Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wind and Silver / Amy Lowell

Wind and Silver

Greatly shining,
The Autumn moon floats in the thin sky;
And the fish-ponds shake their backs and flash their dragon scales
As she passes over them.

Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
from What's O'Clock, 1925

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

Amy Lowell biography

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Winds / Madison Cawein

The Winds

Those hewers of the clouds, the winds,— that lair
     At the four compass-points,— are out to-night;
     I hear their sandals trample on the height,
I hear their voices trumpet through the air.
Builders of Storm, God's workmen, now they bear,
     Up the steep stair of sky, on backs of might,
     Huge tempest bulks, while,— sweat that blinds their sight,—
The rain is shaken from tumultuous hair:
Now, sweepers of the firmament, they broom,
     Like gathered dust, the rolling mists along
     Heaven's floors of sapphire; all the beautiful blue
Of skyey corridor and aëry room
     Preparing, with large laughter and loud song,
     For the white moon and stars to wander through.

Madison Cawein
from Weeds by the Wall, 1901

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

Madison Cawein biography

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The New England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day / Lydia Maria Child

The New England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go!
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop
For doll or top,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
No matter for winds that blow,
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann.
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate,
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells,
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow-wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood,
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "Oh, dear,
The children are here,
bring a pie for every one."

Over the river, and through the wood,
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Lydia Maria Child
from Flowers for Children, 1845

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Lydia Maria Child biography

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Song (Man's a poor deluded bubble) / Robert Dodsley


Man's a poor deluded bubble,
     Wand'ring in a mist of lies,
Seeing false, or seeing double,
     Who wou'd trust to such weak eyes?
Yet presuming on his senses,
     On he goes most wond'rous wise:
Doubts of truth, believes pretences;
      Lost in error, lives and dies.

Robert Dodsley (1703-1764)
from Trifles, 1745

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Dodsley biography

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How He Died / Ernest Howard Crosby

How He Died

So he died for his faith. That is fine.
   More than most of us do.
But stay; can you add to that line
   That he lived for it too?

It is easy to die. Men have died
   For a wish or a whim --
From bravado, from passion or pride;
   Was it harder for him?

But to live; every day to live out
   All the truth that he dreamt,
While his friends met his conduct with doubt,
   And the world with contempt --

Was it thus that he plodded ahead,
   Never turning aside?
Then we'll talk of the life that he led,
   Never mind how he died.

Ernest Howard Crosby
from Plain Talk in Psalm and Parable, 1899.

[Poem is in the public domain]

Ernest Howard Crosby biography

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rain in the Desert / John Gould Fletcher

from Arizona Poems:

Rain in the Desert

The huge red-buttressed mesa over yonder
Is merely a far-off temple where the sleepy sun is burning
Its altar fires of pinyon and toyon for the day.

The old priests sleep, white-shrouded;
Their pottery whistles lie beside them, the prayer-sticks closely feathered.
On every mummied face there glows a smile.

The sun is rolling slowly
Beneath the sluggish folds of the sky-serpents,
Coiling, uncoiling, blue black, sparked with fires.

The old dead priests
Feel in the thin dried earth that is heaped about them,
Above the smell of scorching, oozing pinyon,
The acrid smell of rain.

And now the showers
Surround the mesa like a troop of silver dancers:
Shaking their rattles, stamping, chanting, roaring,
Whirling, extinguishing the last red wisp of light.

John Gould Fletcher
from The New Poetry: An Anthology, 1917

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

John Gould Fletcher biography

Saturday, November 12, 2011

There is a Garden in her face / Thomas Campion

There is a Garden in Her face

There is a Garden in her face,
Where Roses and white Lillies grow ;
A heav'nly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
There Cherries grow, which none may buy
Till Cherry ripe themselves do cry.

Those Cherries fairly do enclose
Of Orient Pearl a double row ;
Which when her lovely laughter showes,
They look like Rose-buds fill'd with snow.
Yet them nor Peere nor Prince can buy,
Till Cherry ripe themselves do cry.

Her Eyes like Angels watch them still;
Her Brows like bended bows do stand,
Threat'ning with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt with eye or hand
Those sacred Cherries to come nigh,
Till Cherry ripe themselves do cry.

Thomas Campion
from The Third and Fourth Book of Airs, 1617
[Poem is in the public domain]

Thomas Campion biography

Friday, November 11, 2011

For the Fallen / Laurence Binyon

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted:
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon, (1869-1943), 1914
from For the Fallen, and other poems, 1917

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

Laurence Binyon biography

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Penny's Top 20 - October 2011

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

  1.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  2.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
  3.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
  4.  Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
  5.  Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery 

  6.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  7.  These are the days when Birds come back. Emily Dickinson
  8.  September Night, George Dance
  9,  Sonnet. The Token, John Donne
10.  A Vagabond Song, Bliss Carman

11.  The Trees at Night, William Kerr
12. Autumn, George Sterling
13. Angel's Song, Hieronymous 707
14. Once, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
15.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens

16.  Let No Charitable Hope, Elinor Wylie
17.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
18.  Wheatfield Concerts, James D. Senetto
19.  Shadows, Richard Monckton Milnes
20.  Only until this cigarette is ended, Edna St. Vincent Millay

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sonnet on the Luxembourg Gallery /
Washington Allston

Sonnet on the Luxembourg Gallery

There is a Charm no vulgar mind can reach.
No critick thwart, no mighty master teach;
A Charm how mingled of the good and ill!
Yet still so mingled that the mystick whole
Shall captive hold the struggling Gazer's will,
'Till vanquish'd reason own its full control.
And such, oh Rubens, thy mysterious art,
The charm that vexes, yet enslaves the heart!
Thy lawless style, from timid systems free,
Impetuous rolling like a troubled sea,
High o'er the rocks of reason's lofty verge
Impending hangs; yet, ere the foaming surge
Breaks o'er the bound, the refluent ebb of taste
Back from the shore impels the wat'ry waste.

Washington Allston
from The Sylphs of the Season, 1813

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Washington Allston biography