Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Poplars / Bernard Freeman Trotter

The Poplars

O, a lush green English meadow – it's there that I would lie  –
A skylark singing overhead, scarce present to the eye,
And a row of wind-blown poplars against an English sky.

The elm is aspiration, and death is in the yew,
And beauty dwells in every tree from Lapland to Peru;
But there s magic in the poplars when the wind goes through.

When the wind goes through the poplars and blows them silver white,
The wonder of the universe is flashed before my sight:
I see immortal visions: I know a god's delight.

I catch the secret rhythm that steals along the earth,
That swells the bud, and splits the burr, and gives the oak its girth,
That mocks the blight and canker with its eternal birth.

It wakes in me the savor of old forgotten things,
Before "reality" had marred the child s imaginings:
I can believe in fairies – I see their shimmering wings.

I see with the clear vision of that untainted prime,
Before the fool's bells jangled in and Elfland ceased to chime,
That sin and pain and sorrow are but a pantomime –

A dance of leaves in ether, of leaves threadbare and sere,
From whose decaying husks at last what glory shall appear
When the white winter angel leads in the happier year.

And so I sing the poplars; and when I come to die
I will not look for jasper walls, but cast about my eye
For a row of wind-blown poplars against an English sky.

Bernard Freeman Trotter (1890-1917)
From A Canadian Twilight, and other poems of war and peace, 1917

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

Bernard Freeman Trotter biography

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Summer Mood / Hamlin Garland

A Summer Mood

Oh, to be lost in the wind and the sun,
  To be one with the wind and the stream!
With never a care while the waters run,
  With never a thought in my dream.
To be part of the robin’s lilting call
  And part of the bobolink’s rhyme.
Lying close to the shy thrush singing alone,
  And lapped in the cricket’s chime!

Oh, to live with these beautiful ones!
  With the lust and the glory of man
Lost in the circuit of springtime suns —
  Submissive as earth and part of her plan;
To lie as the snake lies, content in the grass!
  To drift as the clouds drift, effortless, free,
Glad of the power that drives them on,
  With never a question of wind or sea.

Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)
from Prairie Songs, 1893

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

Hamlin Garland biography

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Déjeuner sur l'herbe / Edith Sitwell

Déjeuner sur l'herbe

Green apples dancing in a wash of sun —
Ripples of sense and fun —
A net of light that wavers as it weaves
The sunlight on the chattering leaves;
The half-dazed sound of feet,
And carriages that ripple in the heat.
The parasols like shadows of the sun
Cast wavering shades that run
Across the laughing faces and across
Hair with a bird-bright gloss.
The swinging greenery casts shadows dark,
Hides me that I may mark
How, buzzing in this dazzling mesh, my soul
Seems hardening it to flesh, and one bright whole.
O sudden feathers have a flashing sheen!
The sun's swift javelin
The bird-songs seem, that through the dark leaves pass;
And life itself is but a flashing glass.

Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)
from Clowns' Houses, 1918

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

Edith Sitwell biography

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My Heart is a Lute /
Caroline Blanche Elizabeth Lindsay

My Heart is a Lute

     Alas, that my heart is a lute.
     Whereon you have learn'd to play!
     For a many years it was mute,
     Until one summer's day
You took it, and touched it, and made it thrill,
And it thrills and throbs, and quivers still!

     I had known you, dear, so long!
     Yet my heart did not tell me why
     It should burst one morn into song,
     And wake to new life with a cry,
Like a babe that sees the light of the sun,
And for whom this great world has just begun.

     Your lute is enshrined, cased in,
     Kept close with love's magic key,
     So no hand but yours can win
     And wake it to minstrelsy;
Yet leave it not silent too long, nor alone,
Lest the strings should break, and the music be done.

Caroline Blanche Elizabeth Lindsay (1844-1912)
from Lyrics, and other poems, 1890

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spoils of the Dead / Robert Frost

Spoils of the Dead

Two fairies it was
  On a still summer day
Came forth in the woods
  With the flowers to play.

The flowers they plucked    
  They cast on the ground
For others, and those
  For still others they found.

Flower-guided it was
  That they came as they ran    
On something that lay
  In the shape of a man.

The snow must have made
  The feathery bed
When this one fell      
  On the sleep of the dead.

But the snow was gone
  A long time ago,
And the body he wore
  Nigh gone with the snow.    

The fairies drew near
  And keenly espied
A ring on his hand
  And a chain at his side.

They knelt in the leaves    
  And eerily played
With the glittering things,
  And were not afraid.

And when they went home
  To hide in their burrow,    
They took them along
  To play with to-morrow.

When you came on death,
  Did you not come flower-guided
Like the elves in the wood?    
  I remember that I did.

But I recognised death
  With sorrow and dread,
And I hated and hate
  The spoils of the dead.    

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from A Boy's Will, 1915

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

Robert Frost biography

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Two Summer Days / Mary Mapes Dodge

Two Summer Days

"June 17th.
"It was only a little bunch of clover-blossoms gathered for her, near a way-side station, soon after our parlies were introduced on the East-bound train. But how much it meant! That was just one year ago to-day, — and now we are going back together! " — from his letter.

A year ago this day, my girl,
     The clover told a thing to you,
Amid the stir and noisy whirl
     Of wheels, as toward his home we flew;
And now you know how fond and true
The thing the clover said to you.

With modest mirth and girlish grace,
     You took the gift and lightly smiled;
You pressed it softly to your face,
     (What wonder that the flower grew wild!)
And now, in thought, again we trace,
The clover bloom, the girlish grace.

Over the self-same road again
    You journey,— yours the homeward way;
And bright upon that Western plain
    The nodding clover smiles to-day;
And still, though not in lightsome play,
It has a blessed thing to say.

Still waves the clover in the sun,
    And whispers near the whirring track:
"Two lives are floating into one,
    Two travellers are speeding back.
God bless them both till Heaven is won,
And bless the love in bloom begun!"

Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905)
from Along the Way, 1879

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Schemes / Thomas Hardy

Summer Schemes

When friendly summer calls again,
      Calls again
Her little fifers to these hills,
We’ll go — we two — to that arched fane
Of leafage where they prime their bills
Before they start to flood the plain
With quavers, minims, shakes, and trills.
   “—We’ll go,” I sing; but who shall say
   What may not chance before that day!

And we shall see the waters spring,
      Waters spring
From chinks the scrubby copses crown;
And we shall trace their oncreeping
To where the cascade tumbles down
And sends the bobbing growths aswing,
And ferns not quite but almost drown.
   “—We shall,” I say; but who may sing
   Of what another moon will bring!

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
from Late Lyrics and Earlier, with many other verses, 1922

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

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tell All the World / Harry Kemp

Tell All the World

Tell all the world that summer's here again
With song and joy; tell them, that they may know
How, on the hillside, in the shining fields
New clumps of violets and daisies grow.

Tell all the world that summer's here again.
That white clouds voyage through a sky so still
With blue tranquillity, it seems to hang
One windless tapestry, from hill to hill.

Tell all the world that summer's here again:
Folk go about so solemnly and slow,
Walking each one his grooved and ordered way —
I fear that, otherwise thev will not know!

Harry Kemp (1883-1960)
from Chanteys and Ballads, 1920

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

Harry Kemp biography

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Song for Canada / Agnes Maule Machar

A Song for Canada

Our Canada, young, strong and free,
     Whose sceptre stretches far,
Whose hills look down on either sea,
     And front the polar star,—
Not for thy greatness, half unknown,
     Wide plains or mountains grand
But,— as we hold thee for our own,—
     We love our native land!
          God bless our mighty forest-land
               Of mountain, lake and river.
          Whose loyal sons, from strand to strand,
               Sing 'Canada for ever!'

In winter robes of virgin snow
     We proudly hail thee ours;
We crown thee when the south winds blow
     'Our Lady of the Flowers;'
We love thy rainbow-tinted skies,
     Thy mystic charm of spring ;
For us thine autumn's gorgeous dyes,
     For us thy song-birds sing.
          God bless our own Canadian land
               Of mountain, lake and river.
          Whose loyal sons, from strand to strand,
               Sing 'Canada for ever!'

Fair art thou when the summer wakes
     The cornfields' yellow gold;
Thy quiet pastures, azure lakes.
     For us their treasures hold;
To us each hill and dale is dear,
     Each rock and stream and glen,
Dear scattered homes of kindly cheer,
     And busy haunts of men.
          God bless our own Canadian land
               Of mountain, lake and river.
          Whose loyal sons, from strand to strand,
               Sing 'Canada for ever!'

Our sires their old traditions brought,
     Their lives of faithful toil;
For home and liberty they fought
     On our Canadian soil.
Queenston, Quebec, and Lundy's Lane
     Can stir our pulses still;
The lands they held through blood and pain
     A free-born people fill.
          God bless our own Canadian land
               Of mountain, lake and river.
          Whose loyal sons, from strand to strand,
               Sing 'Canada for ever!'

Saxon and Celt and Norman we:—
     Each race its memory keeps ;
Yet o'er us all, from sea to sea,
     One Red Cross banner sweeps
Long may our Greater Britain stand
     The bulwark of the free!
But, Canada, our own fair land,
     Our first love is for thee!
          God bless our own Canadian land
               Of mountain, lake and river.
          Well may thy sons, from strand to strand,
               Sing 'Canada for ever!'

Agnes Maule Machar (1837-1927)
from Lays of the True North, and other Canadian poems, 1902

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

Penny's Top 20 / June 2015

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

  1.  Love-songs of the Open Road, Kendall Banning
  2.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  3.  The Ecchoing Green, William Blake
  4.  Shepherd Singing Ragtime, Louis Golding
  5.  father, David Rutkowski
  6.  June Rain, Richard Aldington
  7.  Adlestrop, Edward Thomas

Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
This Lane in May, David Morton
Christmas Eve, Edgar Guest

11.  One Day in May, Clinton Scollard
12.  Summer Night, Riverside, Sara Teasdale

13.  The Exposed Nest, Robert Frost
14.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
15.  May in the Greenwood

16.  No Support, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
17.  Wind and Silver, Amy Lowell
18.  The May Tree, Radclyffe Hall
19.  Episode of a Night in May, Arthur Symons
20.  PortraitHector de Saint-Denys Garneau

Source: Blogger, "Stats"