Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Looking and Playing in Space now in paperback

I am pleased to announce that Looking and Playing in Space, my translation of Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau's 1937 book of poetry, Regards et jeux dans l'espace, is now available in print as a paperback.

The book is available by print-on-demand from Lulu.com, which is publishing it on behalf of Principled Press of Toronto, Canada (my own imprint).

The list price is $18.00. For more information on the book, including a preview of several poems,  go here:
Preview Looking and Playing in Space at Lulu.com. 

As always, readers of  The Penny Blog may continue to read the whole of Looking and Playing in Space for free on the blog -- just click  here:

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Whispering Poplars / Jane Elizabeth MacDonald

The Whispering Poplars

I hear the whispering poplars
    In the hollow by my door;
They sound like fairy waters
    Beside a magic shore,
They sound like long-lost secrets
    Of childhood's golden lore,–
The murmuring, nodding poplars
    In the hollow by my door.

All night they talk together
    Beneath the silent sky;
The mountains crouch beyond them
   The blue lake sleeps near by,–
But still the silver, sibilant
    Small voices laugh and sigh,
Talking all night together
    Beneath the silent sky.

Jane Elizabeth MacDonald
from Canadian Poets, 1916

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

Jane Elizabeth MacDonald biography

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Impression: Le Reveillon / Oscar Wilde

Impression: Le Reveillon

The sky is laced with fitful red,
The circling mists and shadows flee,
The dawn is rising from the sea,
Like a white lady from her bed.

And jagged brazen arrows fall
Athwart the feathers of the night,
And a long wave of yellow light
Breaks silently on tower and hall,

And spreading wide across the wold
Wakes into flight some fluttering bird,
And all the chestnut tops are stirred,
And all the branches streaked with gold.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
from Poems, 1881

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Oscar Wilde biography

Friday, August 26, 2011

August Evening on the Beach, Lake Huron / William Wilfred Campbell

August Evening on the Beach, Lake Huron

A lurid flush of sunset sky,
An angry sketch of gleaming lake,
I will remember till I die
The sound, of pines that sob and sigh,
Of waves upon the beach that break.

’Twas years ago, and yet it seems,
O love, but only yesterday
We stood in holy sunset dreams,
While all the day’s diaphanous gleams
Sobbed into silence bleak and gray.

We scarcely knew, but our two souls
Like night and day rushed into one;
The stars came out in gleaming shoals:
While, like a far-off bell that tolls,
Came voices from the wave-dipped sun.

We scarcely knew, but hand in hand,
With subtle sense, was closer pressed;
As we two walked in that old land.
Forever new, whose shining strand
Goes gleaming round the world’s great breast.

What was it sweet our spirits spoke?
No outward sound of voice was heard.
But was it bird or angel broke
The silence, till a dream voice woke
And all the night was music-stirred?

What was it, love, did mantle us,
Such fire of incense filled our eyes?
The moon-light was not ever thus:
Such star-born music rained on us,
We grew so glad and wonder-wise.

But this, O love, was long ago,
Although it seems but yesterday
The moon rose in her silver glow,
As she will rise on nights of woe,
On hands uplift, on hearts that pray.

A lurid flush of sunset sky,
An angry sketch of gleaming lake;
I will remember till I die,
The sound of pines that sob and sigh,
Of waves upon the beach that break.

William Wilfred Campbell (1860-1918)
from Lake Lyrics, and other poems, 1889

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

William Wilfred Campbell biography

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Heat in the City / Charles G.D. Roberts

Heat in the City

Over the scorching roofs of iron
The red moon rises slow.
Uncomforted beneath its light
The pale crowds gasping go.

The heart-sick city, spent with day,
Cries out in vain for sleep.
The childless wife beside her dead
Is too outworn to weep.

The children in the upper rooms
Lie faint, with half-shut eyes.
In the thick-breathing, lighted ward
The stricken workman dies.

From breathless pit and sweltering loft
Dim shapes creep one by one
To throng the curb and crowd the stoops
And fear to-morrow's sun.

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 biography

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An August Mood / Duncan Campbell Scott

An August Mood

Where the pines have fallen on the hillside
The green needles burning in the sun
Make sweet incense in the vacant spaces
All along the run
Of the rill; and by the rillside
Rushes waver and shine;
In remote and shady places
Wintergreen abounds and interlaces
With the twinflower vine.

The young earth appears aloof and lonely
Swinging in the ether, only
Nature left, with all her golden foison;
No ambitions here to wound or poison
With their fears and wishes,
The pure life of birds and beasts and fishes.

All our human passion and endeavour
Idle as a thistle down
Lightly wheeling, blown about forever;
All our vain renown
Slighter is than flicker of the rushes;
All our prate of evil and of good,
Lesser than the comment of two thrushes
Talking in the wood.

Duncan Campbell Scott
from The Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott, 1926

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Duncan Campbell Scott biography

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Storm / Bliss Carman

Summer Storm 

The hilltop trees are bowing
Under the coming of storm.
The low gray clouds are trailing
Like squadrons that sweep and form,
With their ammunition of rain.

Then the trumpeter wind gives signal
To unlimber the viewless guns;
The cattle huddle together;
Indoors the farmer runs;
And the first shot lashes the pane.

They charge through the quiet orchard;
One pear tree is snapped like a wand;
As they sweep from the shattered hillside,
Ruffling the blackened pond,
Ere the sun takes the field again.

Bliss Carman
from April Airs, 1916

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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Symbols / David Morton


Beautiful words, like butterflies, blow by,
      With what swift colours on their fragile wings! –
Some that are less articulate than a sigh,
      Some that were names of ancient, lovely things.
What delicate careerings of escape,
     When they would pass beyond the baffled reach,
To leave a haunting shadow and a shape, –
      Eluding still the careful traps of speech.

And I who watch and listen, lie in wait,
      Seeing the cloudy cavalcades blow past,  –
Happy if some bright vagrant, soon or late,
      May venture near the snares of sound, at last  –
Most fortunate captor if, from time to time,
One may be taken, trembling, in a rhyme.

David Morton
from Ships in Harbor, and other poems, 1921.

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

David Morton biography

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A City Sunset / T.E. Hulme

A City Sunset

Alluring, Earth seducing, with high conceits
is the sunset that reigns
at the end of westward streets. . . .
A sudden flaring sky
troubling strangely the passer by
with visions, alien to long streets, of Cytherea
or the smooth flesh of Lady Castlemaine. . . .
A frolic of crimson
is the spreading glory of the sky,
heaven's jocund maid
flaunting a trailed red robe
along the fretted city roofs
about the time of homeward going crowds
 a vain maid, lingering, loth to go. . . .

T.E. Hulme (1883-1917)
For Christmas MCMXVIII, 1909.

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

T.E. Hulme biography

Friday, August 19, 2011

And wilt thou have me fashion into speech /
Elizabeth Barrett Browning


And wilt thou have me fashion into speech
The love I bear thee, finding words enough,
And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough,
Between our faces, to cast light on each? --
I drop it at thy feet. I cannot teach
My hand to hold my spirits so far off
From myself -- me -- that I should bring thee proof
In words, of love hid in me out of reach.
Nay, let the silence of my womanhood
Commend my woman-love to thy belief, --
Seeing that I stand unwon, however wooed,
And rend the garment of my life, in brief,
By a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,
Lest one touch of this heart convey its grief.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
from Sonnets from the Portuguese, 1850

[Poem is in the public domain]

Elizabeth Barrett Browning biography
All poems of Sonnets from the Portuguese

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to section added to Penny's Poetry Pages

I've had substantially less free time this week, and the little I've had I've been spending mainly working on the new Penny's Poetry Pages wiki. So I don't have a poem tonight. I decided to write about new developments on the wiki instead.

One part of the wiki that has recently been put together is our How to section: 37 (and counting) articles on topics ranging from How to analyze poetry to How to write a villanelle.

While many of the articles sound aimed at a teenage readership, going on about class assignments and such, I don't think that's a negative in any way. If it gets some new people reading the wiki, that's great; and I don't think the slant will stop anyone else from reading any of the articles, or from profiting from the ones they do read.

A real plus, in my eyes, is that none of the articles duplicate Wikipedia content. 36 of them come from an online How-to wiki (that anyone can edit, all contents Creative Commons) called WikiHow, while I wrote one (on writing metered verse).

If you're interested in looking at the section, here is the link:


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I lived with visions for my company /
Elizabeth Barrett Browning


I lived with visions for my company
Instead of men and women, years ago,
And found them gentle mates, nor thought to know
A sweeter music than they played to me.
But soon their trailing purple was not free
Of this world's dust, their lutes did silent grow,
And I myself grew faint and blind below
Their vanishing eyes. Then thou didst come – to be,
Beloved, what they seemed. Their shining fronts,
Their songs, their splendours, (better, yet the same,
As river-water hallowed into fonts)
Met in thee, and from out thee overcame
My soul with satisfaction of all wants:
Because God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese, 1850

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

About Sonnets from the Portuguese

Elizabeth Barrett Browning biography

Monday, August 15, 2011

When You Are Old / W.B. Yeats

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats
The Rose

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

Yeats biography

Friday, August 12, 2011

August Night / Sara Teasdale

August Night

On a midsummer night, on a night that was eerie with stars,
In a wood too deep for a single star to look through,
You led down a path whose turnings you knew in the darkness,
But the scent of the dew-dripping cedars was all that I knew.

I drank of the darkness, I was fed with the honey of fragrance,
I was glad of my life, the drawing of breath was sweet;
I heard your voice, you said, 'Look down, see the glow-worm!'
It was there before me, a small star white at my feet.

We watched while it brightened as though it were breathed on and burning,
This tiny creature moving over earth's floor --
"L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle,"
You said, and no more.

Sara Teasdale
from Dark of the Moon, 1926

11 - "The love  that moves the sun and other stars" - Dante, Paradiso

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stony Lake / Katherine Hale

Stony Lake

By southern seas I have seen purple stones
Throw back the shadows of the waves and hills.
On the Ǽgean, so the stories run,
Greek youths, with many a saffron-coloured sail,
Rode flame-like to the rhythm of the gale.

Again, on the bright shores of this small lake,
Purple of hills and pink of northern rocks.
To-day I met a sail-boat in the wind
And at its mast a brown Canadian boy —
He was as splendid as his mate of Troy.

Katherine Hale
from Morning in the West, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Katherine Hale biography

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Notes on Copyright (3): Two loopholes

The main reason for another post in this series is to announce its termination. Since the last installment, I have found a new venue for my copyright articles, and for other planned poetry-related prose articles: a new wiki, Penny's Poetry Pages. While parts of the wiki are still under construction, we have put together an excellent series of articles on copyright law that you can read here. With that menu and banquet prepared,there is no reason to continue to dole out crumbs of information on the blog.

Nor did I ever want to get into the minutiae of countries' legislation; my best advice is to read the copyright laws of your own country. The rules I previously gave err deliberately on the side of caution. There are works on the blog that carry the "All rights reserved" warning, but which you may legally copy if you wish; if you wish, then I urge you to check the facts and law around the poem's copyright status where you live.

I will, though, conclude by pointing out two major loopholes, which drastically affect copyright status in the states whose acts contain them.

The first is called the "rule of the shorter term." This rule modifies the principle of national treatment, under which states give foreign authors the same protection in law as their own subjects. Basically the rule states that, if state A gives authors a shorter term of copyright protection than state B, state A's authors will enjoy only the same term, in state B, as that enjoyed in A.

For example, in the European Union, it is mandatory that all EU states protect copyright for the author's life plus 70 years. (That is why the United Kingdom extended its copyright in 1995.) At the same time, it is mandatory that all  EU states have a rule of the shorter term. That means that, because in Canada copyright protection runs for only an author's life plus 50 years, in the U.K. (and the rest of the EU) Canadian authors' works are copyrighted for only the author's life plus 50 years. Since all the Canadian works on   The Penny Blog  are in the public domain in Canada, they are all in the public domain in Europe.

The United States do not have a rule of the shorter term, alas. But they do have a significant loophole of their own, which I'll call here the "1922 rule."

In 1978 the U.S. extended copyright protection from 50 to 70 years' after an author's life, by establishing a 20-year "freeze"during which no copyrights would expire. However, the freeze was applied only to books published within the previous 75 years: from 1923 on. As for books published in 1922 or earlier, the 1998 act affirmed that all of them are in the public domain.

That makes a great deal of material available to otherwise excluded bloggers and others. For instance, Robert W. Service died in 1955, meaning that most of his books are copyrighted in the U.S. until 2025. However, the poetry of his that  The Penny Blog  has published -- from 1907's Songs of a Sourdough and 1916's Rhymes of a Red Cross Man - is all in the public domain in the U.S. thanks to the 1922 rule.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunrise / Charles E.S. Wood

The lean coyote, prowler of the night,
Slips to his rocky fastnesses.
Jackrabbits noiselessly shuttle among the sage-brush,
And, from the castellated cliffs,
Rock-ravens launch their proud black sails upon the day.
The wild horses troop back to their pastures.
The poplar-trees watch beside the irrigation-ditches.
Orioles, whose nests sway in the cotton-wood trees by the ditch-side,     begin to twitter.
All shy things, breathless, watch
The thin white skirts of dawn,
The dancer of the sky,
Who trips daintily down the mountain-side
Emptying her crystal chalice. . . .
And a red-bird, dipped in sunrise, cracks from a poplar's top
His exultant whip above silver world.

Charles E.S. Wood (1852-1944)
from The Poet in the Desert, 1915

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

Charles E.S. Wood biography

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Sun / Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer Sun

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
from A Child's Garden of Verses, 1885

[Poem is in the public domain]

Robert Louis Stevenson biography.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Fading of the Sun / Wallace Stevens

A Fading of the Sun

Who can think of the sun costuming clouds
When all people are shaken
Or of night endazzled, proud,
When people awaken
And cry and cry for help?

The warm antiquity of self,
Everyone, grows suddenly cold.
The tea is bad, bread sad.
How can the world so old be so mad
That the people die?

If joy shall be without a book
It lies, themselves within themselves,
If they will look
Within themselves
And cry and cry for help?

Within as pillars of the sun,
Supports of night. The tea,
The wine is good. The bread,
The meat is sweet.
And they will not die.

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), 1933
from Ideas of Order, 1935

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Wallace Stevens biography

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Unnamed Lake / Frederick George Scott

    The Unnamed Lake

    It sleeps among the thousand hills
        Where no man ever trod,
    And only nature's music fills
        The silences of God.

    Great mountains tower above its shore,
        Green rushes fringe its brim,
    And o'er its breast for evermore
        The wanton breezes skim.

    Dark clouds that intercept the sun
        Go there in Spring to weep,
    And there, when Autumn days are done,
        White mists lie down to sleep.

    Sunrise and sunset crown with gold
        The peaks of ageless stone,
    Where winds have thundered from of old
        And storms have set their throne.

    No echoes of the world afar
        Disturb it night or day,
    The sun and shadow, moon and star
        Pass and repass for aye.

    'Twas in the grey of early dawn,
        When first the lake we spied,
    And fragments of a cloud were drawn
        Half down the mountain side.

    Along the shore a heron flew,
        And from a speck on high,
    That hovered in the deepening blue,
        We heard the fish-hawk's cry.

    Among the cloud-capt solitudes,
        No sound the silence broke,
    Save when, in whispers down the woods,
        The guardian mountains spoke.

    Through tangled brush and dewy brake,
        Returning whence we came,
    We passed in silence, and the lake
        We left without a name.

Frederick George Scott 
from The Unnamed Lake and other poems, 1897.

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

Frederick George Scott biography

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Starlight Night / Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Starlight Night

Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
   O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
   The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves’-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
   Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set on a flare!
   Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare!—
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.
Buy then! bid then!—What?—Prayer, patience, aims, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!
   Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
   Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

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

Gerard Manley Hopkins biography

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Penny's Top 20 - July 2011

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

  1. The Man with the Blue Guitar, by Wallace Stevens
  2. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
  3. Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
  4. Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery
  5. Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens

  6. Lorelei's Song / Das Loreleylied, Heinrich Heine
  7. Mannequin in a Mirror, Matt E. & George Dance
  8. Elixir (Dance Mix), Crystal Matteau & George Dance
  9. Accompaniment - Accompagnement, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
10. Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy

11. September Night, George Dance
12. Romance Novel - Roman, Arthur Rimbaud
13. Lucky Penny, George Dance
14. The Children - Les enfants, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau
15. Remembering Ishtar (1929), Ivan McNeil

16. A Madrigal, Jane Elizabeth MacDonald 
17. Improvisations on the Flute, Marjorie Pickthall
18. The Lily Bed, Isabella Valancy Crawford
19. Spring Pastoral, Elinor Wylie
20. London, F.S. Flint

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Penny's Top 20 - June 2011

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

  1. Lorelei's Song / Das Loreleylied, Heinrich Heine
  2. Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
  3. Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  4. Lucky Penny, George Dance
  5. Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery

  6. June, George Dance
  7. Elixir (Dance Mix), Crystal Matteau and George Dance
  8. Remembering Ishtar (1929), Ivan McNeil
  9. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
10. A Madrigal, Jane Elizabeth MacDonald 

11. Improvisations on the Flute, Marjorie Pickthall
12. The Lily Bed, Isabella Valancy Crawford
13. Spring Pastoral, Elinor Wylie
15. London, F.S. Flint

16. She walks in beauty, Lord Byron
17. Autumn, T.E. Hulme
18. The River,  Frederick George Scott
20. Trees, F.S. Flint

Source: Blogger, "Stats"