Sunday, August 31, 2014

An August Wood Road / Charles G.D. Roberts

An August Wood Road

When the partridge coveys fly
In the birch-tops cool and high;

When the dry cicadas twang
Where the purpling fir-cones hang;

When the bunch-berries emboss —
Scarlet beads — the roadside moss:

Brown with shadows, bright with sun,
All day long till day is done

Sleeps in murmuring solitude
The worn old road that threads the wood.

In its deep cup — grassy, cool —
Sleeps the little roadside pool;

Sleeps the butterfly on the weed,
Sleeps the drifted thistle-seed.

Like a great and blazing gem,
Basks the beetle on the stem.

Up and down the shining rays
Dancing midges weave their maze.

High among the moveless boughs,
Drunk with day, the night-hawks drowse.

Far up, unfathomably blue,
August’s heaven vibrates through.

The old road leads to all things good;
The year’s at full, and time’s at flood.

Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943)
from The Book of the Native, 1896

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

Charles G.D. Roberts biography

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Dream / Elizabeth C. Kinney

A Dream

'Twas summer, and the spot a cool retreat —
Where curious eyes came not, nor footstep rude
Disturbed the lovers' chosen solitude:
Beneath an oak there was a mossy seat,
Where we reclined, while birds above us wooed
Their mates in songs voluptuously sweet.
A limpid brook went murmuring by our feet,
And all conspired to urge the tender mood.
Methought I touched the streamlet with a flower,
When from its bosom sprang a fountain clear,
Falling again in the translucent shower,
Which made more green each blade of grass appear:
"This stream 's thy heart," I said; " Love's touch alone
Can change it to the fount which maketh green my own."

Elizabeth C. Kinney (1810-1889)
from Poems, 1867

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rejoice this Day / Govinda Krishna Chettur


Rejoice this day, for this day love is near,
And sunlight gleaming slantwise on the grass,
And hope and beauty of all things that pass
Yet come again with the returning year:
They may not die, these things that once were ours;
And love, not less, that liveth in the mind:
Therefore all ills forget, all griefs that bind,
And all unwisdom of unhappy hours:
Remembering only the great gift of bliss
Love brought to us one shining summer morn,
When on my lips you placed that shy sweet kiss:
Wherefore we sing all time with passionate praise,
Despite of pity, pain and tears forlorn,
This loveliness and glory of our days.

Govinda Krishna Chettur (1898-1936)
from The Triumph of Love: A sonnet sequence, 1932

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

Govinda Krishna Chettur biography

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Poplar in August / Frances Cornford

The Poplar in August

Poplar, poplar, in the heat,
Shivering and bending,
Have you shade for dusty feet,
Poplar, poplar, in the heat?
Shade is cool and sleep is sweet,

And roads unending.
Poplar, poplar, in the heat,
Shivering and bending.

Frances Cornford (1886-1960)
From Poems, 1910

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

Frances Cornford biography

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Song to Mithras / Rudyard Kipling

A Song to Mithras

(Hymn of the 30th Legion: circa A.D. 350.)

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
'Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!'
Now as the names are answered and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat.
Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet.
Now in the ungirt hour — now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main —
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!
Many roads thou hast fashioned — all of them lead to the Light:
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from Songs from Books, 1912

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

Rudyard Kipling biography

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Holiday / Robinson Jeffers

Summer Holiday

When the sun shouts and people abound
One thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of bronze
And the iron age; iron the unstable metal;
Steel made of iron, unstable as his mother; the towered-up cities
Will be stains of rust on mounds of plaster.
Roots will not pierce the heaps for a time, kind rains will cure them,
Then nothing will remain of the iron age
And all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem
Stuck in the world's thought, splinters of glass
In the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the mountain . . .

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)
from The Roan Stallion, Tamar, and other poems, 1925

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Robinson Jeffers biography

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Travel / Edna St. Vincent Millay


The railroad track is miles away,
  And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
  But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
  Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
  And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
  And better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
  No matter where it's going.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
from Second April, 1921

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

Edna St. Vincent Millay biography

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Travelling / William Wordsworth


This is the spot:— how mildly does the sun
Shine in between the fading leaves! the air
In the habitual silence of this wood
Is more than silent: and this bed of heath,
Where shall we find so sweet a resting-place?
Come!— let me see thee sink into a dream
Of quiet thoughts,— protracted till thine eye
Be calm as water when the winds are gone
And no one can tell whither,— my sweet friend!
We two have had such happy hours together
That my heart melts in me to think of it.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Wordsworth biography

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Pastoral / George Essex Evans

A Pastoral

Nature feels the touch of noon;
     Not a rustle stirs the grass;
Not a shadow flecks the sky,
Save the brown hawk hovering nigh;
     Not a ripple dims the glass
          Of the wide lagoon.

Darkly, like an armed host
     Seen afar against the blue,
Rise the hills, and yellow-grey
Sleeps the plain in cove and bay,
     Like a shining sea that dreams
          Round a silent coast.

From the heart of these blue hills,
Like the joy that flows from peace,
Creeps the river far below
Fringed with willow, sinuous, slow.
Surely here there seems surcease
          From the care that kills.

Surely here might radiant Love
     Fill with happiness his cup,
Where the purple lucerne-bloom
Floods the air with sweet perfume,
     Nature's incense floating up
          To the Gods above.

'Neath the gnarled-boughed apple trees
     Motionless the cattle stand;
Chequered cornfield, homestead white,
Sleeping in the streaming light,
     For deep trance is o'er the land,
          And the wings of peace.

Here, O Power that moves the heart,
     Thou art in the quiet air;
Here, unvexed of code or creed,
Man may breathe his bitter need;
     Nor with impious lips declare
          What Thou wert and art.

All the strong souls of the race
     Thro' the aeons that have run,
They have cried aloud to Thee —
"Thou art that which stirs in me!"
     As the flame leaps towards the sun
          They have sought Thy face.

But the faiths have flowered and flown,
And the truth is but in part;
     Many a creed and many a grade
For Thy purpose Thou hast made.
None can know Thee what Thou art,
          Fathomless! Unknown!

George Essex Evans (1863-1909)
from The Secret Key, and other verses, 1906

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Among the Foot-Hills of the Rockies /
Mary Electa Adams

Among the Foot-Hills of the Rockies 

Come, let us walk. 'Tis of the summer day —
The long, long summer day — the lingering afternoon,
And Nature here has phases all her own
I would not miss. Swift swings the river down
From yonder towering two-leaved mountain gates,
O'erhung with drapery of rose and pearl,
Past winding slopes, along the valley's length,
In deep concealment now, now flashing by,
Contemptuous of delay, flinging a kiss
In passing; lost at length in hazy light.
What hands have levelled all those terraces
That look upon his course ? Now see aloft
Where swaths of shadow fall and slide
Among the gold upon the dimpled hills,
Cadenced in their vast and rhythmic sweep,
By hollows and by seams that once were filled
With rushing torrents. See! see how they lie
Fold upon fold, in cycles of the past,
Or wind- or wave-swept into glorious shapes,
And piled against the azure of the heavens.
These undulating lines, like silenced 'Waves
Taken in mid-course of their unrivalled leap,
To fix forever their unresting course,
Seem to my eyes, in the calm evenings, still
To palpitate away into the moving sky.

Mary Electa Adams (1823-1896)
from From Distant Shores, 1898

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mary Electa Adams biography

Saturday, August 2, 2014

In the High Hills / Maxwell Struthers Burt

In the High Hills

God has lent the wind to you.
Swept the great sweet mind of you
Keen and clean and splendid as the noon on peaks agleam.
Peace of sunny, hidden hollows
Down whose slope the long light follows,
And the hush is musical with dripping mountain stream.

God has lent his coolness, too;
Wet green woods and bramble-dew;
Scent of quivering aspen leaves still joyous from the rain;
Ah, if one were burned with sorrow,
Sleep would come until to-morrow
From a dream of cool fine hands to bless with peace the pain.

Noon among the high white hills;
Evening where the forest thrills,
Magical with moonlight, the scented ambient hush:
Things like these are part of you.
Soul and mind and heart of you:
Winds and storms and sunny days and sparkling, dawn-wet brush.

Maxwell Struthers Burt (1882-1954)
from In the High Hills, 1914

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

Maxwell Struthers Burt biography

Friday, August 1, 2014

Penny's Top 20 / July 2014

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

  1.  Crepuscule, E.E. Cummings
  2.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
  4.  Light of Day, George J. Dance
  5.  Canada, Charles G.D. Roberts
  6.  Summer Night, Laurence Binyon
  7.  Summer Song, William Carlos Williams

  8.  Saturday Afternoon in the Garden, Blanche Elizabeth Lindsay

  9.  Summer, Mortimer Collins (2 poems)

10.  When on a Summer's Morn, W.H. Davies

11.  July, Lionel Johnson
12.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme

13.  Sleeping with Open Eyes, A.Y. Campbell
14.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
June Leisure, Bliss Carman
16.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
18.  May in the Greenwood, anonymous
19.  The Great Willows, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

20. Now Thrice Welcome Christmas, William Winstanley

Source: Blogger, "Stats"