Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love /
Christopher Marlowe

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.

Christopher Marlowe
published 1599

[Poem is in the public domain]

Christopher Marlowe biography

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nearing Quebec / Katherine Hale

Nearing Quebec

Grey line of ocean that our sharp bow severs,
Do you remember those tiny dipping sails
Venturing the unknown!
Then the free wind was an uncertain guide,
Criss-crossing the grey line,
Breaking the problematic course,
Enlarging, moving, changing
Opening the vast abyss.
Remember the huddled women
In question of this mystery,
The climbing, peering men,
The strain of tense expectancy,
And the doubt of arrival.
But the trembling line is controlled,
And the wayward guide dismissed.

What is the wind to us,
A beaten and frustrated force!
Did it once intimidate men,
Who used to measure and peer
At navies of storm in the sky?
First-rate machinery casts out fear,
And now we know what we know!
London, New York, it is all the same,
The ocean track is clear and tame,
We shall without doubt arrive.

Yet I return to you,
As though to a new land,
A woman on a sailing ship
Still huddled in a mystery.
Shall I touch your shores,
Past all these shimmering capes,
Prefacing cliffs and legends,
Witch-music, song of sirens,
Hymns of safety and the rest?
I mean your actual shores;
Earth of your very being,
The innermost of you:
The straight cliffs of your mind,
The mountains of your will,
The secret passes,
The deep and lovely fountains of your joy.
Are you to be my country,
My fathomless resource,
And my enduring song?
I, too, sail trembling
Into the unknown.

Katherine Hale
The Island and other poems 1934

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Katherine Hale biography

Monday, June 27, 2011

She walks in beauty / George Gordon, Lord Byron

She walks in beauty — like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to the tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
    Or softly lightens o'er her face —
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek and o'er that brow
    So soft, so calm yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow
    But tell of days in goodness spent
A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent.

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
from Hebrew Melodies, 1815

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Lord Byron biography

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trees / F.S. Flint


Elm trees
and the leaf the boy in me hated
long ago–
rough and sandy.

and their leaves,
tender, smooth to the fingers,
and a secret in their smell
I have forgotten.

and forest glades,
heart aching with wonder, fear:
their bitter mast.

and the scented beetle
we put in our handkerchiefs;
and the roots of one
that spread into a river:
nakedness, water and joy.

white and odorous with blossom,
framing the quiet fields,
and swaying flowers and grasses,
and the hum of bees.

Oh, these are the things that are with me now,
in the town;
and I am grateful
for this minute of my manhood.

F.S. Flint (1885-1960)
from Otherworld: Cadences, 1920

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

F.S. Flint biography

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Blue Heron / Theodore Goodridge Roberts

The Blue Heron

In a green place lanced through
With amber and gold and blue;
A place of water and weeds
And roses pinker than dawn,
And ranks of lush young reeds,
And grasses straightly withdrawn
From graven ripples of sands,
The still blue heron stands.

Smoke-blue he is, and grey
As embers of yesterday.
Still he is, as death;
Like stone, or shadow of stone,
Without a pulse or breath,
Motionless and alone
There in the lily stems:
But his eyes are alive like gems.

Still as a shadow; still
Grey feather and yellow bill:
Still as an image made
Of mist and smoke half hid
By windless sunshine and shade,
Save when a yellow lid
Slides and is gone like a breath:
Death-still — and sudden as death!

Theodore Goodridge Roberts (1877-1953), 1923
from The Lost Shipmate, 1926

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Theodore Goodridge Roberts biography

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer of Love / Joyce Kilmer

Summer of Love

June lavishes sweet-scented loveliness
And sprinkles sunfilled wine on everything;
The very leaves grow drunk with bliss and sing
And every breeze becomes a soft caress.
All earthly things felicity confess
And fairies dance in many a moonlit ring;
The fleetfoot hours fresh wealth of joyaunce bring;
Life wears her gayest rose-embroidered dress.

Kind June, why bear these golden gifts to me?
All winter long I hear the throstle's tune,
All winter long red roses I can see,
Reading the while Love's ancient magic rune.
In Love's fair garden-close I wander free,
So take your guerdon elsewhere, lovely June.

Joyce Kilmer
from Summer of Love, 1911

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

Joyce Kilmer biography

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mortality / Gerald Gould


In the green quiet wood where I was used,
    In summer, to a welcome calm and dark,
I found the threat of murder introduced
    By scars of white paint on the wrinkled bark.

How few old friends were to be spared! And now
    I see my friends with new eyes here in town
Men as trees walking, and on every brow
    A pallid scar, and all to be cut down.

Gerald Gould (1885-1936)
from Beauty, the Pilgrim, 1927

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

Gerald Gould biography

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Day in June / James Russell Lowell

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

James Russell Lowell
from The Vision of Sir Launfal, 1848 - Prelude to Part First

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

James Russell Lowell biography

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To Summer / William Blake

To Summer

O thou who passest thro' our valleys in
Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat
That flames from their large nostrils! thou, O Summer,
Oft pitched'st here thy golden tent, and oft
Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld
With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair.
Beneath our thickest shades we oft have heard
Thy voice, when noon upon his fervid car
Rode o'er the deep of heaven; beside our springs
Sit down, and in our mossy valleys, on

Some bank beside a river clear, throw thy
Silk draperies off, and rush into the stream:
Our valleys love the Summer in his pride.

Our bards are fam'd who strike the silver wire:
Our youth are bolder than the southern swains:
Our maidens fairer in the sprightly dance:
We lack not songs, nor instruments of joy,
Nor echoes sweet, nor waters clear as heaven,
Nor laurel wreaths against the sultry heat.

William Blake
from Poetical Sketches, 1783

[Poem is in the public domain]

William Blake biography

Monday, June 20, 2011

Good Books / Edgar Guest

Good Books

Good books are friendly things to own.
If you are busy they will wait.
They will not call you on the phone
Or wake you if the hour is late.
They stand together row by row,
Upon the low shelf or the high.
But if you're lonesome this you know:
You have a friend or two nearby.

The fellowship of books is real.
They're never noisy when you're still.
They won't disturb you at your meal.
They'll comfort you when you are ill.
The lonesome hours they'll always share.
When slighted they will not complain.
And though for them you've ceased to care
Your constant friends they'll still remain.

Good books your faults will never see
Or tell about them round the town.
If you would have their company
You merely have to take them down.
They'll help you pass the time away,
They'll counsel give if that you need.
He has true friends for night and day
Who has a few good books to read.

Edgar Guest

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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father / Ella Wheeler Wilcox


He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame;
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just little short of God;
Oh you should have heard the way they said his name –

There seemed to be a loving little prayer
In their voices, even when they called him ‘Dad.’
Though the man was never heard of anywhere,
As a hero, yet somehow understood
He was doing well his part and making good;
And you knew it, by the way his children had
Of saying ‘Father.’

He gave them neither eminence nor wealth,
But he gave them blood untainted with a vice,
And opulence of undiluted health.
He was honest, and unpurchable and kind;
He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind.
So he made them heirs to riches without price –
This father.

He never preached or scolded; and the rod –
Well, he used it as a turning pole in play.
But he showed the tender sympathy of God.
To his children in their troubles, and their joys.
He was always chum and comrade with his boys,
And his daughters – oh, you ought to hear them say

Now I think of all achievements ‘tis the least
To perpetuate the species; it is done
By the insect and the serpent, and the beast.
But the man who keeps his body, and his thought,
Worth bestowing on an offspring love-begot,
Then the highest earthly glory he has won,
When in pride a grown-up daughter or a son
Says ‘That’s Father.’

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

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

Ella Wheeler Wilcox biography

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Lily Bed / Isabella Valancy Crawford

The Lily Bed

His cedar paddle, scented, red,
He thrust down through the lily bed;

Cloaked in a golden pause he lay,
Locked in the arms of the placid bay.

Trembled alone his bark canoe
As shocks of bursting lilies flew

Thro' the still crystal of the tide,
And smote the frail boat's birchen side;

Or, when beside the sedges thin
Rose the sharp silver of a fin;

Or when, a wizard swift and cold,
A dragon-fly beat on in gold

And jewels all the widening rings
Of waters singing to his wings;

Or, like a winged and burning soul,
Dropped from the gloom an oriole

On the cool wave, as to the balm
Of the Great Spirit's open palm

The freed soul flies. And silence clung
To the still hours, as tendrilts hung,

In darkness carven, from the trees,
Sedge-buried to their burly knees.

Stillness sat in his lodge of leaves;
Clung golden shadows to its eaves,

And on its cone-speced floor, like maize,
Red-ripe, fell sheaves of knotted rays.

The wood, a proud and crested brave;
Bead-bright, a maiden, stood the wave.

And he had spoke his soul of love
With voice of eagle and of dove.

Of loud, strong pines his tongue was made;
His lips, soft blossoms in the shade,

That kissed her silver lips – hers cool
As lilies on his inmost pool –

Till now he stood, in triumph's rest,
His image painted in her breast.

One isle 'tween blue and blue did melt,–
A bead of wampum from the belt

Of Manitou – a purple rise
On the far shore heaved to the skies.

His cedar paddle, scented, red,
He drew up from the lily bed;

All lily-locked, all lily-locked,
His light bark in the blossoms rocked.

Their cool lips round the sharp prow sang,
Their soft clasp to the frail sides sprang,

With breast and lip they wove a bar.
Stole from her lodge the Evening Star;

With golden hand she grasped the mane
Of a red cloud on her azure plain.

It by the peaked, red sunset flew;
Cool winds from its bright nostrils blew.

They swayed the high, dark trees, and low
Swept the locked lilies to and fro.

With cedar paddle, scented, red,
He pushed out from the lily bed.

Isabella Valancy Crawford
from The Collected Poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford, 1905

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Isabella Valancy Crawford (by George Dance)

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Have a Rendezvous with Death / Alan Seeger

I have a Rendezvous with Death

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air —
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath —
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Alan Seeger (1888-1916)
from Poems, 1917

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

Alan Seeger biography

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Remembering Ishtar (1929) / Ivan McNeil

Remembering Ishtar (1929)

In nakedness is god-head understood —
I shall walk naked on the hills to-night,
With stars like bubbles in my started blood,
Knowing god-wisdom and a god’s delight.

One with the sea-slug and the elephant,
I shall kiss trees and press with strange surmise
Upon outcast immensities that haunt
This muffled body’s dreaming of bare skies.

Fate wars in vain on unconditioned flesh —
Unbounded by the dark of high lands.
I shall touch god-head in my nakedness,
And cup infinity in quiet hands.

Ivan McNeil
from the Canadian Mercury, 1929

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Landsman / Francis Sherman

The Landsman

“It well may be just as you say,
Will Carver, that your tales are true;
Yet think what I must put away,
Will Carver, if I sail with you.”

“If you should sail with me (the wind
Is west, the tide’s at full, my men!)
The things that you have left behind
Will be as nothing to you then.”

“Inland, it’s June! And the birds sing
Among the wooded hills, I know;
Between green fields, unhastening,
The Nashwaak’s shadowed waters flow.

“What know you of such things as these
Who have the gray sea at your door, —
Whose path is as the strong winds please
Beyond this narrow strip of shore?”

“Your fields and woods! Now, answer me:
Up what green path have your feet run
So wide as mine, when the deep sea
Lies all-uncovered to the sun?

“And down the hollows of what hills
Have you gone — half so glad of heart
As you shall be when our sail fills
And the great waves ride far apart?”

“O! half your life is good to live,
Will Carver; yet, if I should go,
What are the things that you can give
Lest I regret the things I know!

“Lest I desire the old life’s way?
The noises of the crowded town?
The busy streets, where, night and day,
The traffickers go up and down?”

“What can I give for these? Alas,
That all unchanged your path must be!
Strange lights shall open as we pass
And alien wakes traverse the sea;

“Your ears shall hear (across your sleep)
New hails, remote, disquieted,
For not a hand-breadth of the deep
But has to soothe some restless dead.

“These things shall be. And other things,
I think, not quite so sad as these!
— Know you the song the rigging sings
When up the opal-tinted seas

“The slow south-wind comes amorously?
The sudden gleam of some far sail
Going the same glad way as we,
Hastily, lest the good wind fail?

“The dreams that come (so strange, so fair!)
When all your world lies well within
The moving magic circle where
The sea ends and the skies begin?” . . .

. . . “What port is that, so far astern,
Will Carver? And how many miles
Shall we have run ere the tide turn?
— And is it far to the farthest isles?”

by Francis Sherman
from A Canadian Calendar: XII Lyrics, 1900

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

Francis Sherman (by George Dance)

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Red, Red Rose / Robert Burns

A Red, Red Rose

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Burns biography

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Elixir (Dance Mix) /
Crystal Matteau & George J. Dance

Elixir (Dance Mix)

Life is but a dance in time
When laughing music fills the air
And sweet melody your mind.

What is greater than the beat
Of the drum? – this heartfelt rhythm,
Leading partner of desire.

Fret not if your feet falter,
You can always find the rhythm:
Listen for the melody.
Let your heart echo the beat.
Find the hidden harmony.

Touch the notes moving, gliding,
Let them sing this time inside you.
Hear them, they are all you have.
Taste them, for they are sublime.
Know them, for they will endure.

Crystal Matteau & George J. Dance
from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015

Crystal Matteau's blog:
Live, Write, Love

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Madrigal / Jane Elizabeth MacDonald

A Madrigal

Spring went by with laughter
    Down the greening hills,
Singing lyric snatches,
    Crowned with daffodils;
Now, by breath of roses
As the soft day closes
Know that April's promise
    June fulfills.

Youth goes by with gladness
    Faery woodlands through,
Led by starry visions,
    Fed with honey-dew;
Life, who dost forever
Urge the high endeavor,
Grant that all the dreaming
    Time brings true!

Jane Elizabeth MacDonald
from Canadian Poets, 1916

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

Jane Elizabeth MacDonald biography

Friday, June 10, 2011

At Gwendolyn MacEwen Park

On Wednesday, Maureen and I found ourselves in Toronto's Gwendolyn MacEwen Park on a beautiful summer's day, so we snapped some pictures of this tribute to one of Canada's finest poets.
One picture is below. Everyone is invited to have a look at the other two, at Ms MacEwen's biography on Wikinfo. For now, only on Wikinfo:

Gwendolyn MacEwen biography.

July 2011 Update: Now also on Penny's Poetry Pages wiki:

Gwendolyn MacEwen Park, Toronto, Ontario. Photo by Maureen Dance. Licensed under Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC-BY-SA-3.0) License.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Sestina of Memories / J.E. Ball

A Sestina of Memories

When you were nine, and I was six years old,
Do you remember how we wandered forth,
Two small explorers, through the summer fields,
With apple turnovers provisioned well,
And trampled down the farmer's mowing grass,
In haste to pluck the little red-stemmed rose?

And how the farmer in his fury rose
With hot red face, as ogres wore of old,
And eyeing angrily his battered grass,
With wingèd words he drove the culprits forth,
And swore a whipping would be theirs as well
The next time they profaned his sacred fields?

Regretfully we left those sunny fields
(For there alone it grew, our longed-for rose),
And sate us down beside a little well
That bubbled up ’midst stonework grey and old,
And watched the slow soft runlets spouting forth,
To lose themselves amidst the spongy grass.

Long time we lay upon the kindly grass,
Until the cows from out their distant fields
In solemn, slow procession issued forth.
With stiff and lagging movements then we rose,
Our little bones aweary felt, and old
(For all the ground was damp beside the well).

Long weary weeks passed by ere we were well:
Long aching weeks; by then the farmer’s grass
Had turned to hay, and our offence was old.
Again we entered those forbidden fields,
But found no more our creamy-petalled rose,
Thorns, only thorns, the straggling hedge brought forth.

Sadly we turned, and sadly trotted forth,
Our flowers were gone, and all our hopes as well;
Though some, consoling, said, “Your little rose
Will bloom again: and, not to hurt the grass,
You might go skirting round the farmer’s fields –
His hand is mortal heavy, though he’s old.”

Still to the sunlit fields Hope speeds us forth:
Prone on the grass, we dream that all is well:
And so wax old, and never grasp our rose.

J.E. Ball
from The Westminster Problems Book, 1908.

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June / John Payne


The empress of the year, the meadows' queen,
Back from the East, with all her goodly train,
Is come, to glorify the world again
With length of light and middle Summer-Sheen.
In every plot, upon her throne of green,
Bright blooms the rose; with birds and blossom-rain
And perfume ecstacied are wood and plain
And Winter is as if it ne'er had been.
Oh June, liege-lady of the flowering prime,
Now that thrush, finch, lark, linnet, ousel, wren
Thy praises pipe, to the Iranian bard
How shall we harken, who, the highwaymen
Autumn and Winter, warns us, follow hard
On thy fair feet and bide their baleful time?

John Payne

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

John Payne biography

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Rich Man / Franklin P. Adams

The Rich Man

The rich man has his motor-car,
     His country and his town estate.
He smokes a fifty-cent cigar
          And jeers at Fate.

He frivols through the livelong day,
     He knows not Poverty, her pinch.
His lot seems light, his heart seems gay;
          He has a cinch.

Yet though my lamp burns low and dim,
     Though I must slave for livelihood —
Think you that I would change with him?
          You bet I would!

Franklin P. Adams
from Tobogganing on Parnassus, 1909

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

Franklin P. Adams biography

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring Pastoral / Elinor Wylie

Spring Pastoral

Liza, go steep your long white hands
In the cool waters of that spring
Which bubbles up through shiny sands
The colour of a wild-dove's wing.

Dabble your hands, and steep them well
Until those nails are pearly white
Now rosier than a laurel bell;
Then come to me at candlelight.

Lay your cold hands across my brows,
And I shall sleep, and I shall dream
Of silver-pointed willow boughs
Dipping their fingers in a stream.

Elinor Wylie (1885-1928)
from Nets to Catch the Wind, 1921

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

Elinor Wylie (by George Dance)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Improvisations on the Flute / Marjorie Pickthall

Improvisations on the Flute

My lost delight, my guest,
Fled from me when I stirred,
Silently as the bird
That has no nest.

She has gathered darkness to build her a nest
And the little leaves of cloud.
She crouches with her breast against darkness,
And hides as a hare in the meadows of night.
It covers her like long grass
Whose blossom is all of stars;
Crocus-stars, stars of anemone,
Where cling the moths that are the longings of men.
She is born of the evening,
When the moon breathes the scent of young thyme,
And the dead shepherds hear the sheep cropping in the dew.

She is slain of the morning,
When the thin willow-leaves tremble like fire
Burning the branches,
As if each were a sorrow that burned and shone
Forever ―

My guest, my lost delight,
Come nearer, star by star.
Sweet as the lips of night
Your kisses are.

Marjorie Pickthall
from The Lamp of Poor Souls, 1916

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

Marjorie Pickthall biography

Friday, June 3, 2011

London / F.S. Flint


London, my beautiful,
it is not the sunset
nor the pale green sky
shimmering through the curtain
of the silver birch,
nor the quietness;
it is not the hopping
of birds
upon the lawn,
nor the darkness
stealing over all things
that moves me.

But as the moon creeps slowly
over the tree-tops
among the stars,
I think of her
and the glow her passing
sheds on men.

London, my beautiful,
I will climb
into the branches
to the moonlit tree-tops,
that my blood may be cooled
by the wind.

F.S. Flint (1885-1960)
from Cadences, 1915

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

F.S. Flint biography

The River / Frederick George Scott

The River

Why hurry, little river,
Why hurry to the sea?
    There is nothing there to do
    But to sink into the blue
And all forgotten be.
There is nothing on that shore
But the tides for evermore,
And the faint and far-off line
Where the winds across the brine
For ever, ever roam
And never find a home.

Why hurry, little river,
    From the mountains and the mead,
Where the graceful elms are sleeping
    And the quiet cattle feed?
The loving shadows cool
The deep and restful pool;
And every tribute stream
Brings its own sweet woodland dream
Of the mighty woods that sleep
Where the sighs of earth are deep,
And the silent skies look down
On the savage mountain’s frown.

Oh, linger, little river,
    Your banks are all so fair,
Each morning is a hymn of praise,
    Each evening is a prayer.
All day the sunbeams glitter
    On your shadows and your bars,
And at night the dear God stills you
    With the music of the stars.

Frederick George Scott
from A Hymn of Empire, and other poems, 1906

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

Frederick George Scott biography

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May / George J. Dance


How like a tree
to strew its blossoms
over my flowerbed!

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

Fallen cherry blossoms, spring, Japan. Photo by Uryah. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Creative Commons License
"May" by George Dance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Penny's Top 20 - May 2011

The 20 most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog during May 2011:

  1. Lorelei's Song / Das Loreleylied, Heinrich Heine
  2. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
  3. Romance Novel / Roman, Arthur Rimbaud
  4. Daily News, George Dance
  5. Portrait, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

  6. Lucky Penny, George Dance
  7. Velvet Shoes, Elinor Wylie
  8. Spring Night,  Sara Teasdale
  9. Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
10. Songs, Demonspawn

11. Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
12. May in the Selkirks, Bliss Carman
13. The Rabbit, Camilla Doyle
14. Flying Over, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
15. After Rain, Archibald Lampman

16. May, Christina Rossetti
17. To the Birds, Peter McArthur
18. A Memory, Francis Sherman
19. Rain After a Vaudeville Show, Stephen Vincent Benét
20. To Fredericton in May-Time, Charles G.D. Roberts

Source: Blogger, "Stats"