Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Midnight / Sara Teasdale

September Midnight

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
       Ceaseless, insistent.

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
       Tired with summer.

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
       Snow-hushed and heavy.

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
       Lest they forget them.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
from Poetry, March 1914

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Harvest Dust / Winifred Welles

Harvest Dust

The road is burned to dust, like more dust meadow rue
     Smokes in the meadow. Berries are balanced to fall
At a cobweb's echo. Apples will soon be over, nothing is left to do
     For the trees but to crook their elbows on the wall.

In the farmhouse doorway a woman husking corn
     Droops to where, softer than children's hair, a yellow heap
Of the silk fondles her hand. Under her eyes her face is as worn
     As the stone steps where she sits and has fallen asleep.

What is it all for? Why must the earth crack
     Over and over, beneath this searing breath?
Only that apples be amber and berries black,
     And women content and wearied unto death.

Winifred Welles
from This Delicate Love, 1929

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

Winifred Welles biography 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Harvest Moon / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Harvest Moon

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
     And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
     And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
     And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
     Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
     Of Nature have their image in the mind,
     As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
     Only the empty nests are left behind,
     And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
from Keramos, and other poems, 1878

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow biography

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Before Harvest / W.M. MacKeracher

Before Harvest 

And now 'tis time for Harvest. Hark! and lo,
     With ringing sound of full melodious horn,
Over yon eastern hill-top all aglow,—
     Her sickle gleaming in the golden morn,
     Her arm upraised with sheaf of yellow corn,—
She comes elate with light, elastic pace;
     Her neck and zone full-clustered vines adorn;
Her saffron locks, fruit-crowned; her luscious grace;
Her round and ripened form; her fair, benignant face.

And now the fields, when suns serenely greet,
     A rich and mellow, wanton joy afford:
The russet pease vines, and the burnished wheat
     And whiter barley,— hating to be stored,
     Guarding with jealous spears their precious hoard,—
The tapering oat-stalk, dangling beads of gold:
     In brilliant sea of beauty all outpoured,
With dazzling depth of splendor all untold,
Where fleets of zephyrs skip in fold that follows fold

Like to a dream I had but yesternight,
     Of pure, transporting, childlike playfulness.
The presence of a fair-haired, blue-eyed, bright,
     Thoughtless and laughing.— Words can not express
     In poet phrase the fulness that did bless
Entrancingly my vision. I advanced
     Behind to worship. Straight each golden tress
Was ruffled and about my face they danced,
Smoth'ring with beauty, while the maiden gleeful glanced.

W.M. MacKeracher (1871-1913)
from Vacation Verse, 1891 

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hurrahing in Harvest / Gerard Manley Hopkins

Hurrahing in Harvest

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks rise
   Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
   Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?
I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
   Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;
   And, éyes, heárt, what looks, what lips yet gave you a
Rapturous love's greeting of realer, of rounder replies?
And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder
   Majestic — as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet!—
These things, these things were here and but the beholder
   Wanting; which two when they once meet,
The heart rears wings bold and bolder
   And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
from Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Gerard Manley Hopkins biography

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September / Archibald Lampman


Now hath the summer reached her golden close,
     And, lost amid her corn-fields, bright of soul,
Scarcely perceives from her divine repose
     How near, how swift, the inevitable goal:
Still, still, she smiles, though from her careless feet
     The bounty and the fruitful strength are gone,
     And through the soft long wondering days goes on
The silent sere decadence sad and sweet.

The kingbird and the pensive thrush are fled,
     Children of light, too fearful of the gloom;
The sun falls low, the secret word is said,
     The mouldering woods grow silent as the tomb;
Even the fields have lost their sovereign grace,
     The cone-flower and the marguerite; and no more,
     Across the river's shadow-haunted floor,
The paths of skimming swallows interlace.

Already in the outland wilderness
     The forests echo with unwonted dins;
In clamorous gangs the gathering woodmen press
     Northward, and the stern winter's toil begins.
Around the long low shanties, whose rough lines
     Break the sealed dreams of many an unnamed lake,
     Already in the frost-clear morns awake
The crash and thunder of the falling pines.

Where the tilled earth, with all its fields set free,
     Naked and yellow from the harvest lies,
By many a loft and busy granary,
     The hum and tumult of the thrashers rise;
There the tanned farmers labor without slack,
     Till twilight deepens round the spouting mill,
     Feeding the loosened sheaves, or with fierce will,
Pitching waist-deep upon the dusty stack.

Still a brief while, ere the old year quite pass,
     Our wandering steps and wistful eyes shall greet
The leaf, the water, the beloved grass;
     Still from these haunts and this accustomed seat
I see the wood-wrapt city, swept with light,
     The blue long-shadowed distance, and, between,
     The dotted farm-lands with their parcelled green,
The dark pine forest and the watchful height.

I see the broad rough meadow stretched away
     Into the crystal sunshine, wastes of sod,
Acres of withered vervain, purple-gray,
     Branches of aster, groves of goldenrod;
And yonder, toward the sunlit summit, strewn
     With shadowy boulders, crowned and swathed with weed,
     Stand ranks of silken thistles, blown to seed,
Long silver fleeces shining like the noon.

In far-off russet corn-fields, where the dry
     Gray shocks stand peaked and withering, half concealed
In the rough earth, the orange pumpkins lie,
     Full-ribbed; and in the windless pasture-field
The sleek red horses o'er the sun-warmed ground
     Stand pensively about in companies,
     While all around them from the motionless trees
The long clean shadows sleep without a sound.

Under cool elm-trees floats the distant stream,
     Moveless as air; and o'er the vast warm earth
The fathomless daylight seems to stand and dream,
     A liquid cool elixir – all its girth
Bound with faint haze, a frail transparency,
     Whose lucid purple barely veils and fills
     The utmost valleys and the thin last hills,
Nor mars one whit their perfect clarity.

Thus without grief the golden days go by,
     So soft we scarcely notice how they wend,
And like a smile half happy, or a sigh,
     The summer passes to her quiet end;
And soon, too soon, around the cumbered eaves
     Sly frosts shall take the creepers by surprise,
     And through the wind-touched reddening woods shall rise
October with the rain of ruined leaves.

Archibald Lampman (1861-1899)
from Lyrics of Earth, 1895

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman biography

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer's Farewell / Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Summer's Farewell

All in the time when Earth did most deplore
   The cold, ungracious aspect of young May,
Sweet Summer came, and bade him smile once more;
   She wove bright garlands, and in winsome play
   She bound him willing captive. Day by day
She found new wiles wherewith his heart to please;
   Or bright the sun, or if the skies were gray,
They laughed together, under spreading trees,
By running brooks, or on the sandy shores of seas.

They were but comrades. To that radiant maid
   No serious word he spake; no lovers’ plea.
Like careless children, glad and unafraid,
   They sported in their opulence of glee.
   Her shining tresses floated wild and free;
In simple lines her emerald garments hung;
   She was both good to hear, and fair to see;
And when she laughed, then Earth laughed too, and flung
His cares behind him, and grew radiant and young.

One golden day, as he reclined beneath
   The arching azure of enchanting skies,
Fair Summer came, engirdled with a wreath
   Of gorgeous leaves all scintillant with dyes.
   Effulgent was she; yet within her eyes,
There hung a quivering mist of tears unshed.
   Her crimson-mantled bosom shook with sighs;
Above him bent the glory of her head;
And on his mouth she pressed a splendid kiss, and fled.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)
from Poems of Experience, 1910

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

Ella Wheeler Wilcox biography

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's September / Edgar Guest

It's September

It's September, and the orchards are afire with red and gold,
And the nights with dew are heavy, and the morning's sharp with cold;
Now the garden's at its gayest with the salvia blazing red
And the good old-fashioned asters laughing at us from their bed;
Once again in shoes and stockings are the children's little feet,
And the dog now does his snoozing on the bright side of the street.

It's September, and the cornstalks are as high as they will go,
And the red cheeks of the apples everywhere begin to show;
Now the supper's scarcely over ere the darkness settles down
And the moon looms big and yellow at the edges of the town;
Oh, it's good to see the children, when their little prayers are said,
Duck beneath the patchwork covers when they tumble into bed.

It's September, and a calmness and a sweetness seem to fall
Over everything that's living, just as though it hears the call
Of Old Winter, trudging slowly, with his pack of ice and snow,
In the distance over yonder, and it somehow seems as though
Every tiny little blossom wants to look its very best
When the frost shall bite its petals and it droops away to rest.

It's September! It's the fullness and the ripeness of the year;
All the work of earth is finished, or the final tasks are near,
But there is no doleful wailing; every living thing that grows,
For the end that is approaching wears the finest garb it knows.
And I pray that I may proudly hold my head up high and smile
When I come to my September in the golden afterwhile.

Edgar Guest (1881-1959)
from A Heap o' Livin', 1916

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

Edgar Guest biography

Monday, September 1, 2014

Penny's Top 20 / August 2014

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

  1.  A Pastoral, George Essex Evans
  2.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
  3.  In the High Hills, Maxwell Struthers Burt
  4.  Travel, Edna St. Vincent Millay
  5.  Rejoice this Day, Govinda Krishna Chettur
  6.  Light of Day, George J. Dance
Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  8.  A Song to Mithras, Rudyard Kipling

  9.  Among the Foot-hills of the Rockies, Mary Electa Adams

10.  Travelling, William Wordsworth

11.  Summer Holiday, Robinson Jeffers
12.  The Poplar in August, Frances Cornford

13.  Songs, Demonspawn
14.  A Dream, Elizabeth C. Kinney
15.  Christmas Carol, Sara Teasdale

16.  An August Wood Road, Charles G.D. Roberts
17.  July, Lionel Johnson

18.  Petit, the Poet, Edgar Lee Masters
19.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens

20. Free Fantasia on Japanese Themes, Amy Lowell

Source: Blogger, "Stats"