Sunday, July 29, 2012

When Summer Comes / Sophia Almon Hensley

When Summer Comes

When summer comes, and when o’er hill and lea
The sun’s strong wooing glow hath patiently
             Shed o’er the earth long days his golden dower,
             And then, by force of his own loving power,
Drawn the hard frost, and left it passive, free
To give forth all its sweets untiringly,
Shall not the day rise fair for thee and me,
             And all life seem but as an opening flower
                         When summer comes?

The days move slowly, young hearts yearn to be
Together always, cannot brook to see
             Their love-days pass, and void each sunny hour,
             Yet may we smile, e’en when fate’s storm-clouds lower,
Waiting fulfilment of our heart’s decree
                         When summer comes.

Sophia Almon Hensley (1856-1946)
from Poems, 1889.

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

Sophia Almon Hensley biography

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In July / Edward Dowden

In July

Why do I make no poems? Good my friend
Now is there silence through the summer woods,
In whose green depths and lawny solitudes
The light is dreaming; voicings clear ascend
Now from no hollow where glad rivulets wend,
But murmurings low of inarticulate moods,
Softer than stir of unfledged cushat broods,
Breathe, till o'erdrowsed the heavy flower-heads bend.
Now sleep the crystal and heart-charmed waves
Round white, sunstricken rocks the noontide long,
Or 'mid the coolness of dim lighted caves
Sway in a trance of vague deliciousness;
And I,– I am too deep in joy's excess
For the imperfect impulse of a song.

Edward Dowden
from Poems, 1876.

Poem is in the public domain

Edward Dowden biography

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sky Song / Will Dockery

Sky Song

Sky songs written with cloud and light,
and numbers, look that up
to a point, I see it and the sound echoes off the brick.
Queen of darkness, she's out of sight,
our lady of the earth.
Tall and hot,
travel lightly.
Mispoken, I did not know the details then,
it's real clear to me now.
Into the breath
ringing down from the sky.
Poems the sky writes on slick paper,
wet ink glistens on the leaves and grass.
She has cartoon red hair,
he is the man with the finger flow,
then they become as one on the floor.
It is clear to me now,
what am I to say on this strange warm night?
I am as a statue.
The moon sings,
my heart rings with a strange new sadness.

Will Dockery, 1998
from Secret Madrigals, 2002

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

Will Dockery biography

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July / Helen Hunt Jackson


Some flowers are withered and some joys have died;
The garden reeks with an East Indian scent
From beds where gillyflowers stand weak and spent;
The white heat pales the skies from side to side;
But in still lakes and rivers, cool, content,
Like starry blooms on a new firmament,
White lilies float and regally abide.
In vain the cruel skies their hot rays shed;
The lily does not feel their brazen glare.
In vain the pallid clouds refuse to share
Their dews, the lily feels no thirst, no dread.
Unharmed she lifts her queenly face and head;
She drinks of living waters and keeps fair.

Helen Hunt Jackson 
from A Calendar of Sonnets, 1891 

[Poem is in the public domain]

Helen Hunt Jackson biography

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer 1969 / Michael G. Munoz

Summer 1969

The first turn of July heat
And I was growing fast
Leaning into the sun
Like the nascent fan palms sprouting up
Through the cracked black asphalt in the street
Long summer days
Of no breeze and sweet lemonade
Growing restless with myself
No money
No car
Maybe a dime for ice cream at Save-Ons

It seemed the whole damn world was getting tighter
My clothes too tight
Shoes too tight
Rooms too tight
Money too tight
And all the friends I had
All my life
Were slowly unwinding into strangers

With beer and cigarettes
With drums and plugged-in guitars
Or worse
With bibles
And like a novice dabbling into the occult
I tried them all
But none of it mystified me
Not like the hypnotic allurement
Of females

I hooked up with Louie Angel that summer
Who lived down the street
And what little
We had in common
Was quickly and quietly filled
By the newly stocked waters of Peck Park Pool

Girls would come out of the water
And pass in front of us
Shivering, giggling, arms crossed, mouths open
Running in short little steps
In packs of threes and fours
Across the roughed out bleached concrete
To a corner in the shade

We would raise up our sunburned faces
Like sleepy little turtles
And from our soggy towels
And peer quizzically
At all these walking mysteries
And whatever lessons
We had learned from the squared-up games
Of baseball, football, or basketball
In our dismal squared-up lives
They could not free us
From this entanglement of the senses

These girls were candy-canes
Hanging from the poisoned vines
Of our imaginations
We just had to figure out how to get to  them
We had to figure them out

Who to walk with
Who to follow
How far were they going
Through which neighborhoods and
Most importantly
Which ones liked us back
And we had to figure this out
Me and Louie
Without saying
More than two words to each other

So me being utterly unambitious
Or at least being the more practical one
Mostly walked with the girls heading south
While Louie
Being the gambler
And having no reason to ever go home
Seeing as he lived with six sisters
Usually picked a girl
That lived over
On the other side of Peck Park Canyon
But it really didn't matter
Once we fixed an address
We'd go back later in the evening
Trekking as partners
Great adventurers
No distance too great or high
Ducking hurled insults
In the shape of rocks
Or dodging chained up dogs
As we shortcut
Down through dusty canyons
And across vacant lots
Through busted up fences and down alleys
That shone in the moonlight
Like galaxies of broken glass
To end up on the white porches
Of sunburned girls
Who weren't allowed to walk anywhere
With a couple of boys like us

You once kissed my lips and face
Graced my hands with your sweet fruits
And then you moved on
But not before leading me
Into a new season

Not before
Tossing me high high in the air
Mixed-up colors and words
Streaming in the sunlight
Falling to the earth
Like confetti

And although I didn't know it at the time
While leaning into doorways
And mumbling low hellos
I was whispering
A shy good-by
To my innocence

                               mmunoz     10.09.10
Michael G. Munoz
California, U.S.A.

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

Saturday, July 14, 2012

when i was young / David George

when i was young

"When I was young and had no sense
 I left my balls on a barbed wire fence."
                                  -David George.

Oh toodle doodle doo...

sitting on the stage
of the local village hall

two rows – big kids in the back row
and smaller ones in the front.

Parents and other garrulous locals
packed to the gunwales

in the body of the hall.
Kids buttoned up tight

short back and sides
for the boys and pigtails

de rigueur for most of the girls.
Freckles optional.

But all them dandy little faces
charcoaled an' shiny

In the hall's one spotlight.

Helen and Elizabeth. Peter
and Warren and Bruce.

Arms folded, little eyes a twinkling
"Way down upon the swanny river...

...where the ducks and the cygnets do play;
where seldom is heard..."

...and Danny wipes his nose
And Sandra McPherson, called Sandy,

Scrunches up her knees and looks super-good.

D     A     V     I     D        G     E     O     R     G     E
David George 
Te Waipounamu [South Island],  New Zealand.

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

David George on usenet:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Solitude Surrounded / AE Reiff

 Solitude Surrounded

Of the white ace
Of spades in the universe surrounded,
using words like mystic and visionary
 to confound each other,
we go our way de-verbalizing verse.
But there is a human need of singing,
of praise to prove us grateful for our being
beyond what the cathode and the radio say,
everyone tells us we’re not meant for that.
Different temperaments for all, humanly speaking,
till  no one is left in the world but ourselves singing
the Great Solitude, surrounded by the air our gravities attract,
not thoughts like our own but their opposites,
solitude surrounded, compassed by pets,
 homes, wives, children, oceans, walls,
When a monastery would have suited best

AE Reiff
Encouragements for Planting

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

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Penny's Top 20 / June 2012

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in June 2012:

  1.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  2.  In June and Gentle Oven, Anne Wilkinson
  3.  His Lady of the Sonnets V, Robert Norwood
  4.  In Fountain Court, Arthur Symons
  5.  Romance Novel / Roman, Arthur Rimbaud
  6.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
  7.  June, Dollie Radford
  8.  June, Virna Sheard

  9.  Vowels / Voyelles, Arthur Rimbaud
10.  May in the Greenwood, anonymous

First Day of Summer, Laurence Binyon
12.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
13.  June, Helen Hunt Jackson
14.  Bird Song, George Dance

15.  Sticky Sweaty, rick the cockroach

16.  For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon

17.  The Playing / Le Jeu, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

18.  Men Made Out of Words, Wallace Stevens

19.  baguette, David Rutkowski

20.  Ballade of Tristram's Last Harping, Gertrude Bartlett

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Canadian Summer Evening / Rosanna Leprohon

A Canadian Summer Evening

The rose-tints have faded from out of the West,
From the Mountain’s high peak, from the river’s broad breast.
And, silently shadowing valley and rill,
The twilight steals noiselessly over the hill.
Behold, in the blue depths of ether afar,
Now softly emerging each glittering star;
While, later, the moon, placid, solemn and bright,
Floods earth with her tremulous, silvery light.

Hush! list to the Whip-poor-will’s soft plaintive notes,
As up from the valley the lonely sound floats,
Inhale the sweet breath of yon shadowy wood
And the wild flowers blooming in hushed solitude.
Start not at the whispering, ’tis but the breeze,
Low rustling, ’mid maple and lonely pine trees,
Or willows and alders that fringe the dark tide
Where canoes of the red men oft silently glide.

See, rising from out of that copse, dark and damp,
The fire-flies, each bearing a flickering lamp!
Like meteors, gleaming and streaming, they pass
O’er hillside and meadow, and dew-laden grass,
Contrasting with ripple on river and stream,
Alternately playing in shadow and beam,
Till fullness of beauty fills hearing and sight
Throughout the still hours of a calm summer’s night.

Rosanna Leprohon
from The Poetical Works of Mrs. Leprohon, 1881

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Rosanna Leprohon biography

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Evening on the Marshes / Barry Straton

Evening on the Marshes

We have roamed the marshes, keen with expectation,
Lain at eve in ambush, where the ducks are wont to fly;
Felt the feverish fervor, the thrilling, full pulsation
As the flocks came whirring from the rosy western sky.

All day long the sun with heat, and breeze with coolness,
Smote or kissed the grasses, and it seemed another lake
Flooded o'er the land and up the hills in fulness,–
Shadows for the billows, sunshine for the waves that break.

Now beneath the pine, whose branches voice the breezes,
Past the toil of day, we lie like gods in utter peace;
This is life's full nectar, this from care releases,–
Oh, to rest forever here where toil and tumult cease!

Slowly down the west the weary day is dying;
Slowly up the east ascends the mellow, mystic moon;
Swiftly stoop the hawks; the hooting owls are flying;
Through the darksome splendour breaks the lonesome cry of loon.

Ghost-like move the sails along the lake's dim distance;
Faintly wafts the sailors' weirdsome song the waters o'er;
Faint the wavelets' music, as with low insistence,
Break they sofly singing on the drowsy sandy shore.

Wooing us in whispers, water, earth, and heaven,–
Mystic whispers, wafted o'er the darksome waving deep,–
Win us to themselves, our old creative leaven,
And we, mingling with them, softly sink to dreamless sleep.

Barry Straton (1854-1906)
from Lays of Love, and miscellaneous poems, 1884

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Barry Straton biography