Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lines in Late March / John G. Neihardt

I whistle: why not?
Have I not seen the first strips of green winding up the sloughs?
Have I not heard the meadow-lark?
I have looked into the soft blue skies and have been uplifted!

Where are the doubts and dark ideas I entertained?
What have I caught from the maple-buds that changes me?
Or was it the meadow-lark – or the blue sky – or the strips of green?
The green that winds up the sloughs?

I sought the dark and found much of it.
Is there in truth much darkness?
Have the meadow-larks lied to me?
Have the green grass and the blue sky testified falsely ?

I want to trust the sky and the grass!
I want to believe the songs I hear from the fence-posts!
Why should a maple-bud mislead me?

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973)
from A Bundle of Myrrh, 1907

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Young World / Louise Morey Bowman

Young World

Passionate March winds called in the wild, grey trees this morning.
The frozen brook
Has suddenly become a broad and turbulent stream,
Rushing through the deep ravine,
Swirling about the banks and bending bushes.
Winter is vanquished.
Yet in the harsh, raw air,
In the wet, clinging slime of mud and clay,
And lowering sky and bare, wind-tortured branches,
There lies no beauty or peace.
Peace that has brooded in austere purity
On the white snow-fields sleeping in amber sunshine;
Beauty in magical jade and diamond ice,
Or feathery, silvery powder of new-fallen snow.

But with the rushing of streams and winds there came
Stirring of unborn hopes. . . .
Passion, unrest, yearning, deep discontent,
Something that might become, all suddenly,
Joy. . . .
In an instant passing.
I have felt all day
This sense of questing youth throughout the world.

Before the day had passed,
Waiting in a crowded thoroughfare,
Two Chinamen appeared:
Immobile, passive, enigmatic beings,
Watching the ways of men with the Orient's weird gaze,
Lids dropping low over dim, slanting eyes.

One heavily muffled, seemed to be in pain,
That only his dark, claw-like hands revealed
In a slow writhing, half-hidden in his sleeves.
No other movement in mask-like face or form.
There for an instant I saw old China brooding,
Ancient old
Weighed with the burdens and pains of long, unfathomed, years.
And from those low-caste forms inscrutable,
My thoughts turned to sages, philosophers,
With essence of three religions mingled in their brains.
Calm ivory hands holding vast mystic keys

Weary I climbed the hill and now I sit beside my fire
While darkness gathers in,
Pondering a little while about the world,
The world that suddenly seemed old, dark, worn, this afternoon,
As men and women feel suddenly old sometimes
In an instant's passing.
Joy yields to sorrow.
Passion turns to pain.
But listen – soul of me!
Out in the strange March evening
Passionate winds are calling,
Even louder than they did in the grey morning.
The swollen stream rushes on.
O Youth of Springtime
What passion, hope, freedom, in your untutored song:
The world is young, young, young tonight!
What will tomorrow bring?
Louise Morey Bowman (1882-1944)
from Moonlight and Common Day, 1922

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

Louise Morey Bowman biography

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Coming of Spring: Madrid / Arthur Symons

The Coming of Spring: Madrid

Spring is come back, and the little voices are calling,
The birds are calling, the little green buds on the trees,
A song in the street, and an old and sleepy tune;
All the sounds of the spring are falling, falling,
Gentle as rain, on my heart, and I hear all these
As a sick man hears men talk from the heart of a swoon.

The clamours of spring are the same old delicate noises.
The earth renews its magical youth at a breath.
And the whole world whispers a well-known, secret thing;
And I hear, but the meaning has faded out of the voices;
Something has died in my heart: is it death or sleep?
I know not, but I have forgotten the meaning of spring.

Arthur Symons (1865-1945)
from Poems, 1902

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

Arthur Symons biography

Saturday, March 21, 2015

On the First Morning of Spring / A.Y. Campbell

On the First Morning of Spring

A magic message ran
     And touched the sleeping trees:
This morning Spring began
     With swift and sudden ease.

The air is full of light,
     Green is the happy ground;
Our Winter of last night
     Is gone without a sound.

Like a delusion, gone,
     As it had never been;
Through forests flies the Faun,
     And breasts the zephyrs keen.

'Tis youth the season sings.
     Yet it is hardly youth
Which most securely clings
     To Spring's delight and truth.

Her gospel kind and sure
     That man shall best appraise
Whose spirit is mature
     Whether from length of days,

Or that far happier he
     Whom, though still young in years
A rare precocity
     To Wisdom's self endears.

In whom ripe enterprise
     With insight is combined;
Who youthful ardour ties
     To a well-tempered mind.

He only can afford
     Experience to forego,
For Instinct will accord
     All that he needs to know.

Blest above all is he,
     Age shall his strength revere,
His actions shall be free,
     And his advancement clear.

Because he knows thee, Life,
     Thy course he shall control;
Shall conquer without strife,
     And smiling reach his goal.

His youthful dreams are sweet,
     But he shall understand:
Thy fruits are at his feet,
     Thy triumphs in his hand.

A.Y. Campbell (1885-1958)
from Poems, 1912

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

A.Y. Campbell biography

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Patch of Old Snow / Robert Frost

A Patch of Old Snow

There’s a patch of old snow in a corner
     That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
     Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
     Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I’ve forgotten –
     If I ever read it.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from Mountain Interval, 1916

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

Robert Frost biography

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Intruder / Grace Stone Coates

The Intruder

Across my book your hand augustly reaches —
     Thrusts it away.
I turn impatient to the window, watching
     The tossed trees’ play,
March sunshine glinting on a chilly rain-pool
     That snow-banks frame.
A lusty wind comes gusting on its errand
     And names your name.

Captive, defeated, having striven I yield me
     To thought awhile;      
Letting the sunlight on the roughened waters
     Bear me your smile;
Hearing the mischief-making wind that named you
     Question afresh
If spirit find in spirit full contentment
     Only through flesh.

Grace Stone Coates (1881-1976)
from Poetry, 1921

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

Grace Stone Coates biography

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Late Snow / J.C. Squire

Late Snow 

The heavy train through the dim country went rolling, rolling,
Interminably passing misty snow-covered plough-land ridges
That merged in the snowy sky; came turning meadows, fences,
Came gullies and passed, and ice-coloured streams under frozen bridges.

Across the travelling landscape evenly drooped and lifted
The telegraph wires, thick ropes of snow in the windless air;
They drooped and paused and lifted again to unseen summits,
Drawing the eyes and soothing them, often, to a drowsy stare.

Singly in the snow the ghosts of trees were softly pencilled,
Fainter and fainter, in distance fading, into nothingness gliding,
But sometimes a crowd of the intricate silver trees of fairyland
Passed, close and intensely clear, the phantom world hiding.

O untroubled these moving mantled miles of shadowless shadows,
And lovely the film of falling flakes, so wayward and slack;
But I thought of many a mother-bird screening her nestlings,
Sitting silent with wide bright eyes, snow on her back.

J.C. Squire (1884-1958)
from Poems: Second series, 1922

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

J.C. Squire biography

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March / Edward Thomas


Now I know that Spring will come again,
Perhaps to-morrow: however late I've patience
After this night following on such a day.

While still my temples ached from the cold burning
Of hail and wind, and still the primroses
Torn by the hail were covered up in it,
The sun filled earth and heaven with a great light
And a tenderness, almost warmth, where the hail dripped,
As if the mighty sun wept tears of joy.
But 'twas too late for warmth. The sunset piled
Mountains on mountains of snow and ice in the west:
Somewhere among their folds the wind was lost,
And yet 'twas cold, and though I knew that Spring
Would come again, I knew it had not come,
That it was lost too in those mountains chill.

What did the thrushes know? Rain, snow, sleet, hail,
Had kept them quiet as the primroses.
They had but an hour to sing. On boughs they sang,
On gates, on ground; they sang while they changed perches
And while they fought, if they remembered to fight:
So earnest were they to pack into that hour
Their unwilling hoard of song before the moon
Grew brighter than the clouds. Then 'twas no time
For singing merely. So they could keep off silence
And night, they cared not what they sang or screamed;
Whether 'twas hoarse or sweet or fierce or soft;
And to me all was sweet: they could do no wrong.
Something they knew – I also, while they sang
And after. Not till night had half its stars
And never a cloud, was I aware of silence
Stained with all that hour's songs, a silence
Saying that Spring returns, perhaps to-morrow.

Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
from Last Poems, 1918

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Edward Thomas biography

Sunday, March 1, 2015

In a Winter Wood / Clinton Scollard

In a Winter Wood 

Into a winter wood
At the crest of the morn I went;
The pine-tree stood like a tent
Of ermine, feathery soft;
The hemlock wore a hood;
And many another bole,
Towering far aloft.
Was wrapt in a samite stole.

A gentle whispering
Seemed wafted from tree to tree.
Like a broken melody
Chorded tender and low;
"We are gossiping of Spring,"
Said a birch, with a friendly nod,
"Of how we will joy when the snow
Will let us look on the sod!"

Then came a truant crow
With a lusty, rusty note,
And a squirrel, sleek of coat.
With his chirrup ever glad;
So we all chimed in, and oh,
What a cheery, chattering,
Frolicsome time we had
Just gossiping of Spring!

Clinton Scollard (1860-1932)
from Easter Song: Lyrics and ballads of the joy of springtime, 1906 

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

Penny's Top 20 / February 2015

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in February 2015:

  1.   In Violet Light, George J. Dance
  2.  The Snow Storm, Edna St. Vincent Millay
  3.  Too Much of the "Beautiful Snow", S. Moore
  4.  Last Week of February, 1890, Robert Bridges
  5.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  6.  Country Boy Sliding, Robert P.T. Coffin
  7.  The Wood-pile, Robert Frost

  8.  Beloved, Govinda Krishna Chettur

Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
10.  Winter: A Dirge, Robert Burns

11.  Winter-Time, Robert Louis Stevenson
12.  If Winter Remain, Clark Ashton Smith

13.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
14.  Toboggan, Ben King
The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
16.  Envoy, Ernest Dowson
17.  Accompaniment, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
18.  Christmas Eve, Edgar Guest
19.  Flute, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
20.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Penny's Top 100 of 2014

Penny's Top 100
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in 2014:

  1.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  3.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  4.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  5.  Toboggan, Ben King

  6.  Spring Again, George J. Dance
  7.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
  8.  Night (Fall), George J. Dance
  9.  It's September, Edgar Guest
10.  Round the Mercury, George J. Dance

11.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
12.  Light of Day, George J. Dance
13.  The Bobolinks, Christopher Pearce Cranch
14.  Christmas Song, Bliss Carman
15.  The Pity of the Leaves, Edwin Arlington Robinson

16.  Petit the Poet, Edgar Lee Masters
17.  Crepuscule, E.E. Cummings
18.  The Ancient Game, Alfred Gordon
19.  Demeter's Tears, Michael Pendragon
20.  A Pastoral, George Essex Evans

21.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
22.  In the High Hills, Maxwell Struthers Burt
23.  Sunny March, Norman Gale
24.  Hurrahing in Harvest, Gerard Manley Hopkins
25.  Rejoice this Day, Govinda Krishna Chettur

26.  Spring Longings, F.W. Bourdillon
27.  Spring is like a perhaps hand, E.E. Cummings
28.  Hockey War, David Pekrul
29.  Travel, Edna St. Vincent Millay
30.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau

31.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
32.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
33.  Summer's Farewell, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
34.  Birds of Passage, Peter McArthur
35.  To the Autumnal Moon, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

36.  September, Archibald Lampman
37.  Red Clover, Elaine & Dora Read Goodale
38.  When May paints azure all above, Gertrude Hall
39.  After Loos, Patrick MacGill
40.  Sleeping with Open Eyes, A.Y. Campbell

41.  The Judgement of the May, Richard Watson Dixon
42.  When June is Come, Robert Bridges
43.  To Autumn, John Keats
44.  A Song to Mithras, Rudyard Kipling
45.  Winter on the Zuyder Zee, Radclyffe Hall

46.  Summer Night, Laurence Binyon
47.  April in the Hills, Archibald Lampman
48.  Summer, Mortimer Collins
49.  How like a winter hath my absence been, William Shakespeare
50.  Christmas Eve, Edgar Guest

51.  Ghosts of Uncertainties, Ronald S. Mallari
52.  A Madrigal, Isidore G. Ascher
53.  George Edmund's Song, Charles Dickens
54.  The Poplar in August, Frances Cornford
55.  A May Morning, John Davidson

56.  Canada, Charles G.D. Roberts
57.  Summer Song, William Carlos Williams
58.  War, John Le Gay Brereton
59.  Travelling, William Wordsworth
60.  Puck's Song, Rudyard Kipling

61.  Among the Foot-hills of the Rockies, Mary Electa Adams
62.  July, Lionel Johnson
63.  To the Thawing Wind, Robert Frost
64.  Autumn, John Davidson
65.  Saturday Afternoon in the Garden, Caroline Blanche Elizabeth Lindsay

66.  June, Guy Wetmore Carryl
67.  Spring Posy, Radclyffe Hall
68.  Portrait of Autumn, Thomas Chatterton
69.  An August Wood Road, Charles G.D. Roberts
70.  Gethsemane, Rudyard Kipling

71.  Mad as the Mist and Snow, W.B. Yeats
72.  An April Fool of Long Ago, Jean Blewett
73.  The Roaring Frost, Alice Meynell
74.  The Green Roads, Edward Thomas
75.  Spring, Theo Marzials

76.  The Cold Heaven, W.B. Yeats
77.  Spring's Beacon, Margaret Deland
78.  The birds that sing on autumn eves, Robert Bridges
79.  A Summer Wind, Michael Field
80.  Penny's OS, George J. Dance

81.  Harvest Dust, Winifred Welles
82.  The Farmer's Bride, Charlotte Mew
83.  Love at Easter, Katharine Tynan
84.  Seeking the Spring, Katherine Lee Bates
85.  November Night, Arthur Davison Ficke

86.  Skating, William Wordsworth
87.  In October, Archibald Lampman
88.  In Autumn, Alice Meynell
89.  Spring Among the Ruins, J. Lewis Milligan
90.  Spring Rain, Sara Teasdale

91.  Winter Trees, William Carlos Williams
92.  When on a Summer's Morn, W.H. Davies
93.  When Trees Are Green, Jean Blewett
94.  June Leisure, Bliss Carman
95.  Old Song, Edward FitzGerald

96.  September Midnight, Sara Teasdale
97.  Sheep and Lambs, Katharine Tynan
98.  Summer Holiday, Robinson Jeffers
99.  A Song of the Four Seasons, Austin Dobson
100 The Snowdrift, F.O. Call