Thursday, March 31, 2011

At the Palais / George J. Dance

At the Palais

Ben and Bea met one night
At the Palais, in early spring.
They disagreed on everything.
It ended in a nasty fight;
A case of hatred at first sight.

The Palais is long derelict,
Their steps are slow, their hair is white
But still they quarrel day and night
For Ben loves Bea, as you'd predict
And Beatrice loves Benedict.

George J. Dance, 2007
from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015.

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In the House of Dreams / Duncan Campbell Scott

In the House of Dreams

The lady Lillian knelt upon the sward,
    Between the arbour and the almond leaves;
    Beyond, the barley gathered into sheaves;
A blade of gladiolous, like a sword,
Flamed fierce against the gold; and down toward
    The limpid west, a pallid poplar wove
    A spell of shadow; through the meadow drove
A deep unbroken brook without a ford.
A fountain flung and poised a golden ball;
    On the soft grass a frosted serpent lay,
With oval spots of opal over all;
    Upon the basin’s edge within the spray,
Lulled by some craft of laughter in the fall,
    An ancient crow dreamed hours and hours away.


The lady watched the serpent and the crow
    For days, then came a little naked lad,
    And smote the serpent with a spear he had;
Then stooped and caught the coil, and straining slow,
Took the lithe weight upon his shoulder, so,
    And tugged, but could not move the ponderous thing,
    Then flushing red with rage, his spear did fling,
And cut the gladiolus at one blow.
Then back he swung his flaming weapon high,
    And smote the snake and called a magic name;
Then the whole garden vanished utterly,
    And through a mist the lightning went and came,
And flooded all the caverns of the sky,
    A rosy gulf of unimprisoned flame.

Duncan Campbell Scott
from The Magic House and other poems, 1893

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

Duncan Campbell Scott (by George J. Dance)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Talking in Their Sleep / Edith M. Thomas

Talking in Their Sleep

      “You think I am dead,”
      The apple tree said,
“Because I have never a leaf to show —
      Because I stoop,
      And my branches droop,
And the dull gray mosses over me grow!
But I’m still alive in trunk and shoot;
      The buds of next May
      I fold away —
But I pity the withered grass at my root.”

      “You think I am dead,”
      The quick grass said,
“Because I have parted with stem and blade!
      But under the ground
      I am safe and sound
With the snow’s thick blanket over me laid.
I’m all alive, and ready to shoot,
      Should the spring of the year
      Come dancing here —
But I pity the flower without branch or root.”

      “You think I am dead,”
      A soft voice said,
“Because not a branch or root I own.
      I never have died,
      But close I hide
In a plumy seed that the wind has sown.
Patient I wait through the long winter hours;
      You will see me again —
      I shall laugh at you then,
Out of the eyes of a hundred flowers.”

Edith M. Thomas
from Selected Poems, 1926

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

Edith M. Thomas biography

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Scene / Chūn Wàng -- Tu Fu

Spring Scene

In broken land, the hills remain
And grass and trees are lush again.
My teardrops fall upon new flowers  
Birds flit  I pace and mourn the hours,
The flames of war now three months old,
A word from home more dear than gold.
I scratch my head; white hair too thin
To even hold a hairpin in.

Tu Fu
translated by George J. Dance, 2011
from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015

Creative Commons License
[Spring Scene by George J. Dance (translation of  Chūn Wàng by Tu Fu)  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License]



chūn wàng

Country damaged mountains rivers here
City spring grass trees deep
Feel moment flower splash tears
Regret parting bird startle heart
Beacon fires join three months
Family letters worth ten thousand metal
White head scratch become thin
Virtually about to not bear hairpin

Tu Fu

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Tu Fu biography

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Am Not Yours / Sara Teasdale

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love  put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

Sara Teasdale
from Rivers to the Sea, 1915

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Friday, March 25, 2011

I loved you when the tide of prayer / Bliss Carman

from Songs of the Sea Children


I loved you when the tide of prayer
Swept over you, and kneeling there
In the pale summer of the stars,
You laid your cheek to mine.

I loved you when the auroral fire,
Like the world's veriest desire,
Burned up, and as it touched the sea,
You laid your limbs to mine.

I loved you when you stood tiptoe
To say farewell, and let me go
Into the night from your laced arms,
And laid your mouth to mine.

And I shall love you on that day
The wind comes over the sea to say
Your golden name upon men's mouths,
And mix your dust with mine.

Bliss Carman

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

Bliss Carman (by George J. Dance)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Green Book of the Bards / Bliss Carman

The Green Book of the Bards

There is a book not written
    By any human hand,
The prophets all have studied,
    The priests have always banned.

I read it every morning,
    I ponder it by night;
And Death shall overtake me
    Trimming my humble light.

He’ll say, as did my father
    When I was young and small
“My son, no time for reading!
    The night awaits us all.”

He’ll smile, as did my father
    When I was small and young,
That I should be so eager
    Over an unknown tongue.

Then I would leave my volume
    And willingly obey,—
Get me a little slumber
    Against another day

Content that he who taught me
    Should bid me sleep awhile.
I would expect the morning
    To bring his courtly smile;

New verses to decipher,
    New chapters to explore,
While loveliness and wisdom
    Grow ever more and more!

For who could ever tire
    Of that wild legendry,
The folklore of the mountains,
    The drama of the sea?

I pore for days together
    Over some lost refrain,—
The epic of the thunder,
    The lyric of the rain.

This was the creed and canon
    Of Jeffries and Thoreau,
And all the free believers
    Who worshipped long ago.

Here Amiel in sadness,
    And Burns in pure delight,
Sought for the hidden import
    Of man’s eternal plight.

No Xenophon and Caesar
    This master had for guides,
Yet here are well recorded
    The marches of the tides.

Here are the marks of greatness
    Accomplished without noise,
The Elizabethan vigour,
    And the Landorian poise;

The sweet Chaucerian temper,
    Smiling at all defeats;
The gusty moods of Shelley,
    The Autumn calms of Keats.

Here were derived the gospels
    Of Emerson and John;
‘T was with this revelation
    The face of Moses shone.

Here Blake and Job and Omar
    The author’s meaning traced;
Here Virgil got his sweetness,
    And Arnold his unhaste.

Here Horace learned to question,
    And Browning to reply,
When soul stood up on trial
    For her mortality.

And all these lovely spirits
    Who read in the great book,
Then went away in silence
    With their illumined look,

Left comment, as art furnished
    A margin for their skill,—
Their guesses at the secret
    Whose gist eludes us still.

And still in that green volume,
    With ardour and with youth
Undaunted, my companions
    Are searching for the truth.

One page, entitled Grand Pré,
    Has the idyllic air
That Bion might have envied:
    I set a footnote there.

Bliss Carman
from From the Green Book of the Bards, 1903

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

Bliss Carman biography

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Last Storm / Archibald Lampman

The Last Storm

From north, from east, the strong wind hurries down;
Against the window-pane the sleet rings fast;
The moon hath hid her face away, aghast,
And darkness keeps each corner of the town.
The garden hedges wear a heavy crown,
And the old poplars shriek, as night drifts past,
That, leagues on desolate leagues away, at last
One comes to know that he must surely drown.
And yet at noon, tomorrow, when I go
Out to the white, white edges of the plain,
I shall not grieve for this night's hurricane,
Seeing how, in a little hollow, sinks the snow
Around the southmost tree, where a lean crow
Sits noisily impatient for the rain.

Archibald Lampman
from The Complete Poems of Archibald Lampman, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman (by George Dance)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Spring / William Blake

To Spring

O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!

The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn’d
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!

Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.

O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish’d head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee.

William Blake
from Poetical Sketches, 1783
[Poem is in the public domain]

William Blake biography

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring / Gerard Manley Hopkins


Nothing is so beautiful as spring —
    When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
    Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
    The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
    The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
    A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.— Have, get, before it cloy,
    Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
    Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
from Poems, 1918

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

Gerard Manley Hopkins biography

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March / Seranus


With outstretched whirring wings of vandyked jet,
Two crows one day o'er home and pavement pass'd.
Swift silhouettes limned against the blue, they glass'd
Smooth beak and ebon feather in the wet
Of gaping pool and gutter, while, beset
By nestward longing, high their hoarse cry cast
In the face of fickle sun and treacherous blast,
Till all the City smelt the violet.

Then through that City quick the news did run.
Great wheels were slackened; belts were stopped in mill,
And fires in forges. Long ere set of sun
Dazed men, pale women sought the open hill — 
They thronged the streets. They caught the clarion cry — 
"Spring has come back — trust Spring to never die."

Seranus (Susan Frances Harrison)
from Pine, Rose, and Fleur de Lis, 1891

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]
Seranus (by George Dance)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

sweet flickers / shaun hull

sweet flickers

the logs had soaked in the stream for sometime
history seeping from their barking skin
we dried them out to hear them sing
and keep us warm
sweet flickers they

shaun hull

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Solitaire / Amy Lowell


When night drifts along the streets of the city,
And sifts down between the uneven roofs,
My mind begins to peek and peer.
It plays at ball in old, blue Chinese gardens,
And shakes wrought dice-cups in Pagan temples,
Amid the broken flutings of white pillars.
It dances with purple and yellow crocuses in its hair,
And its feet shine as they flutter over drenched grasses.
How light and laughing my mind is,
When all the good folk have put out their bed-room candles,
And the city is still.

Amy Lowell
from The New Poetry anthology, 1917

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

Amy Lowell biography

Thursday, March 17, 2011

These Are the Clouds / W.B. Yeats

These Are the Clouds

These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye:
The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
And discord follow upon unison,
And all things at one common level lie.
And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
And these things came, So much the more thereby
Have you made greatness your companion,
Although it be for children that you sigh:
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye.

W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
from The Green Helmet, and other poems , 1910

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

W.B. Yeats biography

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wisdom / Sara Teasdale


It was a night of early spring,
The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;
Around us shadows and the wind
Listened for what was never spoken.

Though half a score of years are gone,
Spring comes as sharply now as then — 
But if we had it all to do
It would be done the same again.

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.

Sara Teasdale
from Dark of the Moon, 1926

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Petit, the Poet / Edgar Lee Masters

Petit, the Poet

Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,
Tick, tick, tick, like mites in a quarrel —
Faint iambics that the full breeze wakens —
But the pine tree makes a symphony thereof.
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
Ballades by the score with the same old thought:
The snows and the roses of yesterday are vanished;
And what is love but a rose that fades?
Life all around me here in the village:
Tragedy, comedy, valor and truth,
Courage, constancy, heroism, failure —
All in the loom, and oh what patterns!
Woodlands, meadows, streams and rivers —
Blind to all of it all my life long.
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,
Tick, tick, tick, what little iambics,
While Homer and Whitman roared in the pines!

Edgar Lee Masters
from Spoon River Anthology, 1915

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

Edgar Lee Masters biography

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Rhyme about an Electrical Advertising Sign / Vachel Lindsay

A Rhyme about an Electrical Advertising Sign

I look on the specious electrical light
Blatant, mechanical, crawling and white,
Wickedly red or malignantly green
Like the beads of a young Senegambian queen.
Showing, while millions of souls hurry on,
The virtues of collars, from sunset till dawn,
By dart or by tumble of whirl within whirl,
Starting new fads for the shame-weary girl,
By maggoty motions in sickening line
Proclaiming a hat or a soup or a wine,
While there far above the steep cliffs of the street
The stars sing a message elusive and sweet.

Now man cannot rest in his pleasure and toil
His clumsy contraptions of coil upon coil
Till the thing he invents, in its use and its range,
Leads on to the marvellous CHANGE BEYOND CHANGE.
Some day this old Broadway shall climb to the skies,
As a ribbon of cloud on a soul-wind shall rise.
And we shall be lifted, rejoicing by night,
Till we join with the planets who choir their delight.
The signs in the street and the signs in the skies
Shall make a new Zodiac, guiding the wise,
And Broadway make one with that marvellous stair
That is climbed by the rainbow-clad spirits of prayer.

Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)
from The Congo, and other poems, 1914

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

Vachel Lindsay biography

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Way Through the Woods / Rudyard Kipling

The Way Through the Woods

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods. . . .
But there is no road through the woods.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from Rewards and Fairies, 1910

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

Rudyard Kipling biography

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Midnight Sonnet / Charles Sangster

Midnight Sonnet

As in the depths of some old forest home
The dead leaves lie and cumber all the ground,
Ev'n so my thoughts, with not a wing to roam,
Where erst they travelled without stint or bound,
Lie strewn promiscuous. Through all my mind
I seem to stumble over the dead past,
As if there were no present to be twined
In sweet memorial chapels round the brow
Of some dear fancy, though not doomed to last
Beyond the heart-beats of the passing Now.
Yet searching through the rubbish, I perceive
The sharp green blades just peering through the ground,
Fern fancies, as it were, round which to weave
Some yet unheard-of gleams of fine inspired sound.
Charles Sangster

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Charles Sangster (by George Dance)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself / Wallace Stevens

Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself

At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.

He knew that he heard it,
A bird's cry at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.

The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
It would have been outside.

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep's faded papier mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.

That scrawny cry — it was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,

Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), 1954
from Collected Poems, 1954

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Wallace Stevens biography

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Light exists in Spring / Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope we know
It almost speaks to me.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Without cowboy poetry festival, tens of thousands of people "would not exist"

Sure, the U.S. has a trillion-dollar deficit, and something has to be done to cut it. But this is going too far; now they want to cut funding to Elko, Nevada's cowboy poetry festival, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering!

Fortunately, there are still a few cool heads left in Washington. Here's Senator Harry Reid (D-NV):

"The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting. Now, that is really saying a lot, madam president. It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National
Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Departure / Edna St. Vincent Millay


It's little I care what path I take,
      And where it leads it’s little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
      I must go, and off somewhere.

It’s little I know what’s in my heart,
      What’s in my mind it’s little I know,
But there’s that in me must up and start,
      And it’s little I care where my feet go.

I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
      And find me at dawn in a desolate place
With never the rut of a road in sight,
      Nor the roof of a house, nor the eyes of a face.

I wish I could walk till my blood should spout,
      And drop me, never to stir again,
On a shore that is wide, for the tide is out,
      And the weedy rocks are bare to the rain.

But dump or dock, where the path I take
      Brings up, it’s little enough I care;
And it’s little I’d mind the fuss they’ll make,
      Huddled dead in a ditch somewhere.

“Is something the matter, dear,” she said,
      “That you sit at your work so silently?”
“No, mother, no, ’twas a knot in my thread.
      There goes the kettle, I’ll make the tea."

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
from The Harp-Weaver, and other poems, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Edna St. Vincent Millay biography

Monday, March 7, 2011

Winter Nightfall / Robert Bridges

Winter Nightfall

The day begins to droop,—
      Its course is done:
But nothing tells the place
      Of the setting sun.

The hazy darkness deepens,
      And up the lane
You may hear, but cannot see,
      The homing wain.

An engine pants and hums
      In the farm hard by:
Its lowering smoke is lost
      In the lowering sky.

The soaking branches drip,
      And all night through
The dropping will not cease
      In the avenue.

A tall man there in the house
      Must keep his chair:
He knows he will never again
      Breathe the spring air:

His heart is worn with work;
      He is giddy and sick
If he rise to go as far
      As the nearest rick:

He thinks of his morn of life,
      His hale, strong years;
And braves as he may the night
      Of darkness and tears.

Robert Bridges
from Poetical Works,Volume II, 1899.

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

Robert Bridges biography

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Icicle Drops / Arthur John Lockhart

Icicle Drops


Fast from yon icicle's inverted spire,
Yon shining minims, glittering in the sun,
Fall brightly down, sheen drops of fluent fire,
Momently hanging, — sinking, one by one, —
Sliding clear beads as down a silver wire;
So archer-stars shoot thro' abysses dun;
So blood drips down from the knive's fierce desire;
So fall our moments; so our tears do run.

With drop on drop, with everlasting flow,
With changing atom, and revolving sphere,
Our never-resting lives must downward go; —
Still hung in momentary brightness here,
Then sinking to that breast toward which incline
The drops that glow, and eke the beams that shine.


The sun, at length, with a more fervent fire,
Hath gained a subtle mastery of the dawn;
And, still more swiftly, from the less'ning spire
The hastening gems descend, till all are gone.
But, lo! they come! The vanish'd ones surprise
In golden mist, my wistful, musing sight;
Soul o' th' earth, its exhalations rise,
And soon the drops return to air and light.

There shall they hang 'mid purple glooms aloof,
With clouds noon-white, or tinct with crimson eve:
Or shine supreme in Iris' circling woof,
Wherein his married hues the sun doth weave.
And so this falling life shall not remain
Sunk in the earth; 'twill rise to Heaven again.

Arthur John Lockhart (1850-1922)
from Beside the Narraguagus, and other poems, 1895

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

Arthur John Lockhart biography

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The stars are glittering in the frosty sky /
Charles Heavysege

The stars are glittering in the frosty sky,
Numerous as pebbles on a broad sea-coast;
And o'er the vault the cloud-like galaxy
Has marshalled its innumerable host.
Alive all heaven seems! with wondrous glow
Tenfold refulgent every star appears,
As if some wide, celestial gale did blow,
And thrice illume the ever-kindled spheres.
Orbs, with glad orbs rejoicing, burning, beam
Ray-crowned, with lambent lustre in their zones,
Till o'er the blue, bespangled spaces seem
Angels and great archangels on their thrones;
A host divine, whose eyes are sparkling gems,
And forms more bright than diamond diadems.

Charles Heavysege (1816-1876)
from Sonnets, 1855

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Charles Heavysege biography

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter Uplands / Archibald Lampman

Winter Uplands

The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek,
The loneliness of this forsaken ground,
The long white drift upon whose powdered peak
I sit in the great silence as one bound;
The rippled sheet of snow where the wind blew
Across the open fields for miles ahead;
The far-off city towered and roofed in blue
A tender line upon the western red;
The stars that singly, then in flocks appear,
Like jets of silver from the violet dome,
So wonderful, so many and so near,
And then the golden moon to light me home —
     The crunching snowshoes and the stinging air,
     And silence, frost, and beauty everywhere.

Archibald Lampman

from The Poems of Archibald Lampman, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain]
Archibald Lampman (by George Dance)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Skater / Charles G.D. Roberts

The Skater

My glad feet shod with the glittering steel
I was the god of the wingèd heel.

The hills in the far white sky were lost;
The world lay still in the wide white frost;

And the woods hung hushed in their long white dream
By the ghostly, glimmering, ice-blue stream.

Here was a pathway, smooth like glass,
Where I and the wandering wind might pass

To the far-off palaces, drifted deep,
Where Winter's retinue rests in sleep.

I followed the lure, I fled like a bird,
Till the startled hollows awoke and heard

A spinning whisper, a sibilant twang,
As the stroke of the steel on the tense ice rang;

And the wandering wind was left behind
As faster, faster I followed my mind;

Till the blood sang high in my eager brain,
And the joy of my flight was almost pain.

Then I stayed the rush of my eager speed
And silently went as a drifting seed, 

Slowly, furtively, till my eyes
Grew big with the awe of a dim surmise,

And the hair of my neck began to creep
At hearing the wilderness talk in sleep.

Shapes in the fir-gloom drifted near.
In the deep of my heart I heard my fear.

And I turned and fled, like a soul pursued,
From the white, inviolate solitude.

Charles G.D. Roberts
Poems, 1901

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

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Skaters / John Gould Fletcher

The Skaters

Black swallows swooping or gliding
In a flurry of entangled loops and curves;
The skaters skim over the frozen river.
And the grinding click of their skates as they impinge upon the surface
Is like the brushing together of thin wing-tips of silver.

John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)
from Modern American Poetry, 1919

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

John Gould Fletcher biography

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On the Grasshopper and Cricket / John Keats

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead:
      When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
      And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's — he takes the lead
      In summer luxury, — he has never done
      With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
      On a lone winter evening, when the frost
            Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
      And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
            The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

John Keats
from Poems, 1817

[Poem is in the public domain]

John Keats biography

Penny's Top 20 - February 2011

The 20 most-visited poems on  The Betty Blog during February 2011:

     1. Winter Love, George Dance
   2. Accompaniment / Accompagnment, Hector de Saint-Denys
   3. Betty (or Betty's Hat), George Dance
   4. Bird Cage / Cage d'oiseau, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
   5. Landscape in Two Colours / Paysage en deux couleurs, Hector de
        Saint-Denys Garneau

   6. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
   7. Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery
   8. River of My Eyes / Rivière de mes yeux, Hector de Saint-Denys
   9. Betty's OS 2.0, George Dance
10. The Children / Les enfants, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

11. Welcome / Accueil, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
12. Once / Autrefois, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
13. A corpse demands a drink / Un mort demande à boire, Hector de
        Saint-Denys Garneau
14. Fever / Fièvre, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
15. No Support / C'est là sans appui, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

16. The Great Willows / Saules, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
17. Portrait, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
18. Small Apocalypse / Petite fin du monde, Hector de Saint-Denys
19. Shuttered House / Maison Fermée, Hector de Saint-Denys
20. Betty's OS, George Dance

[based on Blogger "Stats"]