Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Song for New Year's Eve / William Cullen Bryant

A Song for New Year's Eve

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
     Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
     Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
     Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
     For his familiar sake.
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
     Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
     Because he gives no more?
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
     While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
     How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
     Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
     Of all they said and did!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
     And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
     Oh be the new as kind!
          Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), 1859
from Thirty Poems, 1864

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Cullen Bryant biography

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Good King Wenceslas / John Mason Neale

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas look’d out,
    On the Feast of Stephen;
When the snow lay round about,
    Deep, and crisp, and even:
Brightly shone the moon that night,
    Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
    Gath’ring winter fuel.

“Hither page and stand by me,
    If thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he?
    Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence.
    Underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence,
    By Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh,and bring me wine,
    Bring me pine-logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine,
    When we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch forth they went,
    Forth they went together;
Through the rude wind’s wild lament,
    And the bitter weather.

“Sire, the night is darker now,
    And the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know now how,
    I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, good my page;
    Tread thou in them boldly;
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
    Freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod,
    Where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod
    Which the Saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
    Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor,
    Shall yourselves find blessing.

John Mason Neale (1818-1866)
from Carols for Christmas-Tide, 1853

[Poem is in the public domain world-wide]

John Mason Neale biography

Monday, December 25, 2017

For Christmas Day / Charles Wesley

For Christmas Day 

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
"Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconcil'd!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
"Christ the Lord is born to-day!

Christ, by highest Heaven ador'd,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb!
Veil'd in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail th' incarnate Deity!
Pleas'd as man with men to appear,
Jesus, our Immanuel here!
Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Come, desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman's conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent's head.
Now display thy saving power,
Ruin'd nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Form'd in each believing heart.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
from Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Charles Wesley biography

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Christmas Night / Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Christmas Night

Wrapped was the world in slumber deep,
By seaward valley and cedarn steep,
And bright and blest were the dreams of its sleep;
All the hours of that wonderful night-tide through
The stars outblossomed in fields of blue,
A heavenly chaplet, to diadem
The King in the manger of Bethlehem.

Out on the hills the shepherds lay,
Wakeful, that never a lamb might stray,
Humble and clean of heart were they;
Thus it was given them to hear
Marvellous harpings strange and clear,
Thus it was given them to see
The heralds of the nativity.

In the dim-lit stable the mother mild
Looked with holy eyes on her child,
Cradled him close to her heart and smiled;
Kingly purple nor crown had he,
Never a trapping of royalty;
But Mary saw that the baby's head
With a slender nimbus was garlanded.

Speechless her joy as she watched him there,
Forgetful of pain and grief and care,
And every thought in her soul was a prayer;
While under the dome of the desert sky
The Kings of the East from afar drew nigh,
And the great white star that was guide to them
Kept ward o'er the manger of Bethlehem.

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)
from The Watchman, and other poems, 1916

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

Lucy Maud Montgomery biography

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December ('Neath Mistletoe) / J. Ashby-Sterry

December ('Neath Mistletoe)

'Neath Mistletoe, should chance arise,
You may be happy if you're wise!
     Though bored you be with Pantomime
     And Christmas fare and Christmas rhyme —
One fine old custom don't despise.

If you're a man of enterprise
You'll find, I venture to surmise,
     'Tis pleasant then at Christmas-time
           'Neath Mistletoe!

You see they scarcely can disguise
The sparkle of their pretty eyes:
     And no one thinks it is a crime,
     When goes the merry Christmas chime,
A rare old rite to exercise
          'Neath Mistletoe!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Miracle / George J. Dance

A Miracle

For them the blessed oil still burned!
Through black of eight long winter nights,
when unto Zion they returned,
for them the blessed oil still burned –
A miracle we all have learned –
That sweet return! Those wondrous lights!
For them the blessed oil still burned
through black of eight long winter nights.

George J. Dance, 2017

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Trees / Robert Frost

Christmas Trees

          (A Christmas Circular Letter)

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

                                                     “You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

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

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

Robert Frost biography

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Magi / W.B. Yeats

The Magi

Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depths of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary's turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Song of Autumn / Rennell Rodd

A Song of Autumn

All through the golden weather
     Until the autumn fell,
Our lives went by together
     So wildly and so well.–

But autumn's wind uncloses
     The heart of all your flowers,
I think as with the roses,
     So hath it been with ours.

Like some divided river
     Your ways and mine will be,
– To drift apart for ever,
     For ever till the sea.

And yet for one word spoken,
     One whisper of regret,
The dream had not been broken
     And love were with us yet.

Rennell Rodd (1858-1941)
from Songs in the South, 1881 

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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Autumn Twilight / Harry Kemp

Autumn Twilight

Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

Rich afterglows of Autumn
Fill all the world with light
And elm and oak and maple
Loom up like fire in flight,
And golden is the valley,
And golden is the hill,
And golden is the first star
At twilight's window-sill.

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

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

Harry Kemp biography

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Sonnet / George J. Dance

The Sonnet

It starts with staring at an empty page
And trying to find a decent set of rhymes,
With just one thought to stop frustrated rage:
You only have to do this seven times.

Put rhymes in order, notice what they're saying,
Then try to tell that story line-by-line.
When lines are sketched out, then you can start playing
With each one. Use your skills to make it fine:

Use sound to give each line the proper feel,
Alliteration, assonance, and more;
Add concrete images to make it 'real';
Add more of those by using metaphor.

Then at some point you'll stop, read, ponder on it,
And realize you just composed a sonnet.

George J. Dance, 2017

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / November 2017

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in November 2017:

  1.  Winterworld Descending, Will Dockery
  2.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  4.  Dulce et Decorum est, Wilfred Owen
  5.  Letter in November, Sylvia Plath
  6.  November in the Park, Dorothy Dudley
  7.  Why the War?, John Gould Fletcher
  8.  There is strange musick ..., William Lisle Bowles
  9.  November (A London Fog), J. Ashby-Sterry

10.  A Dream in November, Edmund Gosse

11.  Fate, Patrick MacGill
12.  The Haunted Palace, Edgar Allan Poe 
13.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
14.  Premonition, George J. Dance
15.  October (Once More at Home), J. Ashby-Sterry 
16.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance
17.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
18.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
19.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
20.  Three Grey Days, Francis Sherman

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November (A London Fog) / J. Ashby-Sterry


A London Fog, 'tis always here
At this inclement time of year!
     When people hang themselves or drown,
     And Nature wears her blackest frown,
While all the world is dull and drear.

All form and colour disappear
Within this filthy atmosphere:
     'Tis sometimes yellow, sometimes brown,
           A London Fog!

It chokes our lungs, our heads feel queer,
We cannot see, can scarcely hear:
     So when this murky pall drops down —
     Though dearly loving London town —
We feel we cannot quite revere
          A London Fog!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Dream in November / Edmund Gosse

A Dream in November

Far, far away, I know not where, I know not how,
     The skies are grey, the boughs are bare, bare boughs in flower:
Long lilac silk is softly drawn from bough to bough,
     With flowers of milk and buds of fawn, a 'broidered shower.

Beneath that tent an Empress sits, with slanted eyes,
     And wafts of scent from censers flit, a lilac flood;
Around her throne bloom peach and plum in lacquered dyes,
     And many a blown chrysanthemum, and many a bud.

She sits and dreams, while bonzes twain strike some rich bell,
     Whose music seems a metal rain of radiant dye;
In this strange birth of various blooms, I cannot tell
     Which spring from earth, which slipped from looms, which sank from sky;

Beneath her wings of lilac dim, in robes of blue,
     The Empress sings a wordless hymn that thrills her bower;
My trance unweaves, and winds, and shreds, and forms anew
     Dark bronze, bright leaves, pure silken threads, in triple flower.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
from The Yellow Book, April 1894

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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Letter in November / Sylvia Plath

Letter in November

Love, the world
Suddenly turns, turns color. The streetlight
Splits through the rat's tail
Pods of the laburnum at nine in the morning.
It is the Arctic,

This little black
Circle, with its tawn silk grasses – babies hair.
There is a green in the air,
Soft, delectable.
It cushions me lovingly.

I am flushed and warm.
I think I may be enormous,
I am so stupidly happy,
My Wellingtons
Squelching and squelching through the beautiful red.

This is my property.
Two times a day
I pace it, sniffing
The barbarous holly with its viridian
Scallops, pure iron,

And the wall of the odd corpses.
I love them.
I love them like history.
The apples are golden,
Imagine it ——

My seventy trees
Holding their gold-ruddy balls
In a thick gray death-soup,
Their million
Gold leaves metal and breathless.

O love, O celibate.
Nobody but me
Walks the waist high wet.
The irreplaceable
Golds bleed and deepen, the mouths of Thermopylae.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963}, 1962
from Ariel, 1965

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Sylvia Plath biography

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fate / Patrick MacGill


The cloudwrack o'er the heaven flies,
     The wild wind whistles on the lake,
     The drooping branches in the brake
Mourn for the pale blue butterflies.

Where is the sheen of green and gold?
     The sullen Winter's beard is hoar,
     Where are the fruits the Autumn bore?
We know not, who are growing old.

We pulled the dainty flowers of spring,
     But we were happy being young –
     And now when Autumn's knell is rung
We wither 'neath the vampire wing.

Patrick MacGill (1889-1963)
from Songs of a Navvy1911

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

Patrick MacGill biography

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Why the War? / John Gould Fletcher

from Modern Lamentations

Why the War?

They went to a field, and there lay two swords and two ploughshares;
And the first man said, “Plow, brother.”
But the second man frowned, and growled, tossing his head,
“We must kill each other.”

“The fruits of earth are beautiful — flowers and fruits,  
From the warm breast of earth, our mother.”
“Flower and fruit are for fools who want them, and beauty to boot!
We must kill each other.”

“Then let us strive, if you will, but only in peace;
In life let us conquer each other.”      
“Death settles the contest more quickly; one cut will release:
We must kill each other.”

“If death settles all, why then either fight or strive?
Let us sit down on the grass and weep for each other.”
“Because only so can the farce be played to the last:  
Draw, brother.”

John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)
from Poetry, December 1916

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dulce et Decorum est / Wilfred Owen

Dulce et Decorum est 

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!— An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), 1918
from Poems, 1920

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

Wilfred Owen biography

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November in the Park / Dorothy Dudley

November in the Park

The lamps hang low in the silent park —
A hundred milk-white moons;
The trees weep gently in the dark
In dim festoons;
The trees reach outward upward
Long dark arms
In tearful dancing and in prayer.
The small pond bares to drifting skies
The furtive charms
Of her silver eyes,
And lies where white paths gleam around
Like something rare:
For Beauty and Romance have drowned
A princess there.

Dorothy Dudley (1884-1962)
from Poetry, November 1915

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

Dorothy Dudley biography

Saturday, November 4, 2017

There is strange musick in the stirring wind /
William Lisle Bowles


November, 1792

There is strange musick in the stirring wind,
  When low'rs the autumnal eve, and all alone
To the dark wood’s cold covert thou art gone,
Whose ancient trees on the rough slope reclin'd
  Rock, and at times scatter their tresses sere.      
If in such shades, beneath their murmuring,
Thou late hast pass'd the happier hours of spring,
  With sadness thou wilt mark the fading year;
Chiefly if one, with whom such sweets at morn
  Or eve you shar'd, to distant scenes shall stray.        
  O Spring, return! return, auspicious May!
But sad will be thy coming, and forlorn,
  If she return not with thy cheering ray,
  Who from these shades is gone, gone far away.

William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850)
from Sonnets, with other poems, 1794

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Lisle Bowles biography

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / October 2017

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in October 2017:

  1.  Winterworld Descending, Will Dockery
  2.  October, Margaret Veley
  3.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  4.  Autumn, Kalidasa
  5.  Autumnal, Ernest Dowson
  6.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  7.  October (Once More at Home), J. Ashby-Sterry
  8.  October, John Reed
  9.  October, Edward Thomas

Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy 

11.  The Haunted Palace, Edgar Allan Poe
12.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance
13.  The woods shake in an angue-fit, Mathilde Blind

14.  North Wind in October, Robert Bridges
15.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
16.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
17.  In October, Archibald Lampman
18.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
19.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
20.  Premonition, George J. Dance

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Haunted Palace / Edgar Allan Poe

The Haunted Palace

In the greenest of our valleys
    By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace —
    Radiant palace — reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion —
    It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
    Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
    On its roof did float and flow,
(This — all this — was in the olden
    Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
    In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
    A wingéd odour went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
    Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
    To a lute’s well-tunéd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well befitting,
    The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
    Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
    And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
    Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
    The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
    Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn! — for never morrow
    Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
    That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
    Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
    Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
    To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
    Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
    And laugh — but smile no more.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), 1839
from The Raven, and other poems, 1845

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Edgar Allan Poe biography

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October / Margaret Veley


Long looked for was the summer. Anxious eyes
     Noted the budding bough, the crocus flame,
That told its coming. Now, 'neath autumn skies
     The leaves fall slowly, slowly as they came.

There is no need to watch while winter weaves
     Fair buds to crown another golden prime,
For something heavier than the autumn leaves
     Has hidden eyes that looked for summer-time.

The trees shall wake from their forgetful sleep
     Unto new blossom and a tender green –
The countless trees! – but never one will keep
     A little leaf or flower that she has seen!

Margaret Veley (1843-1887), 1880
from A Marriage of Shadows, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Margaret Veley biography

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October (Once More at Home) / J. Ashby-Sterry


Once more at Home! We've ploughed the main,
We've gone by diligence and train;
     Endured the oft-repeated snub
     Of insolent official cub —
In Switzerland, in France, and Spain.

For weeks we've struggled, all in vain,
Some toilet comforts to obtain;
     But now we hail our roomy "tub"
          Once more at Home.

Though back we come to fog and rain
And chills and bills, we don't complain!
     We've heaps of friends, a quiet "rub",
     A pleasant dinner at the Club —
True happiness we now regain,
          Once more at Home!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Autumnal / Ernest Dowson


Pale amber sunlight falls across
     The reddening October trees,
     That hardly sway before a breeze
As soft as summer: summer's loss
     Seems little, dear! on days like these!

Let misty autumn be our part!
     The twilight of the year is sweet:
     Where shadow and the darkness meet
Our love, a twilight of the heart
     Eludes a little time's deceit.

Are we not better and at home
     In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
     No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
     A little while, then, let us dream.

Beyond the pearled horizons lie
     Winter and night: awaiting these
     We garner this poor hour of ease,
Until love turn from us and die
     Beneath the drear November trees.

Ernest Dowson (1867-1900)
from The Poems of Ernest Dowson, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ernest Dowson biography

Saturday, October 21, 2017

North Wind in October / Robert Bridges


In the golden glade the chestnuts are fallen all;
From the sered boughs of the oak the acorns fall:
The beech scatters her ruddy fire;
The lime hath stripped to the cold,
And standeth naked above her yellow attire:
The larch thinneth her spire
To lay the ways of the wood with cloth of gold.

     Out of the golden-green and white
Of the brake the fir-trees stand upright
In the forest of flame, and wave aloft
To the blue of heaven their blue-green tuftings soft.

     But swiftly in shuddering gloom the splendours fail,
As the harrying North-wind beareth
A cloud of skirmishing hail
The grieved woodland to smite:
In a hurricane through the trees he teareth,
Raking the boughs and the leaves rending,
And whistleth to the descending
Blows of his icy flail.
Gold and snow he mixeth in spite,
And whirleth afar; as away on his winnowing flight
He passeth, and all again for awhile is bright.

Robert Bridges (1844-1930)
from Shorter Poems, Book V, 1893

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

Robert Bridges biography

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Winterworld Descending / Will Dockery (4 poems)

Winterworld Descending

1. Stopwatch 

My wayward muse,
I am still in the bewilderness.
Leave it to me,
A mute passing notes to a blind man.

Time has a demand – she's yelling
Through shutdown clocks frozen at noon.
The memories here are snow dust
Under a low rust moon.

Time for Winterworld descending –
Ignite time with a Werewolf bullet so slow,
Flaky leaves spinning by me,
Past the ceramic building down below.

In front of a wet breeze
I think its time to leave your smile.
Even if I am wrong,
Please sit by me for a little while.

Time to draw another picture,
Manufacture memories forever gone.
Somewhere on some red October morning,
We'll meet on that field, alone.

2. She Loves Bossa Nova 

She loves Bossa Nova
rare steaks
rain sticks
And red red wine.

She's real
and sometimes sparks
with spoken words
spoken loud.
Just like the
Statue of Liberty
standing tall and proud
along the long way
long way around.

Brown sugar baby
backyard blues
maybe it was intimidation
quiet infatuation.
I was coming down home
fell down, down, down
into silver blazing dawn.

On the long way
overheard on the sidewalk
she said "I love you" –
somehow I did not understand
overheard on the street
out on the sidewalk
taking the long way
long way around.

I didn't know
she was crying.
I didn't think
it'd be that way
didn't think
she would get so serious.
The guitar played
C, D, . . .

She likes city lights
she could name all the saints
and the darkness
she said it made her so lonely.

She loves Bossa Nova
rare steaks
rain sticks
And red red wine
On the long way
long way around.

3. Black and Blue Night

I know I'll never see
blue eyes again.
In fact I may never see
anything again

In that corridor
of memory and dream
I saw someone slipping in

On a black and blue night
poker faced with tears blinding my sight
on a black and blue night

I pull the shutters
crank up that light
Something in here
and I want it in plain sight.

She walks with me
like Jesus used to do
in a shivering rendezvous

On a black and blue night
raining again and it's blinding my sight
on a black and blue night

Never seen a place like Hazelton
pirouetting hoodlums dancing round
never seen such a dirty town

She said we must do something for the cause
sacrifice the ghost of Santa Claus
To fit the battle of Jericho
Toss the gauntlet and the ass's jaw

On a black and blue night . . .

4. Swamp Street Exile 

Winterworld descends
Night owl on my back.
Your eyes are bleary
You won't be coming back.

Time ... Demands.
She's yelling.
Shut down clocks
at Noon.

In front of the Dead River
Time to leave your smile.
If I'm wrong dear lady
Come sit with me a while.

Memories ...
like Snowdust.
Swamp Street Exile

Draw another picture
Of a perfect storm,
A red October morning,
A field forever gone.

My wayward muse,
Leave it all to me.
Still in the bewilderness,
Still too blind to see.

Time demands, she's yelling
Shutdown clocks at noon
Memories like snowdust
Frozen Stopwatch moon.

Will Dockery, 

[All rights reserved by the author - used with permission]

Will Dockery biography

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The woods shake in an ague-fit / Mathilde Blind

from Love in Exile:


The woods shake in an ague‐fit,
     The mad wind rocks the pine,
From sea to sea the white gulls flit
     Into the roaring brine.

The moon as if in panic grief
     Darts through the clouds on high,
Blown like a wild autumnal leaf
     Across the wilder sky.

The gusty rain is driving fast,
     And through the rain we hear,
Above the equinoctial blast,
     The thunder of the Weir.

The voices of the wind and rain
     Wail echoing through my heart —
That love is ever dogged by pain
     And fondest souls must part.

You made heart’s summer, O my friend,
     But now we bid adieu,
There will be winter without end
     And tears for ever new.

Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)
from Songs and Sonnets, 1893

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mathilde Blind biography

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October / John Reed


Langorous with heavy haze
Sinks the scarlet sun.  A drowsy hush
Hangs above the city ways,
And stills their rush.

Smoky mist of forest fires
Greyly palls the distance.  Pines long dead
Smoulder deep like dead desires —
Their gaunt arms spread.

Golden-red the honeyed moon,
Swarmed about with golden bees, hangs low,
Climbing to her silver noon
With blood-like glow —

Weirdly floats the echo down,
Tom-toms faintly throbbing far away,
Through the haze from Chinatown
Across the bay . . .

John Reed (1887-1920),  1906
from Tamberlaine, and other verses, 1917

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

John Reed biography

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October / Edward Thomas


The green elm with the one great bough of gold
Lets leaves into the grass slip, one by one, --
The short hill grass, the mushrooms small milk-white,
Harebell and scabious and tormentil,
That blackberry and gorse, in dew and sun,
Bow down to; and the wind travels too light
To shake the fallen birch leaves from the fern;
The gossamers wander at their own will.
At heavier steps than birds' the squirrels scold.
The rich scene has grown fresh again and new
As Spring and to the touch is not more cool
Than it is warm to the gaze; and now I might
As happy be as earth is beautiful,
Were I some other or with earth could turn
In alternation of violet and rose,
Harebell and snowdrop, at their season due,
And gorse that has no time not to be gay.
But if this be not happiness, -- who knows?
Some day I shall think this a happy day,
And this mood by the name of melancholy
Shall no more blackened and obscured be.

Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
from Poems, 1917

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

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Autumn / Kalidasa


The autumn comes, a maiden fair
In slenderness and grace,
With nodding rice-stems in her hair
And lilies in her face.
In flowers of grasses she is clad;
And as she moves along,
Birds greet her with their cooing glad
Like bracelets' tinkling song.

A diadem adorns the night
Of multitudinous stars;
Her silken robe is white moonlight,
Set free from cloudy bars;
And on her face (the radiant moon)
Bewitching smiles are shown:
She seems a slender maid, who soon
Will be a woman grown.

Over the rice-fields, laden plants
Are shivering to the breeze;
While in his brisk caresses dance
The blossomed-burdened trees;
He ruffles every lily-pond
Where blossoms kiss and part,
And stirs with lover's fancies fond
The young man's eager heart.

Kalidasa (circa 400)
translated by Arthur W. Ryder (1877-1938)
from Translations of Shkuntala, and other works, 1912

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

Kalidasa biography
Arthur W. Ryder biography

Penny's Top 20 / September 2017

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in September 2017:

  1.  Premonition, George J. Dance
  2.  The Bright Extensive Will, AE Reiff
  3.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  4.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
  5.  An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie, Vachel Lindsay
  6.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance
  7.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  8.  In a September Night, F. Wyville Home
  9.  Bavarian Gentians, D.H. Lawrence

10.  Farewell to Summer, Bernard McEvoy

11.   September (A Foreign Tour), J. Ashby-Sterry
12.  A Night Rain in Summer, Leigh Hunt
13.  A Dirge for Summer, Sebastian Evans

14.  Absence, John Arthur Blaikie
15.  Card Game, Frank Prewett
16.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
17.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
18.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
19.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
20.  Alabanza, Martin Espada (video)

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September (A Foreign Tour) / J. Ashby-Sterry


A Foreign Tour? I apprehend
A hand-bag I should recommend;
     A roll of useful notes from Coutts,
     A pocketful of good cheroots,
And Murray for your faithful friend.

Some French, on which you can depend;
A chosen chum, you can't offend;
     Are things to make — with tourist-suits —
          A Foreign Tour.

You'll visit "lions" without end;
And all the snowy peaks ascend
     With alpenstocks and hob-nailed boots:
     Or ride on mules — the sullen brutes —
There's lots of sport, if you intend
          A Foreign Tour!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bavarian Gentians / D.H. Lawrence

Bavarian Gentians

Not every man has gentians in his house
in Soft September, at slow, Sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the day-time torch-like with the smoking blueness of Pluto's gloom,
ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off light,
lead me then, lead me the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendour of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the lost bride and her groom.

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
from Last Poems, 1933

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

D.H. Lawrence biography

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In a September Night / F. Wyville Home

In a September Night

There the moon leans out and blesses
  All the dreamy hills below:
Here the willows wash their tresses
  Where the water-lilies blow
  In the stream that glideth slow.

High in heaven, in serried ranges,
  Cloud-wreaths float through pallid light,
Like a flock of swans that changes
  In the middle Autumn night
  North for South in ordered flight.      

What know ye, who hover yonder,
  More than I, of that veiled good
Whither all things tend, I wonder,
  That ye follow the wind’s mood
  In such patient quietude?

F. Wyville Home (1851- )
from Lay Canticles, and other poems, 1883

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

F. Wyville Home biography

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Farewell to Summer / Bernard McEvoy

Farewell to Summer

Weep! weep! oh, tearful skies,
While summer gently dies,
And let us bid her sad farewell;
There are no tears so dear
As yours, nor so sincere,
Nor to our hearts such solace tell.

The trees with beauteous green
The leaves no longer screen,
But to the sun their verdure sell;
He gives them glittering gold,
And colors manifold,
How short their day 'twere vain to tell.

Let the wind sadly sigh
O'er flowers that withered lie,
In sover mead, or verdant dell;
Under the falling leaves,
The shroud that autumn weaves,
They sleep, that once we loved so well.

Not with rare flow'rets gay
Make we a last bouquet,
But mint, and rue, and asphodel;
These are our chosen flowers,
Now that the summer hours
No more our hearts with gladness swell.

Early the waning light
Fades from our pensive sight,
While deeply tolls the evening bell;
Over the tree-tops tall,
Night treads her airy hall,
And silent listens to the knell.

By the night coldly kissed,
The silvery ghostly mist
Wakes from its slumbrous earthy cell;
Wanders beneath the trees,
Moved by each passing breeze,
Where late the burning sunshine fell.

Beneath the stars' faint gleam
Moves on the placid stream,
And towards the sea doth flow and swell;
So doth our life-stream flee
On towards infinity,
Where no abiding sorrows dwell.

Bernard McEvoy (1842-1932)
from Away from Newspaperdom, and other poems, 1897

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Absence / John Arthur Blaikie


If not now soft airs may blow
    From thy haven unto me,
If not now last Autumn’s glow
    Thrill delight ’twixt me and thee,
Call up Memory, oh, entreat her,
In the present there ’s none sweeter.

One true thought and constant only
    To that pleasurable time
Me sufficeth to make lonely
    All the void and mocking prime
Of this summertide, whose story
Pales in that exceeding glory.

John Arthur Blaikie  (1849- )
from A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895, 1895

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Arthur Blaikie biography

Sunday, September 10, 2017

An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie /
Vachel Lindsay

An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie

(In the Beginning)

The sun is a huntress young,
The sun is a red, red joy,
The sun is an Indian girl,
Of the tribe of the Illinois.


The sun is a smouldering fire,
That creeps through the high gray plain,
And leaves not a bush of cloud
To blossom with flowers of rain.


The sun is a wounded deer,
That treads pale grass in the skies,
Shaking his golden horns,
Flashing his baleful eyes.


The sun is an eagle old,
There in the windless west.
Atop of the spirit-cliffs
He builds him a crimson nest.

Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)
from Rhymes to be Traded for Bread, 1912

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

Vachel Lindsay biography

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Night Rain in Summer / Leigh Hunt

A Night Rain in Summer 

Open the window, and let the air
Freshly blow upon face and hair,
And fill the room, as it fills the night,
With the breath of the rain's sweet might.
Hark! the burthen, swift and prone!
And how the odorous limes are blown!
Stormy Love's abroad, and keeps
Hopeful coil for gentle sleeps.

Not a blink shall burn to-night
In my chamber, of sordid light;
Nought will I have, not a window-pane,
'Twixt me and the air and the great good rain,
Which ever shall sing me sharp lullabies;
And God's own darkness shall close mine eyes;
And I will sleep, with all things blest,
In the pure earth-shadow of natural rest.

Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)
from Poetical Works, 1860

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Leigh Hunt biography

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Premonition / George J. Dance


The sun has never seemed so warm and bright,
The grass and trees have never looked as green
As in this calm September morning light,
But something else is with me, though unseen:
A polar wind that blows by, harsh and keen,
And leaves me feeling numb, alone, and ill
As I envision what that gust will mean:
Green leaves and grass to wither in its chill,
Gray snow to bury all, black ice to freeze the kill.

George J. Dance, 2017

[All rights reserved by the author - used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Dirge for Summer / Sebastian Evans

A Dirge for Summer

  Summer dieth:— o’er his bier
  Chant a requiem low and clear!
  Chant it for his dying flowers,
  Chant it for his flying hours.
Let them wither all together      
  Now the world is past the prime
  Of the golden olden-time.

  Let them die, dying Summer
  Yield his kingdom to the comer
  From the islands of the West:      
  He is weary, let him rest!
And let mellow Autumn’s yellow
  Fall upon the leafy prime
  Of the golden olden-time.

  Go, ye days, your deeds are done!    
  Be yon clouds about the sun
  Your imperial winding-sheet;
  Let the night winds as they fleet
Tell the story of the glory
  Of the free great-hearted prime    
  Of the golden olden-time.

Sebastian Evans (1830-1909)
from Brother Fabian's Manuscript, and other poems, 1865

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sebastian Evans biography 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / August 2017

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in August 2017:

  1.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance
  2.  The Bright Extensive Will, AE Reiff
  3.  I would I were the glow-worm ..., Mathilde Blind
  4.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  5.  poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky, John Sweet
  6.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  7.  On Summer, George Moses Horton
  8.  August in the City, Charles Hanson Towne
  9.  Night for Adventures, Victor Starbuck

Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  

11.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
12.  In the Fields, Charlotte Mew
13.  August (Beside the Sea), J. Ashby-Sterry

14.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
15.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
16.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
17.  July (On Henley Bridge), J. Ashby-Sterry
18.  It's September, Edgar Guest
19.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
20.  London in July, Amy Levy 

Source: Blogger, "Stats"