Sunday, February 23, 2014

Skating / William Wordsworth

from The Prelude, Book I

And in the frosty season, when the sun
Was set, and visible for many a mile
The cottage windows through the twilight blazed,
I heeded not their summons: happy time
It was indeed for all of us — for me
It was a time of rapture! Clear and loud
The village clock tolled six — I wheeled about
Proud and exulting, like an untired horse
That cares not for his home. All shod with steel,
We hissed along the polished ice in games
Confederate, imitative of the chase
And woodland pleasures,— the resounding horn,
The pack loud chiming, and the hunted hare.
So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
And not a voice was idle; with the din,
Smitten, the precipices rang aloud;
The leafless trees and every icy crag
Tinkled like iron; while the distant hills
Into the tumult sent an alien sound
Of melancholy, not unnoticed, while the stars,
Eastward were sparkling clear, and in the west
The orange sky of evening died away.

Not seldom from the uproar I retired
Into a silent bay, or sportively
Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,
To cut across the reflex of a star
That fled, and flying still before me, gleamed
Upon the grassy plain. And oftentimes
When we had given our bodies to the wind,
And all the shadowy banks on either side
Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still
The rapid line of motion, then at once
Have I, reclining back upon my heels,
Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs
Wheeled by me — even as if the earth had rolled
With visible motion her diurnal round!
Behind me did they stretch in solemn train,
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched
Till all was tranquil as a dreamless sleep.

William Wordsworth
from The Prelude; or, Growth of a poet's mind: An autobiographical poem, 1850

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Wordsworth biography

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Round the Mercury / George J. Dance

Round the Mercury

time (that savaged emerald)
flows like scaffold spiders
or money without price.
– “Mercury Switches and the Mating of Clocks,”
Alacrity Stone

kissed by gold
is her lovely
skate backwards
round the mercury

from the first spark
brass candle holders
silver cherubs
bronze cylinders

he laughs, their steps
in unison
mirroring soles
of frozen men

their podium
the uterus
that wrinkled jewel
bequeathed to us

and Jesus like
a wingless blur
hums  the daffodils
over her

time flows like money
without price
steel blades scar
and cut the ice

vibration shuddering
the heart
into grace
and into art

George J. Dance, 2009
from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015

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

George J. Dance biography

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hockey War / David Pekrul

Hockey War

Imagine life without a war,
And just a hockey game to score,
When countries start to point the blame,
They take it out in a hockey game.

If someone threatens our coastline,
We face-off on the centre-line,
A slap-shot and a body-check,
By the hockey team from old Quebec.

We'd never need a military,
A hockey team is much more scary,
Instead of running all amuck,
The one who wins, controls the puck.

The winner of this hockey war,
Would best be known as "Hockey Corps",
We'd celebrate a "Hockey Hour",
With Canada the World Power.

David Ronald Bruce Pekrul
from My Hidden Voice

[Licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License]

David Pekrul biography

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Toboggan / Ben King


Down from the hills and over the snow
Swift as a meteor's flash we go,
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!
Down from the hills with our senses lost,
Jealous of cheeks that are kissed by the frost,
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!

With snow piled high on housetop and hill,
O'er frozen rivulet, river, and rill,
Clad in her jacket of sealskin and fur,
Down from the hills I'm sliding with her,
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!

Down from the hills, what an awful speed!
As if on the back of a frightened steed,
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!
Down from the hills at the rise of the moon,
Merrily singing the toboggan tune,
     "Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!"

Down from the hills like an arrow we fly,
Or a comet that whizzes along through the sky;
Down from the hills! Oh, isn't it grand!
Clasping your best winter girl by the hand,
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!

Down from the hills and both growing old,
Down from the hills we are nearing the fold:
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!
Close to the homestead we hear the ring
Of children's voices that cheerily sing,
     "Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!"

Down from the hills and we hear the chime
Of bells that are ringing out Old Father Time;
Down from the hills we are riding away,
Nearing the life with its endless day;
     Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!

Ben King
from Ben King's Verse, 1894

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ben King biography

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Skier / Douglas E. Williams

The Skier

I climb no more
but rest on ski
upon the summit of the trail
that winds far down;
now I am free
to spread my wings
and swiftly sail
a fleeting figure through the snow
my destination – points below!
I start quite slowly, gather speed,
faster still, I do not heed
the danger of the turns, instead
a thousand thrills pass through my head
I stem a turn, my balance true
and catch my breath but I’m not through,
twisting, dipping, sometimes straight,
the trail leads down, then comes a gate,
and out across a field I glide,
slowing slightly, still I slide
until beside a hedge, I stop

and gaze with wonder
at the top.

Douglas E. Williams
from Spilling Out!, 2007

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

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Snowshoe Song / Arthur Weir

A Snowshoe Song 

Hilloo, hilloo, hilloo, hilloo!
Gather, gather, ye men in white;
The winds blow keenly, the moon is bright,
The sparkling snow lies firm and white:
Tie on the shoes, no time to lose,  
We must be over the hill to-night.

Hilloo, hilloo, hilloo, hilloo!
Swiftly in single file we go,
The city is soon left far below.
Its countless lights like diamonds glow,    
And as we climb we hear the chime
Of church bells stealing o’er the snow.

Hilloo, hilloo, hilloo, hilloo!
Like winding-sheet about the dead,
O’er hill and dale the snow is spread,
And silences our hurried tread;
The pines bend low, and to and fro
The maples toss their boughs o’erhead.

Hilloo, hilloo, hilloo, hilloo!
We laugh to scorn the angry blast,
The mountain top is gained and past.
Descent begins, ’t is ever fast —
One short quick run, and toil is done.
We reach the welcome inn at last.

Shake off, shake off the clinging snow;
Unloose the shoe, the sash untie,
Fling tuque and mittens lightly by.
The chimney fire is blazing high,
And, richly stored, the festive board
Awaits the merry company.

Remove the fragments of the feast!
The steaming coffee, waiter, bring.
Now tell the tale, the chorus sing,
And let the laughter loudly ring.
Here’s to our host, come drink the toast,    
Then up! for time is on the wing.

Hilloo, hilloo, hilloo, hilloo!
The moon is sinking out of sight,
Across the sky dark clouds take flight,
And dimly looms the mountain height.    
Tie on the shoes, no time to lose,
We must be home again to-night.

Arthur Weir
from The Romance of Sir Richard, sonnets, and other poems, 1890

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Arthur Weir biography

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Snow-Storm / Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Snow-Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

  Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gate
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
from Poems, 1847

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ralph Waldo Emerson biography

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Winter Sleep / Edith M. Thomas

Winter Sleep

I know it must be winter (though I sleep) —
I know it must be winter, for I dream
I dip my bare feet in the running stream,
And flowers are many, and the grass grows deep.

I know I must be old (how age deceives!)
I know I must be old, for, all unseen,
My heart grows young, as autumn fields grow green
When late rains patter on the falling sheaves.

I know I must be tired (and tired souls err) —
I know I must be tired, for all my soul
To deeds of daring beats a glad, faint roll,
As storms the riven pine to music stir.

I know I must be dying (Death draws near) —
I know I must be dying, for I crave
Life — life, strong life, and think not of the grave,
And turf-bound silence, in the frosty year.

Edith M. Thomas
from The Winter Swallow, with other verse, 1896

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

Penny's Top 20 / January 2014

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in January 2014:

  1.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  Round the Mercury, George J. Dance
  3.  Night (Fall), George J. Dance 
  4.  A Snowshoe Song, Arthur Weir
  5.  Hockey War, David Pekrul
  6.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau
The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  8.  Toboggan, Ben King

  9.  The Skier, Douglas E. Williams

10.  The Snow-Storm, Ralph Waldo Emerson 

11.  Skating, William Wordsworth
 Winter Sleep, Edith M. Thomas
13.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
14.  September 1819, William Wordsworth
15.  Accompaniment, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau

16.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
18.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
19.  1914. IV. The Dead, Rupert Brooke

20.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens

Source: Blogger, "Stats"