Saturday, October 31, 2015

October / Ellis Parker Butler


The forest holds high carnival to-day,
And every hill-side glows with gold and fire;
Ivy and sumac dress in colors gay,
And oak and maple mask in bright attire.

The hoarded wealth of sober autumn days
In lavish mood for motley garb is spent,
And nature for the while at folly plays,
Knowing the morrow brings a snowy Lent.

Ellis Parker Bell (1869-1937)

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

Ellis Parker Butler biography

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mid-October / Helen Birch Bartlett


Leaves whirl about my feet;
Leaves, leaves dance over my head —
Brown leaves.
And their madness and love of death blow through my heart.
(Oh, the perfume of these drifting golden leaves!)      

What wine can stain the soul with redder glory
Than this wild, sudden thirst for sudden death?

They rise like clouds of incense
From swift-swinging golden censers —
Clouds and clouds!    
And the western sky is a glow of light
As yellow and white as the face of a Christian saint.

Autumn, autumn!
I will not live!
I’ll go now, now, with all my memories and my joys.    

I will not live
To have them blown
Like ashes from an altar by capricious winds.

Helen Birch Bartlett (1883-1925)
from Poetry, October 1917

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

Helen Birch Bartlett biography

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Autumn Orchards / Clark Ashton Smith

Autumn Orchards

Walled with far azures of the wintering year,
Late autumn on a windless altar burns;
Splendid as rubies from Sabean urns,
A holocaust of hues is gathered here.

The pear-trees lift a Tyrian tinged with blood;
Strange purples brighten in the smouldering plums;
The fire-red gold of peach and cherry comes
To storm the bronzing borders of the wood.

Rich as the pyre of some Hesperian queen,
Feeding the ultimate sunset with sad fires,
Is this, where beauty with her doom conspires
To tell in flame what death and beauty mean.

O, loveliness grown tragical and dear!
My heart has taken from the torchful leaf
A swiftly soaring glory, and the grief
Of love is colored like the dying year.

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961)
from Sandalwood, 1925

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Clark Ashton Smith biography

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October / Ethelwyn Wetherald


Against the winter’s heav’n of white the blood
     Of earth runs very quick and hot to-day;
     A storm of fiery leaves are out at play
Around the lingering sunset of the wood.
Where rows of blackberries unnoticed stood,
     Run streams of ruddy color wildly gay;
     The golden lane half dreaming picks its way
Through ’whelming vines, as through a gleaming flood.
O warm, outspoken earth, a little space
     Against thy beating heart my heart shall beat,
          A little while they twain shall bleed and burn,
And then the cold touch and the gray, gray face,
     The frozen pulse, the drifted winding-sheet,
          And speechlessness, and the chill burial urn.

Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1940)
from The House of the Trees, and other poems, 1895

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

Ethelwyn Wetherald biography 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Purple / Glenn Ward Dresbach


Purple grapes hung in the purpling gloom.
Frail purple flowers swayed in the musky grass.
I caught a breath of passionate perfume,
And saw you pass
(A shadow in motion, a drifting purple hue)
And I reached out my arms and called to you —
Only to lose you in purpling shadows that between us came.
Nothing I heard but the autumn winds whispering your name.
Maddened I rushed to find you, to hold you in my caress,
But my open arms closed only on purple emptiness.
I called . . . No answer came.
Nothing I heard but the autumn winds whispering your name.

Glenn Ward Dresbach (1889-1968)
from In the Paths of the Wind, 1917

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

Glenn Ward Dresbach biography

Monday, October 12, 2015

Indian Summer / Edna Dean Proctor

Indian Summer

'Tis Indian Summer's richest, latest day;
The skies are bending down, serenly blue;
And, to the south wind's sigh, the branches sway
With answering music as they lightly strew
Upon the ground beneath, the gorgeous leaves
Of russet-green and ruby-red and gold,
So bright, my heart, sad as the south wind, grieves
To see their glories sinking in the mould!
And every gay and gladsome thing seems taking
A lingering leave of grove and field and sky;
Birds, all the glens and forest aisles forsaking,
In croft and orchard sweet lament are making
For roses dead and loveless winter nigh.
The bees are hovering o'er the lonely flowers,
The gift of mild September's sunny hours--
Pale asters that have lived through frosty eves,
And still in languid beauty tint their leaves
Amid the mountain fern, that yet retains
Its fragrant breath through all the autumnal rains,
And meek immortelles that, till snows appear,
Will mourn the buried splendors of the year;
While squirrels haste with nuts and acorns brown
That every waft above the wood brings down;
And, on the wing, a golden butterfly,
The last, the loveliest, is flitting by.
So calm! so fair! yet well I know at morn
Wild winds will blow till all the groves are shorn,
And soft mists vanish and the mountains rise
Cold and severe in melancholy skies.
Now fades the sun from hill and stream and dell--
O mellow Indian Summer! fare thee well!

Edna Dean Proctor (1827-1923)
from Poems, 1866

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Edna Dean Proctor biography

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Poet's Hat / Robert Fuller Murray

The Poet's Hat

The rain had fallen, the Poet arose,
     He passed through the doorway into the street,
A strong wind lifted his hat from his head,
     And he uttered some words that were far from sweet.
And then he started to follow the chase,
     And put on a spurt that was wild and fleet,
It made the people pause in a crowd,
     And lay odds as to which would beat.

The street cad scoffed as he hunted the hat,
     The errand-boy shouted hooray!
The scavenger stood with his broom in his hand,
     And smiled in a very rude way;
And the clergyman thought, 'I have heard many words,
     But never, until to-day,
Did I hear any words that were quite so bad
     As I heard that young man say.'

Robert Fuller Murray (1863-1894)
from The Scarlet Gown, 1891

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Fuller Murray biography

Saturday, October 10, 2015

October / Jewell Bothwell Tull (4 poems)


The sob that comes after the weeping is over,
The smile after laughter,
Faith when youth’s gone and death beckons:
The sum of life, plus a dream.


I don't know whether October’s a man or a woman.
When I say She, He looks at me with such masculine eyes;
And when I say He,
She shakes her red head at me.
So I think maybe      
October’s a child — or a god.

Foolish Bird

Foolish bird,
  Do you think, because the rain’s over
  And the sun’s in your eyes,
  Summer’s here again?
  Don’t you know it’s October?—      
Foolish bird that sings in my heart.

Gray River

Gray river,
  Do you care that the wind’s kisses are cold now?
  That they are putting away the little summer boats?


Just when the year learns
  What life is all about,
Just when she learns it’s not youth
  Nor summer’s hot kisses
Nor even maternity,    
Just when she knows
  What it’s all for —
Winter and spring and summer,
The sum of it — October!

Next month you’ll be so gray and tired,    
And then so still and white.

Jewell Bothwell Tull (1889-1963)
from Poetry, October 1922

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

Jewell Bothwell Tull biography

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October / Robert Frost


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost —
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from A Boy's Will, 1913

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

Robert Frost biography

Penny's Top 20 / September 2015

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

  1.  Song at Summer's End, A.R.D. Fairbairn
  2.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  3.  Autumn Dawn, Charles Hamilton Sorley
  4.  September Idyl: In the hammock, Arthur Symons
  5.  Summer Rain, John Davidson
  6.  Autumn, Francesca Rios
  7.  The trees have never seemed so green, Robert Hillyer

  8.  The Summer Rain, John Askham

Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
10.  September 1913, William Butler Yeats

11.  The End of Summer, Madison Cawein
12.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens

13.  Sensation, Arthur Rimbaud
14.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
15.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy

16.  Dejeuner sur l'herbe, Edith Sitwell
17.  Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, William Shakespeare
18.  News, AE Reiff
19.  Wind and Silver, Amy Lowell
20.  The Soul of Summer, Edward Sapir

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Autumn / Gladys Cromwell


Capricious little poem and sapling rhyme
Grew on the golden hillside of my youth.
The stanzas were as crooked and uncouth
As early things are wont to be. For time
Was pressing and mid-summer's glowing prime
Was ever imminent. Mysterious truth
Was the warm soil thought sprouted from.
My songs were stem and filament to climb.
But now, the memory of bud and fruit
And flower is weariness. This present week
In mid-September, wayward wild pursuit
Is over; youth fulfilled. How shall they seek
Beyond, unless from sunbeams in the skies
These listless leaves take warmer harmonies?

Gladys Cromwell (1885-1919)
from The Gates of Utterance, and other poems, 1915

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

Gladys Cromwell biography