Sunday, August 30, 2015

In the Fields / Charlotte Mew

In the Fields

Lord when I look at lovely things which pass,
  Under old trees the shadow of young leaves
Dancing to please the wind along the grass,
  Or the gold stillness of the August sun on the August sheaves;
Can I believe there is a heavenlier world than this?
  And if there is
Will the heart of any everlasting thing
  Bring me these dreams that take my breath away?
They come at evening with the home-flying rooks and the scent of hay,
Over the fields. They come in spring.

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)

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

Charlotte Mew biography

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Soul of Summer / Edward Sapir

The Soul of Summer

Incessant chatter of blackbirds over the flags,
Sinuous falls of the swallows and sudden turns,
Short flights, preoccupied, of the robin mothers —
This is the living summer, this is summer.

The fine dust drifts in the torpid air, sluggish —
A faint-blue shadow veil hung before green,
A dry hush on the grass stalks, on the corn stalks —
Lazy dust-drift of the heavy summer.

This is summer fulfilled, this is the summer
Of waiting wings, still wings in passionate tremor.
This is the summer when torpor blossoms to storms
And throbbing wings burst out to the height of the wind.

I too know the summer, I know the summer
Of light poured on the soft white of her neck;
I know the hair that flashed in the summer sun.    
I know the summer whose laughter pierced my heart.

Edward Sapir (1884-1939)
from Poetry, August 1919

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

Edward Sapir biography

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? /
William Shakespeare


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
     So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare
from Shakespeare's Sonnets (London: John Lane, 1899)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Shakespeare biography
Shakespeare's Sonnets
Analysis of Sonnet 18

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Garden / H.D.



You are clear
O rose, cut in rock,
hard as the descent of hail.
I could scrape the colour
from the petals
like spilt dye from a rock.
If I could break you
I could break a tree.
If I could stir
I could break a tree —
I could break you.


O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.
Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air —
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.
Cut the heat —
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.

H.D. (1886-1961)
from Sea Garden, 1916

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

H.D. biography

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Velardena Sunset / Grace Hazard Conkling

Velardena Sunset

From “Out of Mexico”

When I saw the hills before dawn,
They were of the texture of thin gauze —
The sky shone through.

Now they are molten hills.
Like metal on the lip of a crater they palpitate and change,      
Radiant, volatile.
The iron ravines flare and glow;
Scarlet lava brims the arroyo channels;
Overflowing in rivulets
It glazes the flashing sand.      
Caverns, purple-dark a moment since,
Are boiling cauldrons of light;
They seethe under a primrose vapor.
There are no shadows anywhere;
Only undulating ridges of flamboyant copper,      
Boulders of brass,
Precipices dripping hot gold,
Incandescent peaks that quiver upward
And hiss at contact with the sky.

Can these be the hills I saw hanging like pale rose gauze
Against the door of the dawn?

Grace Hazard Conkling (1878-1958)
from Poetry, April 1917

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

Grace Hazard Conkling biography

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Summer Sea / Nathan Haskell Dole

The Summer Sea

After the Japanese manner

Unbroken by a ripple, but yet drifting
  Onward in long wide billows, vast and free,
Upon its bosom ship and shadow lifting,
  Beneath the sunset lies the summer sea.

Nathan Haskell Dole (1852-1935)
from Poetry, August 1915

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

Nathan Haskell Dole biography

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Morning on the Lièvres / Archibald Lampman

Morning on the Lièvres

Far above us where a jay
Screams his matins to the day,
Capped with gold and amethyst,
Like a vapour from the forge
Of a giant somewhere hid,
Out of hearing of the clang
Of his hammer, skirts of mist
Slowly up the wooden gorge
Lift and hang.

Softly as a cloud we go,                
Sky above and sky below,
Down the river, and the dip
Of the paddles scarcely breaks,
With the little silvery drip
Of the water as it shakes              
From the blades, the crystal deep
Of the silence of the morn,
Of the forest yet asleep,
And the river reaches borne
In a mirror, purple grey,              
Sheer away
To the misty line of light,
Where the forest and the stream
In a shadow meet and plight,
Like a dream.                          

From amid a stretch of reeds,
Where the lazy river sucks
All the water as it bleeds
From a little curling creek,
And the muskrats peer and sneak        
In around the sunken wrecks
Of a tree that swept the skies
Long ago,
On a sudden seven ducks
With a splashy rustle rise,            
Stretching out their seven necks,
One before, and two behind,
And the others all arow,
And as steady as the wind
With a swivelling whistle go,
Through the purple shadow led,
Till we only hear their whir
In behind a rocky spur,
Just ahead.

Archibald Lampman (1861-1899), 1886
from Among the Millet, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain world-wide]

Archibald Lampman biography

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Twenty-old and Seven-wild / Annie Campbell Huestis

Twenty-old and Seven-wild

O Twenty, running through the wood!
     Where friendly leaves and grasses stir,
Where airs are sweet and trees are strong,
     And hiding birds call out to her,
And every little timid thing
That creeps within the woods to sing
     Seems just to have a voice for her.

O Twenty, running through the wood!
     A woman grown, and yet a child!
Now in the sun, now in the shade —
     The wild gone out to meet the wild.
And who can say life is not sweet
To eager eyes and fearless feet
     To Twenty-old and Seven-wild.

She leaves the quiet road that winds
     Its pretty way the whole wood through
And makes a pathway for herself,
     As who at Twenty would not do?
Unseen and seen, the wind and she
Go through the bush and round the tree —
     Go roving 'round and singing through.

Such pleasure just to lose herself!
     O Seven-wild! O Twenty-old!
The shadows stealing from the night
     Tread measures strange with gleams of gold.
And Mayflowers lift their faces pink:—
Now who could look at them and think
     Of being young or being old?

O Twenty, running through the wood!
     Its wildness has a power to still;
The voices low from rock and twig
     The silences with music thrill,—
And suddenly she silent grows,
And, searching out the path she knows,
     Turns back — but carries home the thrill.

Annie Campbell Huestis (1876-1960)
from A Treasury of Canadian Verse, 1915

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

Annie Campbell Huestis biography 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

In Summer Time / Paul Laurence Dunbar

In Summer Time

When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow'rs aflush,– then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,–
To walk with Nature heart by heart,
Till wearied out at last I lie
Where some sweet stream steals singing by
A mossy bank; where violets vie
In color with the summer sky,–
Or take my rod and line and hook,
And wander to some darkling brook,
Where all day long the willows dream,
And idly droop to kiss the stream,
And there to loll from morn till night –
Unheeding nibble, run, or bite ,–
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
The birds' song and the water's drone,
The humming bees' low monotone,
The murmur of the passing breeze,
And all the sounds akin to these,
That make a man in summer time
Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.
Joy springs all radiant in my breast;
Though pauper poor, than king more blest,
The tide beats in my soul so strong
That happiness breaks forth in song,
And rings aloud the welkin blue
With all the songs I ever knew.
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
'Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
from Oak and Ivy, 1893

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Paul Laurence Dunbar biography

Penny's Top 20 / July 2015

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

  1.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  2.  Tell All the World, Harry Kemp
  3.  Spoils of the Dead, Robert Frost
  4.  Summer Schemes, Thomas Hardy
  5.  The Poplars, Bernard Freeman Trotter
  6.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  7.  Two Summer Days, Mary Mapes Dodge

  8.  Dejeuner sur l'herbe, Edith Sitwell

  9.  My Heart is a Lute, Caroline Blanche Elizabeth Lindsay

10.  A Summer Mood, Hamlin Garland

11.  A Song for Canada, Agnes Maule Machar
12.  In June and Gentle Oven, Anne Wilkinson

13.  The River, Frederick George Scott
14.  Summer Song, William Carlos Williams
15.  Landscape in Two Colours...
Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau 
16.  Vigil, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
17.  AccompanimentHector de Saint-Denys Garneau
18.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
19.  The Ecchoing Green, William Blake
20.  In the High Hills, Maxwell Struthers Burt

Source: Blogger, "Stats"