-night — so clear and dead-still" .  .  .
Half sad, half proud, my arms I fill.

Edith M. Thomas
from The Flower from the Ashes, and other verse, 1915

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

Edith M. Thomas biography

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Autumn / T.E. Hulme


A touch of cold in the Autumn night 
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

T.E. Hulme
from Complete Poetical Works, 1912

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

T.E. Hulme biography

Penny's Top 20 - November 2010

The 20 most-visited poems on  The Betty Blog during October, 2010, ranked in order: 

   1. Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
   2. Autumn Song, George Dance
   3. September Night, George Dance
   4. Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens

   5. Romance Novel, Arthur Rimbaud 

   6. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
   7. Betty's OS, George Dance
   8. 1914, Rupert Brooke
   9. Remembrance, George Dance
10. Bird Cage /Cage d'oiseau, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

11. Penny's OS 2.0, George Dance
12. Vowels / Voyelles , Arthur Rimbaud

13. Indian Summer, William Wilfred Campbell
14. A Vagabond Song, Bliss Carman
15. Meditations in Time of Civil War, W.B. Yeats

16. The Anxious Dead, John McCrae
17. War Is Kind, Stephen Crane
18. S.I.W., Wilfred Owen
19. Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy

20. Call Back Our Dead, F.G. Scott

Source: The Best Links. Web. Dec. 2, 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The morns are meeker than they were / Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were —
The nuts are getting brown —
The berry's cheek is plumper —
The Rose is out of town.

The Maple wears a gayer scarf —
The field a scarlet gown —
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

Monday, November 29, 2010

No! / Thomas Hood


                    No sun — no moon!
                    No morn — no noon —
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day —
                    No sky — no earthly view —
                    No distance looking blue —
No road — no street — no "t'other side the way" —
                    No end to any Row —
                    No indications where the Crescents go —
                    No top to any steeple —
No recognitions of familiar people —
                    No courtesies for showing 'em —
                    No knowing 'em! —
No travelling at all — no locomotion,
No inkling of the way — no notion —
"No go" — by land or ocean —
                    No mail — no post —
          No news from any foreign coast —
No Park — no Ring---no afternoon gentility —
                    No company — no nobility —
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
          No comfortable feel in any member —
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
          No fruits, no flow'rs, no leaves, no birds, —

Thomas Hood

[Poem is in the public domain]

Thomas Hood biography

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Five Cinquains / Adelaide Crapsey

November Night

Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

Susanna and the Elders

"Why do
You thus devise
Evil against her?" "For that
She is beautiful, delicate.


These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow . . . the hour
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one
Just dead.

(Seen on Night in November)

How frail
Above the bulk
Of crashing water hangs
Autumnal, evanescent, wan,
The moon.

The Warning

Just now,
Out of the strange
Still dusk . . . as strange, as still . . .
A white moth flew. Why am I grown
So cold?

Adelaide Crapsey
from Verse, 1915

[Poems are in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Adelaide Crapsey biography

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Scroll / George J. Dance

A Scroll

By the river I saw geese fly
Like black angels, far and high 
Trees were cracks in a scarlet sky 
A scent of smoke  A dolorous cry:

"Fallen is Babylon the Great,"
Cries the wild goose to his mate.
"All for fires to consume;
"Ashes, ashes for their doom."

"Still, we learned to love their land,"
Softer now she answers, "and
"Safely in the southland, we
"Will miss their insecurity."

On the bank red sumac lay,
Fires banked at close of day.
Will I watch those fires burn?
Will I see the geese return?

George J. Dance

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

Friday, November 26, 2010

November / F.W. Harvey


He has hanged himself — the Sun.
      He dangles
A scarecrow in thin air. 

He is dead for love — the Sun;
      He who in forest tangles
Wooed all things fair. 

That great lover — the Sun,
      Now spangles
The woods with blood-stains.

He has hanged himself — the Sun. 
      How thin he dangles
In these gray rains!

F.W. Harvey (1888-1957) 
from Farewell, 1921

[All rights reserved by the author's estate - Please do not copy]

F.W. Harvey biography

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Waste Land / Madison Cawein

Waste Land

Briar and fennel and chincapin,
      And rue and ragweed everywhere;
The field seemed sick as a soul with sin,
      Or dead of an old despair,
      Born of an ancient care.

The cricket's cry and the locust's whirr,
      And the note of a bird's distress,
With the rasping sound of the grasshopper,
      Clung to the loneliness
      Like burrs to a trailing dress.

So sad the field, so waste the ground,
      So curst with an old despair,
A woodchuck's burrow, a blind mole's mound,
      And a chipmunk's stony lair,
      Seemed more than it could bear.

So lonely, too, so more than sad,
      So droning-lone with bees 
I wondered what more could Nature add
      To the sum of its miseries . . .
      And then — I saw the trees.

Skeletons gaunt that gnarled the place,
      Twisted and torn they rose 
The tortured bones of a perished race
      Of monsters no mortal knows,
      They startled the mind's repose.

And a man stood there, as still as moss,
      A lichen form that stared;
With an old blind hound that, at a loss,
      Forever around him fared
      With a snarling fang half bared.

I looked at the man; I saw him plain;
      Like a dead weed, gray and wan,
Or a breath of dust. I looked again 
      And man and dog were gone,
      Like wisps of the graying dawn. . . .

Were they a part of the grim death there 
      Ragweed, fennel, and rue?
Or forms of the mind, an old despair,
      That there into semblance grew
      Out of the grief I knew?

Madison Cawein
from Minions of the Moon, 1913

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

Madison Cawein biography

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Receiving News of the War / Isaac Rosenberg

On Receiving News of the War

Snow is a strange white word.
No ice or frost
Has asked of bud or bird
For Winter's cost.

Yet ice and frost and snow
From earth to sky
This Summer land doth know.
No man knows why.

In all men's hearts it is.
Some spirit old
Hath turned with malign kiss
Our lives to mould.

Red fangs have torn His face.
God's blood is shed.
He mourns from His lone place
His children dead.

O! ancient crimson curse!
Corrode, consume.
Give back this universe
Its pristine bloom.

Isaac Rosenberg (`890-1918), 1916
from Poems, 1922

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

Isaac Rosenberg biography

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All the Hills and Vales Along / Charles Hamilton Sorley

All the Hills and Vales Along

ALL the hills and vales along
Earth is bursting into song,
And the singers are the chaps
Who are going to die perhaps.
    O sing, marching men,
    Till the valleys ring again.
    Give your gladness to earth’s keeping,
    So be glad, when you are sleeping.

Cast away regret and rue,
Think what you are marching to.
Little live, great pass.
Jesus Christ and Barabbas
Were found the same day.
This died, that went his way.
    So sing with joyful breath.
    For why, you are going to death.
    Teeming earth will surely store
    All the gladness that you pour.

Earth that never doubts nor fears,
Earth that knows of death, not tears,
Earth that bore with joyful ease
Hemlock for Socrates,
Earth that blossomed and was glad
’Neath the cross that Christ had,
    Shall rejoice and blossom too
    When the bullet reaches you.
    Wherefore, men marching
    On the road to death, sing!
    Pour your gladness on earth’s head,
    So be merry, so be dead.

From the hills and valleys earth
Shouts back the sound of mirth,
Tramp of feet and lilt of song
Ringing all the road along.
All the music of their going,
Ringing, swinging, glad song-throwing,
Earth will echo still, when foot
Lies numb and voice mute.
    On, marching men, on
    To the gates of death with song.
    Sow your gladness for earth’s reaping,
    So you may be glad, though sleeping.
    Strew your gladness on earth’s bed,
    So be merry, so be dead.

Charles Hamilton Sorley
from Marlborough and Other Poems, 1916

[All rights reserved by the author's estate - Please do not copy]

Charles Hamilton Sorley biography

Monday, November 22, 2010

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars / Richard Lovelace

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars


Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.


True: a new Mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.


Yet this inconstancy is such,
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

Richard Lovelace (1618-1657)
from Lucasta, 1649

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Richard Lovelace biography

Sunday, November 21, 2010

1914, I. Peace / Rupert Brooke

I. Peace

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
       And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
      To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
      Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
      And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
      Where there's no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
      Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart's long peace there
      But only agony, and that has ending;
      And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

Rupert Brooke

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

Rupert Brooke biography

Saturday, November 20, 2010

1914, II. Safety / Rupert Brooke

II. Safety

Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest
      He who has found our hid security,
Assured in the dark tides of the world that rest,
      And heard our word, 'Who is so safe as we?'
We have found safety with all things undying,
      The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,
The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying,
      And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.
We have built a house that is not for Time's throwing.
      We have gained a peace unshaken by pain for ever.
War knows no power. Safe shall be my going,
      Secretly armed against all death's endeavour;
Safe though all safety's lost; safe where men fall;
And if these poor limbs die, safest of all.

Rupert Brooke

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

Rupert Brooke biography

Friday, November 19, 2010

1914, III. The Dead / Rupert Brooke

III. The Dead

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
      There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
      But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
      Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
      That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
      Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
      And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
      And we have come into our heritage.

Rupert Brooke

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

Rupert Brooke biography

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1914, IV. The Dead / Rupert Brooke

IV. The Dead

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
      Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
      And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
      Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
      Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
      Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
      Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

Rupert Brooke

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

Rupert Brooke biography

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1914, V. The Soldier / Rupert Brooke

V. The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
      That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
       In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
       Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
       Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
       A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
       Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
       In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke

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

Rupert Brooke biography

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Break of Day in the Trenches / Isaac Rosenberg

Break of Day in the Trenches

The darkness crumbles away.
It is the same old druid Time as ever,
Only a live thing leaps my hand,
A queer sardonic rat,
As I pull the parapet's poppy
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
Now you have touched this English hand
You will do the same to a German
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
To cross the sleeping green between.
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whims of murder,
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
The torn fields of France.
What do you see in our eyes
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens?
What quaver – what heart aghast?
Poppies whose roots are in man's veins
Drop, and are ever dropping;
But mine in my ear is safe 
Just a little white with the dust.

Isaac Rosenberg (`890-1918), 1916
from Poems, 1922

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

Isaac Rosenberg biography

Monday, November 15, 2010

S.I.W. / Wilfred Owen


I will to the King,
And offer him consolation in his trouble,
For that man there has set his teeth to die,
And being one that hates obedience,
Discipline, and orderliness of life,
I cannot mourn him.
                                  - W.B. Yeats
I. The Prologue

Patting good-bye, doubtless they told the lad
He'd always show the Hun a brave man's face;
Father would sooner him dead than in disgrace,
Was proud to see him going, aye, and glad.
Perhaps his mother whimpered how she'd fret
Until he got a nice safe wound to nurse.
Sisters would wish girls too could shoot, charge, curse...
Brothers  would send his favourite cigarette.
Each week, month after month, they wrote the same,
Thinking him sheltered in some Y.M. Hut,
Because he said so, writing on his butt
Where once an hour a bullet missed its aim
And misses teased the hunger of his brain.
His eyes grew old with wincing, and his hand
Reckless with ague. Courage leaked, as sand
From the best sand-bags after years of rain.
But never leave, wound, fever, trench-foot, shock,
Untrapped the wretch. And death seemed still withheld
For torture of lying machinally shelled,
At the pleasure of this world's Powers who'd run amok.

He'd seen men shoot their hands, on night patrol.
Their people never knew. Yet they were vile.
'Death sooner than dishonour, that's the style!'
So Father said.

II. The Action

                                   One dawn, our wire patrol
Carried him. This time, Death had not missed.
We could do nothing but wipe his bleeding cough.
Could it be accident?  Rifles go off...
Not sniped? No. (Later they found the English ball.)

III. The Poem

It was the reasoned crisis of his soul
Against more days of inescapable thrall,
Against infrangibly wired and blind trench wall
Curtained with fire, roofed in with creeping fire,
Slow grazing fire, that would not burn him whole
But kept him for death's promises and scoff,
And life's half-promising, and both their riling.

IV. The Epilogue

With him they buried the muzzle his teeth had kissed,
And truthfully wrote the Mother, 'Tim died smiling'

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), 1917
from Poems, 1920

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

Wilfred Owen biography

Sunday, November 14, 2010

War is Kind / Stephen Crane

from War is Kind and Other Lines


Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them,
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom —
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
from War is Kind, and other lines, 1899

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Stephen Crane biography

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Stretcher-Bearer / Robert Service

The Stretcher-Bearer

My stretcher is one scarlet stain,
And as I tries to scrape it clean,
I tell you wot  I'm sick with pain
For all I've 'eard, for all I've seen;
Around me is the 'ellish night,
And as the war's red rim I trace,
I wonder if in 'Eaven's height,
Our God don't turn away 'Is Face.

          I don't care 'oose the Crime may be;
          I 'olds no brief for kin or clan;
          I 'ymns no 'ate: I only see
          As man destroys his brother man;
          I waves no flag: I only know,
          As 'ere beside the dead I wait,
          A million 'earts is weighed with woe,
          A million 'omes is desolate.

In drippin' darkness, far and near,
All night I've sought them woeful ones.
Dawn shudders up and still I 'ear
The crimson chorus of the guns.
Look! like a ball of blood the sun
'Angs o'er the scene of wrath and wrong.
"Quick! Stretcher-bearers on the run!"
O Prince of Peace! 'Ow long, 'ow long?

Robert Service
Rhymes of a Red Cross Man, 1916

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

Robert Service biography

Friday, November 12, 2010

Remembrance / George J. Dance


Man has but to raise
His arms, and there is a cross.
How could we forget?

George J. Dance

Michael Schmalenstroer, Crosses at the Cemetery, Summer 2009.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Licensed with GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0

Creative Commons License
[Remembrance by George Dance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License]