Sunday, November 30, 2014

November / Elizabeth Stoddard


Much have I spoken of the faded leaf;
Long have I listened to the wailing wind,
And watched it ploughing through the heavy clouds,
For autumn charms my melancholy mind.

When autumn comes, the poets sing a dirge:
The year must perish; all the flowers are dead;
The sheaves are gathered; and the mottled quail
Runs in the stubble, but the lark has fled!

Still, autumn ushers in the Christmas cheer,
The holly-berries and the ivy-tree:
They weave a chaplet for the Old Year's bier
These waiting mourners do not sing for me!

I find sweet peace in depths of autumn woods.
Where grow the ragged ferns and roughened moss;
The naked, silent trees have taught me this,—
The loss of beauty is not always loss!

Elizabeth Stoddard (1823-1902)
from Poems, 1895

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Elizabeth Stoddard biography

Saturday, November 29, 2014

George Edmund's Song / Charles Dickens

George Edmund's Song

Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around me here;
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!
     How like the hopes of childhood’s day,
          Thick clust’ring on the bough!
     How like those hopes in their decay—
          How faded are they now!
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around me here;
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!

Wither’d leaves, wither’d leaves, that fly before the gale:
Withered leaves, withered leaves, ye tell a mournful tale,
     Of love once true, and friends once kind,
          And happy moments fled:
     Dispersed by every breath of wind,
          Forgotten, changed, or dead!
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around me here!
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
from The Poems and Verses of Charles Dickens, 1903

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Pity of the Leaves / Edwin Arlington Robinson

The Pity of the Leaves

Vengeful across the cold November moors,
Loud with ancestral shame there came the bleak,
Sad wind that shrieked, and answered with a shriek,
Reverberant through lonely corridors.
The old man heard it; and he heard, perforce,  
Words out of lips that were no more to speak —
Words of the past that shook the old man’s cheek
Like dead, remembered footsteps on old floors.
And then there were the leaves that plagued him so!
The brown, thin leaves that on the stones outside
Skipped with a freezing whisper. Now and then
They stopped, and stayed there — just to let him know
How dead they were; but if the old man cried,
They fluttered off like withered souls of men.

Edward Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)
from The Children of the Night, 1897

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

Edwin Arlington Robinson biography

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ghosts of Uncertainties / R.S. Mallari

Ghosts of Uncertainties

there are shadows over me
and creeping through my brain
why won’t they let me be?

had enough of these entities
I run, I hide, still they remain
there are shadows over me

prisoner of uncertainty
they've locked me in chains
why won’t they let me be?

dragged by unseen enemies
tied to a runaway train
there are shadows over me

illusions, perhaps they may be
I have fought, always in vain
why won’t they let me be?

free me from this misery
somebody, take away the pain
there are shadows over me
why won’t they let me be?

R.S. Mallari
from Poems about Life

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

R.S. Mallari biography

Sunday, November 16, 2014

War / John Le Gay Brereton



The beast exultant spreads the nostril wide,
     Snuffing a sickly hate-enkindling scent;
     Proud of his rage, on sudden carnage bent,
He leaps, and flings the helpless guard aside.
Again, again the hills are gapped and dyed,
     Again the hearts of waiting women spent.
     Is there no cooler pathway to content?
Can we not heal the insanity of pride?

Silence the crackle and thunder of battling guns,
     And drive your men to strategy of peace;
          Crush ere its birth the hell-begotten crime;
Still there’s a war that no true warrior shuns,
     That knows no mercy, looks for no surcease,
          But ghastlier battles, victories more sublime.


Envy has slid in silence to its hole,
     And Peace is basking where the workers meet,
     And fire has purged the fever of the street
Where raucous tradesmen grinned and gave and stole.
Yet louder now the tides of battle roll,
     With cheer or sob of charge or stern retreat,
     And sullen thud and rumble of cannon beat
About the heights and passes of the soul.

Not only that amid the hush we hear
     The sounds that once were blurred by market cries,
          Or classes wrangling in affairs of state:
But forces now set free from sordid fear
     No longer work as Mammon’s murdering spies,
          But storm the very citadels of hate.

John Le Gay Brereton (1871-1933)
from The Burning Marl, 1919

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

John Le Gay Brereton biography

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gethsemane / Rudyard Kipling


The Garden called Gethsemane
   In Picardy it was,
And there the people came to see
   The English soldiers pass.
We used to pass — we used to pass
   Or halt, as it might be,
And ship our masks in case of gas
   Beyond Gethsemane.

The Garden called Gethsemane,
   It held a pretty lass,
But all the time she talked to me
   I prayed my cup might pass.
The officer sat on the chair,
   The men lay on the grass,
And all the time we halted there
   I prayed my cup might pass.

It didn’t pass — it didn’t pass —
   It didn’t pass from me.
I drank it when we met the gas
   Beyond Gethsemane.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from The Years Between, 1919

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

Rudaryd Kipling biography

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Ancient Game / Alfred Gordon

The Ancient Game

The chess-board of the world is set for war:
The kings, that take, but may not taken be;
The queens, unprized in this hostility;
The fortress-castles in the corners four;
The cringing bishops, state-bound to the core;
The inglorious knights of trade and usury –
But at the front of this great panoply
The pawns are ranged to pay the sordid score.

By tortuous juggling, in the name of right,
The marshalled forces to the field are led;
But as they grapple in the sanguine fight,
The arch-intriguers' blood is never shed,
The pieces on the board stand, black and white –
The pawns lie scattered, black and white both red.

Alfred Gordon (1888-1959)
from In Prophecy, and Sonnets of the European war, 1914

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

Alfred Gordon biography

Sunday, November 9, 2014

After Loos / Patrick MacGill

After Loos

(Cafe Pierre le Blanc, Nouex les Mines, Michaelmas Eve, 1915.)

Was it only yesterday
Lusty comrades marched away?
Now they're covered up with clay.

Seven glasses used to be
Called for six good mates and me —
Now we only call for three.

Little crosses neat and white,
Looking lonely every night,
Tell of comrades killed in fight.

Hearty fellows they have been,
And no more will they be seen
Drinking wine in Nouex les Mines.

Lithe and supple lads were they,
Marching merrily away —
Was it only yesterday?

Patrick MacGill (1889-1963)
from Soldier Songs, 1917

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

Patrick MacGill biography

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Arlington / Skipwith Cannell


Build a tomb for the soldier,
Crown the hill
With marble tribute to the will
To die and not the skill
To live in peace.
Descend the hill and cease
To fill the eye with marble –
Row on row the still
Grey slabs of granite stubble
Spur the wood where nameless
Hundreds sleep beneath the oak.
O living branches, forked with songs,
Scattering leaves along the brook,
Whose testimony still belongs
To grasses and the shadowed nook
Where silver fish make use of hours,
Bear witness to these fallen ranks
As well: recall their April powers
And seasons that lie squandered here.
Bear witness, break the evil spell,
Lift but one head above the sod!
However he sleeps, he sleeps not well
Who might like morning once have trod
These hills and cupped warm hands
To drink the brook; or shape a breast
Beneath his touch. O hands gone chill
Around a musket barrel, hands that pressed
The living flesh of common days,
Rot here within this living wood;
But let these trees bear witness how
Your manhood might have stood,
Tall, strong and green, the years endowed
With more than marble monuments.

Skipwith Cannell (1887-1957)

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Skipwith Cannell biography

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Night / Arthur Davison Ficke

November Night

A crystal night!— with moon and the clear wind
Through tree-tops! On the lately-frozen earth
Silence has come, and end of the loud flaunt
Of Summer. Now the crueler powers possess
The fields and hills; now the corporeal bloom
Yields to mere beauty, and the golden grass,
The scarlet leaves, take empire.

                                                                    What a throne,—
This season of waste fruitage! Through this night,
Empty except for the high sailing moon
And the fierce winds that in long reckless sweep
Tear at men's doors,— through this clear shaken night
A ghost might walk as on the battlements
Of Elsinore, and a new Hamlet speak
With no surprise to him. The trembling branches,—
Bare, desolate, impossible as home
Of nesting birds,— like a Cimmerian lace
Sway in the winds. . . . Did not a poet sing
"O Moon of my Delight!"— how long ago
He sang that! But this keen tempestuous hour
A different moon lives.

                                                 Oh white night! with moon
And clear wind through the tree-tops! Icy night,
That had no fellow till I came to you!

Arthur Davison Ficke (1883-1945)
from An April Elegy, 1917

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

Arthur Davison Ficke biography

Saturday, November 1, 2014

To the Autumnal Moon / Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Effusion XVIII.
To the Autumnal moon

Mild Splendour of the various-vested Night!
Mother of wildly-working visions! hail!
I watch thy gliding, while with watery light
Thy weak eye glimmers thro' a fleecy veil;
And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gather’d blackness lost on high;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o’er th' awaken’d sky.

Ah such is Hope! as changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-wing’d Despair:
But soon emerging in her radiant might
She o’er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
from Poems on Various Subjects,  1796

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Samuel Taylor Coleridge biography

Penny's Top 20 / October 2014

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

  1.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  2.  Christmas Song, Bliss Carman
  3.  To Autumn, John Keats
  4.  Birds of Passage, Peter McArthur
  5.  Autumn, John Davidson
  6.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  7.  The birds that sing on autumn eves, Robert Bridges

  8.  In Autumn, Alice Meynell

Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
10.  The Thanksgivings, trans. Harriet Maxwell Converse

11.  Portrait of Autumn, Thomas Chatterton
12.  October, Hilaire Belloc

13.  In October, Archibald Lampman
14.  Free Fantasia on Japanese Themes, Amy Lowell
15.  Wheat Field Concerts, James D. Sennetto

16.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
The Idlers, Pauline Johnson
18.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
19.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens

20. Poem in October, Dylan Thomas

Source: Blogger, "Stats"