Saturday, October 29, 2011

Three Grey Days / Francis Sherman

Three Grey Days

If she would come, now, and say, What will you, Lover? —
She who has the fairest gifts of all the earth to give —
Think you I should ask some tremendous thing to prove her,
Her life, say, and all her love, so long as she might live? . . .
Should I touch her hair? her hands? her garments, even?
Nay! for such rewards the gods their own good time have set!
Once, these were all mine; the least, poor one was heaven:
Now, lest she remember, I pray that she forget.

Merely should I ask — ah! she would not refuse them
Who still seems very kind when I meet with her in dreams —
Only three of our old days, and — should she help to choose
them —
Would the first not be in April, beside the sudden streams? . . .
Once, upon a morning, up the path that we had taken,
We saw Spring come where the willow-buds are gray,
Heard the high hills, as with tread of armies, shaken;
Felt the strong sun — O the glory of that day!

And then — what? one afternoon of quiet summer weather!
O, woodlands and meadow-lands along the blue St. John,
My birch finds a path — though your rafts lie close together —
Then O! what starry miles before the gray o’ the dawn! . . .
I have met the new day, among the misty islands,
Come with whine of saw-mills and whirr of hidden wings,
Gleam of dewy cobwebs, smell of grassy highlands, —
Ah! the blood grows young again thinking of these things.

Then, last and best of all! Though all else were found hollow
Would Time not send a little space, before the Autumn’s close,
And lead us up the road — the old road we used to follow
Among the sunset hills till the Hunter’s Moon arose? . . .
Then, home through the poplar-wood! damp across our faces
The gray leaves that fall, the moths that flutter by:
Yea! this for me, now, of all old hours and places,
To keep when I am dead, Time, until she come to die.

Francis Sherman (1871-1926)
From A Canadian Calendar, 1900

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

Francis Sherman biography

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shadows / Richard Monckton Milnes


They seem'd, to those who saw them meet,
    The casual friends of every day;
Her smile was undisturb'd and sweet,
    His courtesy was free and gay.

But yet if one the other's name
    In some unguarded moment heard,
The heart you thought so calm and tame
    Would struggle like a captured bird:

And letters of mere formal phrase
    Were blister'd with repeated tears,—
And this was not the work of days,
    But had gone on for years and years!

Alas, that love was not too strong
    For maiden shame and manly pride!
Alas, that they delay'd so long
    The goal of mutual bliss beside!

Yet what no chance could then reveal,
    And neither would be first to own,
Let fate and courage now conceal,
    When truth could bring remorse alone.

Richard Monckton Milnes
from Poetry for the People, and other poems, 1840.

[Poem is in the public domain]

Richard Monckton Milnes biography

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Autumn Treasure / Richard Le Gallienne

Autumn Treasure

Who will gather with me the fallen year,
This drift of forgotten forsaken leaves,
Ah! who give ear
To the sigh October heaves
At summer's passing by!
Who will come walk with me
On this Persian carpet of purple and gold
The weary autumn weaves,
And be as sad as I?
Gather the wealth of the fallen rose,
And watch how the memoried south wind blows
Old dreams and old faces upon the air,
And all things fair.

Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947)
from The Lonely Dancer and Other Poems, 1913

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

Richard Le Gallienne autobiography

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let me Sing of What I Know / William Allingham

Let me Sing of What I Know

A wild west Coast, a little Town,
Where little Folk go up and down,
Tides flow and winds blow:
Night and Tempest and the Sea,
Human Will and Human Fate:
What is little, what is great?
Howsoe'er the answer be,
Let me sing of what I know.

William Allingham
from Sixteen Poems of William Allingham, 1905.

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Allingham biography

Sunday, October 16, 2011

At the End of September / Sandor Petofi

At the End of September

The garden flowers still blossom in the vale,
    Before our house the poplars still are green;
But soon the mighty winter will prevail;
    Snow is already on the mountain seen.
The summer sun’s benign and warming ray
    Still moves my youthful heart, now in its spring;
But lo! my hair shows signs of turning gray,
    The wintry days thereto their colors bring.

This life is short; too early fades the rose;
    To sit here on my knee, my darling, come;
Wilt thou who on my breast dost now repose,
    Not kneel, perhaps, to-morrow o’er my tomb?
O! tell me, if before thee I should die,
    Wilt thou, with broken heart, weep o’er my bier,
Or will some youth efface my memory,
    And with his love soon dry the mournful tear?

If thou dost lay aside the widow’s veil,
    Pray hang it o’er my tomb. At midnight I
Shall rise, and, coming forth from death’s dark vale
    Take it with me to where, forgot, I lie,
And stanch with it my ceaseless flowing tears,
    Flowing for thee who hast forgotten me,
And bind my bleeding heart, which ever bears,
    Even then and there, the truest love for thee.

Sandor Petofi
trnslated by William N. Loew
from Gems of Petofi, 1881

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October / Elinor Wylie


Beauty has a tarnished dress,
And a patchwork cloak of cloth
Dipped deep in mournfulness,
Striped like a moth.

Wet grass where it trails
Dyes it green along the hem;
She has seven silver veils
With cracked bells on them.

She is tired of all these --
Grey gauze, translucent lawn;
The broad cloak of Herakles.
Is tangled flame and fawn.

Water and light are wearing thin:
She has drawn above her head
The warm enormous lion skin
Rough red and gold.

Elinor Wylie (1885-1928}

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

Elinor Wylie biography by George Dance

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Trees at Night / William Kerr

The Trees at Night

Under vague silver moonlight
The trees are lovely and ghostly,
In the pale blue of the night
There are few stars to see.

The leaves are green still, but brown-blent:
They stir not, only known
By a poignant delicate scent
To the lonely moon blown.

The lonely lovely trees sigh
For summer spent and gone:
A few homing leaves drift by,
Poor souls bewildered and wan.

William Kerr
from Georgian Poetry 1920-1922, 1922

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

William Kerr biography

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumn / George Sterling


Now droops the troubled year
And now her tiny sunset stains the leaf.
A holy fear,
A rapt, elusive grief,
Make imminent the swift, exalting tear.

The long wind's weary sigh —
Knowest, O listener! for what it wakes?
Adown the sky
What star of Time forsakes
Her pinnacle? What dream and dreamer die?

A presence half-divine
Stands at the threshold, ready to depart
Without a sign.
Now seems the world's deep heart
About to break. What sorrow stirs in mine?

A mist of twilight rain
Hides now the orange edges of the day.
In vain, in vain
We labor that thou stay,
Beauty who wast, and shalt not be again!

George Sterling (1869-1926)
From The House of Orchids, and other poems, 1911

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

George Sterling biography

Saturday, October 8, 2011

These are the days when Birds come back /
Emily Dickinson

These are the days when Birds come back —
A very few — a Bird or two —
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old — old sophistries of June —
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee —
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear —
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.

Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze —
Permit a child to join.

Thy sacred emblems to partake —
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Penny's Top 20 - September 2011

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

  1.  November, F.W. Harvey 
  2.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  3.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
  4.  Songs, Demonspawn
  5.  Oxford Cheese Ode, James McIntyre

  6.  Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery
  7.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
  8.  Summer Evening, Walter de la Mare
  9,  Moonlight and Common Day, Louise Morey Bowman
10.  September Night, George Dance

11.  Lorelei's Song / Das Loreleylied, Heinrich Heine
12.  The Man with the Blue Guitar, Wallace Stevens
13.  Daily News, George Dance
14.  Autumn Evening, Frances Cornford
15.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens

16.  A Duet, T. Sturge Moore
17.  Lucky Penny, George Dance
18.  In the Shadows, Pauline Johnson
19.  Talking in their Sleep, Edith M. Thomas
20.  Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The October Redbreast / Alice Meynell

The October Redbreast

Autumn is weary, halt, and old;
     Ah, but she owns the song of joy!
Her colours fade, her woods are cold.
     Her singing-bird’s a boy, a boy.

In lovely Spring the birds were bent
     On nests, on use, on love, forsooth!
Grown-up were they. This boy’s content,
     For his is liberty, his is youth.

The musical stripling sings for play
     Taking no thought, and virgin-glad.
For duty sang those mates in May.
     This singing-bird’s a lad, a lad.

Alice Meynell
from Last Poems, 1923 

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

Alice Meynell biography

Saturday, October 1, 2011

World-Strangeness / William Watson


Strange the world about me lies,
     Never yet familiar grown —
Still disturbs me with surprise,
     Haunts me like a face half known.

In this house with starry dome,
     Floored with gemlike plains and seas,
Shall I never feel at home,
     Never wholly be at ease?

On from room to room I stray,
     Yet my Host can ne'er espy,
And I know not to this day
     Whether guest or captive I.

So, between the starry dome
     And the floor of plains and seas,
I have never felt at home,
     Never wholly been at ease.

William Watson (1858-1935)
from The Poems of William Watson, 1893

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

William Watson biography