Sunday, September 27, 2015

Autumn Dawn / Charles Hamilton Sorley

Autumn Dawn

And this is morning. Would you think
That this was the morning, when the land
Is full of heavy eyes that blink
Half-opened, and the tall trees stand
Too tired to shake away the drops
Of passing night that cling around
Their branches and weigh down their tops:
And the grey sky leans on the ground?
The thrush sings once or twice, but stops
Affrighted by the silent sound.
The sheep, scarce moving, munches, moans.
The slow herd mumbles, thick with phlegm.
The grey road-mender, hacking stones,
Is now become as one of them.

Old mother Earth has rubbed her eyes
And stayed, so senseless, lying down.
Old mother is too tired to rise
And lay aside her grey nightgown,
And come with singing and with strength
In loud exuberance of day,
Swift-darting. She is tired at length,
Done up, past bearing, you would say.
She'll come no more in lust of strife,
In hedges' leap, and wild birds' cries,
In winds that cut you like a knife,
In days of laughter and swift skies,
That palpably pulsate with life,
With life that kills, with life that dies.
But in a morning such as this
Is neither life nor death to see,
Only that state which some call bliss,
Grey hopeless immortality.
Earth is at length bedrid. She is
Supinest of the things that be:
And stilly, heavy with long years,
Brings forth such days in dumb regret,
Immortal days, that rise in tears,
And cannot, though they strive to, set.

Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)
from Marlborough, and other poems, 1919

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Charles Hamilton Sorley biography

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Autumn / Francesca Rios


My maple tree is yellow green
Against a blue-gray sky.
In little groups of three and four
I see the restless pigeons fly.

The air is rain-washed — fresh and sweet,  
Mingled with pungent scent of pine.
Kissed by the faintest glint of sun,
Amber and bronze the poplars shine.

He knew the woods — how many times
I’ve seen him tramping in the rain,  
Singing among the trees he loved
The songs I’ll never hear again!

Francesca Rios
from Poetry, November 1922

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Song at Summer's End / A.R.D. Fairburn

Song at Summer's End

Down in the park the children play
rag-happy through the summer day
with dirty feet and freckled faces,
laughing, fighting, running races.
Dull against the smoky skies
the summer's heavy burden lies,
leaden leaves on tired trees
lacking supple limbs like these.

The skyline shows the shape of life,
tomorrow's world of sweat and strife,
fifty stacks and one grey steeple.
Down the street come factory people,
folk who used to play on swings,
dodging chores and apron-strings
to wrestle on the grass and run
barefoot with the fleeting sun.

Some of the kids are sailing boats;
the first leaf drops unheeded, floats
and dances on the muddy pond.
Shadows from the world beyond
lengthen, sprawl across the park;
day rolls onward towards the dark.
From the clock-tower, wreathed in smoke,
Time speaks gravely, stroke on stroke.

A.R.D. Fairburn (1904-1957), 1947
from Strange Rendezvous: Poems, 1929-1941, with additions, 1952

[poem is in the public domain in Canada]

A.R.D. Fairburn biography

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The End of Summer / Madison Cawein

The End of Summer

The rose, that wrote its message on the noon's
Bright manuscript, has turned her perfumed face
Towards Fall, and waits, heart-heavy, for the moon's
     Pale flower to take her place.

With eyes distraught, and dark disheveled hair,
The Season dons a tattered cloak of storm
And waits with Night that, darkly, seems to share
     Her trouble and alarm.

It is the close of summer. In the sky
The sunset lit a fire of drift and sat
Watching the last Day, robed in empire, die
     Upon the burning ghat.

The first leaf crimsons and the last rose falls,
And Night goes stalking on, her cloak of rain
Dripping, and followed through her haunted halls
     By ail Death's phantom train.

The sorrow of the Earth and all that dies,
And all that suffers, in her breast she bears;
Outside the House of Life she stops and cries
     The burden of her cares.

Then on the window knocks with crooked hands,
Her tree-like arms to Heaven wildly-hurled:
Love hears her crying, "Who then understands?—
     Has God forgot the world?"

Madison Cawein (1865-1914)
from The Cup of Comus: Fact and fancy, 1915

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Summer Rain / John Davidson

Summer Rain

The flowers with dust disgraced
     Droop in garth and plain;
But the summer tempests haste
     With lustral rain.

The banded vapour rolls,
     Shadowing hill and town;
Anon the thunder tolls,
     The showers come down.

Margents where the salt winds pass,
     The freshened sea-pinks fret;
The roses change to hippocras
     The heaven's pearly sweat;

And the flowers all shine and all the grass
     Like jewels newly set,
Sapphire bright and chrysolite,
     And emeralds dripping wet.

Like smoke from a happy hearth,
     Out of the meads and the bowers.
The spicy dust of the moistened earth
     And the rainy scent of the flowers
Translate to silence sweet the mirth
     Of the silvery ringing showers.

John Davidson (1857-1909)
from The Last Ballad, and other poems, 1899

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Davidson biography

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Summer Rain / John Askham

The Summer Rain

The cloudy fountains are unsealed,
And barren hill, and thirsty field,
And drooping vale, and famished plain
Drink long, deep draughts of Summer rain.

The flowers rejoice, and upward hold
Their cups of ruby, pearl, and gold;
Each drop distilled to perfumes rare,
With incense loads the humid air.

The wood with sweet, soft music rings.
And a baptismal anthem sings;
On every leaf, and tree, and stem.
Sparkles a new-created gem.

The cornfields 'neath the blessing bow;
To their full height the rivers grow;
The willows by the brooklet's side
Lave their dank tresses in the tide —

Drink to their fill the secret springs,
As every stream due tribute brings,
Till the cool reservoirs below
With limpid treasures overflow.

In bye-way and in busy street,
Like pattering of children's feet,
With precious blessings in its train
Comes the refreshing Summer rain.

John Askham (1825-1894)
from Descriptive Poems, 1866

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Askham biography

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 1913 / W.B. Yeats

September 1913

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone;
For men were born to pray and save;
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Yet they were of a different kind,
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman's rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save?
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave?
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Yet could we turn the years again,
And call those exiles as they were
In all their loneliness and pain,
You'd cry `Some woman's yellow hair
Has maddened every mother's son':
They weighed so lightly what they gave.
But let them be, they're dead and gone,
They're with O'Leary in the grave.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
from Responsibilities, and other poems, 1914

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

William Butler Yeats biography

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September Idyl / Arthur Symons

September Idyl: In the Hammock: Chameane. 

A sky of green and gold, tremulous, delicate,
Starred with pale blue, and bright with little voices; wind
Lifting the golden outer fringe, autumn has thinned;
A yellow leaf drops rustling, and another: wait,
The leaves begin to whisper, and the voices cease:
I hear the silence; but a voice flutters again,
A little, fluting voice, soft, piercing, as the rain;
I close my eyes, and all my body sways with peace.
Delicate, tremulous, seen under eyelids closed,
The sky of green and gold sways over me, and seems
To fill the languid soul with the desire of dreams;
But the sky fades, and only inner eyelids, rosed
With filtered sunlight falling, shadow as they pass
Not even dreams; until a trailing hand perceives,
Sudden, the earth again, in the crisp touch of leaves,
And the arresting slender fingers of the grass.

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, September 5, 2015

The trees have never seemed so green /
Robert Hillyer

from Days and Seasons


The trees have never seemed so green
Since I remember,
As in these groves and gardens of September,
And yet already comes the chill
That bodes the world's last garden ill,
And in the shadow I have seen
A spectre,— even thine,
O Vandal, O November.
The wind leaps up with sudden screams
In gusts of chaff.
Two boys with blowing hair listen and laugh.
We hear the same wind, they and I,
Under the dark autumnal sky;
It blows strange music through their dreams.
Keenly it blows through mine,
Singing their epitaph.

Robert Hillyer (1895-1961)
from The Five Books of Youth, 1920 

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Penny's Top 20 / August 2015

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

  1.  Autumn, Walter de la Mare
  2.  Bear Mountain Morning, Michael Pendragon
  3.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  4.  She Sleeps Tight, Will Dockery
  5.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  6.  Morning on the Lièvres, Archibald Lampman
  7.  Garden, H.D.

  8.  The Summer Sea, Nathan Haskell Dole

  9.  Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, William Shakespeare

10.  Twenty-old and Seven-wild, Annie Campbell Huestis

11.  In Summer Time, Paul Lawrence Dunbar
12.  Velardena Sunset, Grace Hazard Conkling

13.  In the Fields, Charlotte Mew
14.  The Soul of Summer, Edward Sapir
15.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme

16.  Spring Morning, A.A. Milne
17.  The Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy
18.  The Old Year, John Clare
19.  Defeat, Constance Woodrow
20.  Fall, Leaves, Fall, Emily Brontë

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Doggerel, and other doggerel:
new collection by George J. Dance

George J. Dance, proprietor of  The Penny Blog and the Penny's Poetry Pages wiki, is pleased to announce the publication of his first poetry collection, Doggerel, and other doggerel.

Doggerel contains roughly 50 short poems, written over 44 years (1972-2015). Poems that can be sampled on  The Penny Blog include "Spring Again," "Round the Mercury," "Mars & Avril," "May," "Only the Lonely," "June," "Lucky Penny," "July," and "Light of Day."

The book also contains translations of works by Tu Fu ("Spring Scene"), Arthur Rimbaud ("Romance Novel," "Sensation," "Vowels"), and Heinrich Heine ("Lorelei's Song").

Doggerel, and other doggerel costs $15, and is available at Lulu Press. Ordering information here: