Sunday, June 28, 2015

Adlestrop / Edward Thomas


Yes, I remember Adlestrop
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat, the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop — only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire

Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
from Poems, 1917

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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Night, Riverside / Sara Teasdale

Summer Night, Riverside

In the wild, soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson
Wearing her lights like golden spangles
Glinting on black satin.
The rail along the curving pathway
Was low in a happy place to let us cross,
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom
Sheltered us,
While your kisses and the flowers,
Falling, falling,
Tangled my hair. . . .

The frail white stars moved slowly over the sky.

And now, far off
In the fragrant darkness
The tree is tremulous again with bloom,
For June comes back.
To-night what girl
Dreamily before her mirror shakes from her hair
This year's blossoms, clinging in its coils?

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
from Love Songs, 1917

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Sunday, June 21, 2015

father / david rutkowski


in taiwan the moon never seems further
than a child's touch

my son sees the sky in chinese and me

i school and scold and read him poems
so that he may teach me meaning

tonight we will watch gravity

i will stop the film too often
as he takes notes

words float in his head like lifeboats

the finger-tip caught in the fire-door
was re-attached and when he plays bach
i'm too moved to even cry

too soon
i will float in his head like lifeboats

david rutkowski, 2014

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

david rutkowski on usenet

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Exposed Nest / Robert Frost

The Exposed Nest

You were forever finding some new play.
So when I saw you down on hands and knees
In the meadow, busy with the new-cut hay,
Trying, I thought, to set it up on end,
I went to show you how to make it stay,      
If that was your idea, against the breeze,
And, if you asked me, even help pretend
To make it root again and grow afresh.
But ’twas no make-believe with you to-day,
Nor was the grass itself your real concern,      
Though I found your hand full of wilted fern,
Steel-bright June-grass, and blackening heads of clover.
’Twas a nest full of young birds on the ground
The cutter-bar had just gone champing over
(Miraculously without tasting flesh)      
And left defenseless to the heat and light.
You wanted to restore them to their right
Of something interposed between their sight
And too much world at once — could means be found.
The way the nest-full every time we stirred      
Stood up to us as to a mother-bird
Whose coming home has been too long deferred,
Made me ask would the mother-bird return
And care for them in such a change of scene
And might our meddling make her more afraid.
That was a thing we could not wait to learn.
We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But dared not spare to do the best we could
Though harm should come of it; so built the screen
You had begun, and gave them back their shade.    
All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
No more to tell? We turned to other things.
I haven’t any memory — have you? —
Of ever coming to the place again
To see if the birds lived the first night through,      
And so at last to learn to use their wings.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from Mountain Interval, 1920

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

Robert Frost biography

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shepherd Singing Ragtime / Louis Golding

Shepherd Singing Ragtime

The shepherd sings:–
'_Way down in Dixie,
Way down in Dixie,
Where the hens are dog-gone glad to lay_ ...'
With shaded eyes he stands to look
Across the hills where the clouds swoon,
He singing, leans upon his crook,
He sings, he sings no more.
The wind is muffled in the tangled hairs
Of sheep that drift along the noon.
One mild sheep stares
With amber eyes about the pearl-flecked June.
Two skylarks soar
With singing flame
Into the sun whence first they came.
All else is only grasshoppers
Or a brown wing the shepherd stirs,
Who, like a tall tree moving, goes
Where the pale tide of sheep-drift flows.

See! the sun smites
With sea-drawn lights
The turned wing of a gull that glows
Aslant the violet, the profound
Dome of the mid-June heights.

Alas! again the grasshoppers,
The birds, the slumber-winging bees,
Alas! again for those and these
Demure and sweet things drowned;
Drowned in vain raucous words men made
Where no lark rose with swift and sweet
Ascent and where no dim sheep strayed
About the stone immensities,
Where no sheep strayed and where no bees
Probed any flowers nor swung a blade
Of grass with pollened feet.

He sings:–
'_In Dixie,
Way down in Dixie,
Where the hens are dog-gone glad to lay
Scrambled eggs in the new-mown hay_...'
The herring-gulls with peevish cries
Rebuke the man who sings vain words;
His sheep-dog growls a low complaint,
Then turns to chasing butterflies.
But when the indifferent singing-birds
From midmost down to dimmest shore
Innumerably confirm their songs,
And grasshoppers make summer rhyme
And solemn bees in the wild thyme
Clash cymbals and beat gongs,
The shepherd's words once more are faint,
The shepherd's song once more is thinned
Upon the long course of the wind,
He sings, he sings no more.

Ah, now the sweet monotonies
Of bells that jangle on the sheep
To the low limit of the hills!
Till the blue cup of music spills
Into the boughs of lowland trees;
Till thence the lowland singings creep
Into the silenced shepherd's head,
Creep drowsily through his blood:
The young thrush fluting all he knows,
The ring-dove moaning his false woes,
Almost the rabbit's tiny tread,
The last unfolding bud.

                                 But now,
Now a cool word spreads out along the sea.
Now the day's violet is cloud-tipped with gold.
Now dusk most silently
Fills the hushed day with other wings than birds'.
Now where on foam-crest waves the seagulls rock,
To their cliff-haven go the seagulls thence.
So too the shepherd gathers in his flock,
Because birds journey to their dens,
Tired sheep to their still fold.
A dark first bat swoops low and dips
About the shepherd who now sings
A song of timeless evenings;
For dusk is round him with wide wings,
Dusk murmurs on his moving lips.

There is not mortal man who knows
From whence the shepherd's song arose:
It came a thousand years ago.

Once the world's shepherds woke to lead
The folded sheep that they might feed
On green downs where winds blow.

One shepherd sang a golden word.
A thousand miles away one heard.
One sang it swift, one sang it slow.

Three skylarks heard, three skylarks told
All shepherds this same song of gold
On all downs where winds blow.

This is the song that shepherds must
Sing till the green downlands be dust
And tide of sheep-drift no more flow:

The song three skylarks told again
To all the sheep and shepherd men
On green downs where winds blow.

Louis Golding (1895-1958)
from Shepherd Singing Ragtime, and other poems, 1922

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

Louis Golding biography

Saturday, June 13, 2015

June Rain / Richard Aldington

June Rain

Hot, a griffin's mouth of flame,
The sun rasped with his golden tongue
The city streets, till men and walls shrivelled;
The dusty air stagnated.

At the third noon a wind rippled,
A wide sea silently breaking;
A thick veil of rain-drops
Hid the sun and the hard blue.

A grey garment of rain,
Cold as hoar frost in April,
Enwrapped us.

Richard Aldington (1892-1962)
from Images: Old and new, 1916

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

Richard Aldington biography

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love-songs of the Open Road / Kendall Banning
(3 poems)

Love-songs of the Open Road


The morning wind is wooing me; her lips have swept my brow.
Was ever dawn so sweet before? the land so fair as now?
The wanderlust is luring to wherever roads may lead,
While yet the dew is on the hedge. So how can I but heed?

The forest whispers of its shades; of haunts where we have been,—
And where may friends be better made than under God’s green inn? 
Your mouth is warm and laughing and your voice is calling low,
While yet the dew is on the hedge. So how can I but go?


The bees are humming, humming in the clover;
        The bobolink is singing in the rye;      
The brook is purling, purling in the valley,
        And the river’s laughing, radiant, to the sky!

The buttercups are nodding in the sunlight;
        The winds are whispering, whispering to the pine;
The joy of June has found me; as an aureole it’s crowned me    
        Because, oh best belovèd, you are mine!


In Arcady by moonlight
    (Where only lovers go),
There is a pool where only
    The fairest roses grow.      

Why are the moonlit roses
    So sweet beyond compare?
Among their purple shadows
    My love is waiting there.

*    *    *    *    *

To Arcady by moonlight      
    The roads are open wide,
But only joy can enter
    And only joy abide.

There is the peace unending
    That perfect faith can know —      
In Arcady by moonlight,
    Where only lovers go.

Kendall Banning (1879-1944)
from Poetry, January 1913

[Poems are in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Kendall Banning biography

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Ecchoing Green / William Blake

The Ecchoing Green

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bells’ cheerful sound;
While our sports shall be seen
On the ecchoing green.
Old John, with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say,
‘Such, such were the joys
When we all – girls and boys –
In our youth-time were seen
On the ecchoing green.’
Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry:
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen
On the darkening green.

William Blake (1757-1827)
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, 1794.

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Blake biography

Monday, June 1, 2015

Penny's Top 20 / May 2015

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

  1.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  2.  The World Well Lost, Ethelwyn Wetherald
  3.  Christmas Eve, Edgar Guest
  4.  Sacrament, Louise Morey Bowman
  5.  Spring in the Shops, Bert Leston Taylor
  6.  Any Woman, Hazel Hall
  7.  Episode of a Night in May, Arthur Symons

  8.  Blind, Harry Kemp

  9.  A Pastoral, Robert Hillyer

10.  No Man's Land, Gilbert Parker

11.  May, John Clare
12.  One Day in May, Clinton Scollard

13.  The May Tree, Radclyffe Hall
14.  This Lane in May, David Morton
15.  The Day Charles Bukowski Died, Gary Frankfurth

16.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
17.  Poem with Rhythms, Wallace Stevens
18.  The Playing, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
19.  Whiteout, George J. Dance
20.  Waste Land, Madison Cawein

Source: Blogger, "Stats"