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, 1889

[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"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

August in the City / Charles Hanson Towne

August in the City

The brooding hours, through the dull afternoon,
Pause, while a torrid sun flames in the sky.
(O heart of mine, dream of a long, cool dune,
Where breezes wander by!)

Hemmed in by granite walls, the very paves
Grow worn and weary with the ceaseless heat.
(O heart, dream of a shore where foam-flecked waves
Surge, crash, and wildly beat!)

The sad hours creep toward the dim light of dusk
Ah! how each laggard moment slowly goes!
(O heart, dream of a garden filled with musk
And the sweet scent of rose!)

The sun goes down at last, and lo! a breeze
Pours through the mighty cavern of the streets.
(O sleeping heart, dream of unsheltered seas
Where the glad, fresh rain beats!)

Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949)
from The Quiet Singer, and other poems, 1908

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

Charles Hanson Towne biography

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August (Beside the Sea) - J. Ashby-Sterry


Beside the Sea, upon the strand
The sun is hot, the day is grand:
     I think you will agree with me,
     Upon the shore 'tis nice to be,
Amid the shingle and the sand.

Your hands get brown, your face is tanned,
You bathe or noddle to the band;
     Or slowly ride a solemn "gee"
          Beside the Sea.

You pace the pier, you idle and
The offing never leave unscanned:
     And study, 'neath some grateful lee,
     The "blue, the fresh, the ever free"!
The air is pure, your lungs expand,
          Beside the Sea!

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, August 20, 2017

On Summer / George Moses Horton

On Summer

Esteville begins to burn;
   The auburn fields of harvest rise;
The torrid flames again return,
   And thunders roll along the skies.

Perspiring Cancer lifts his head,
   And roars terrific from on high;
Whose voice the timid creatures dread;
   From which they strive with awe to fly.

The night-hawk ventures from his cell,
   And starts his note in evening air;
He feels the heat his bosom swell,
   Which drives away the gloom of fear.

Thou noisy insect, start thy drum;
   Rise lamp-like bugs to light the train;
And bid sweet Philomela come,
   And sound in front the nightly strain.

The bee begins her ceaseless hum,
   And doth with sweet exertions rise;
And with delight she stores her comb,
   And well her rising stock supplies.

Let sportive children well beware,
   While sprightly frisking o’er the green;
And carefully avoid the snare,
   Which lurks beneath the smiling scene.

The mistress bird assumes her nest,
   And broods in silence on the tree,
Her note to cease, her wings at rest,
   She patient waits her young to see.

George Moses Horton (?1797-1884)
from Poems by a Slave, 1837

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Night for Adventures / Victor Starbuck

Night for Adventures

Sometimes when fragrant summer dusk comes in with scent of rose and musk
  And scatters from their sable husk the stars like yellow grain,
Oh then the ancient longing comes that lures me like a roll of drums
  To follow where the cricket strums his banjo in the lane.

And when the August moon comes up and like a shallow silver cup
  Pours out upon the fields and roads her amber-colored beams,
A leafy whisper mounts and calls from out the forest’s moss-grown halls
  To leave the city’s somber walls and take the road of dreams.

A call that bids me rise and strip, and naked all from toe to lip
  To wander where the dewdrops drip from off the silent trees,
And where the hairly spiders spin their nets of silver, fragile-thin,
  And out to where the fields begin, like down upon the breeze.

Into a silver pool to plunge, and like a great trout wheel and lunge
  Among the lily bonnets and the stars reflected there;
With face upturned to lie afloat, with moonbeams rippling round my throat,    
  And from the slimy grasses plait a chaplet for my hair.

Then, leaping from my rustic bath, to take some winding meadow-path;
  Across the fields of aftermath to run with flying feet,
And feel the dewdrop-weighted grass that bends beneath me as I pass,
  Where solemn trees in shadowy mass beyond the highway meet.      

And, plunging deep within the woods, among the leaf-hung solitudes
  Where scarce one timid star intrudes into the breathless gloom,
Go leaping down some fern-hid way to scare the rabbits in their play,
  And see the owl, a phantom gray, drift by on silent plume.

To fling me down at length and rest upon some damp and mossy nest,      
  And hear the choir of surpliced frogs strike up a bubbling tune;
And watch, above the dreaming trees, Orion and the Hyades
  And all the stars, like golden bees around the lily-moon.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Then who can say if I have gone a-gipsying from dusk till dawn
  In company with fay and faun, where firefly-lanterns gleam?      
And have I danced on cobwebs thin to Master Locust’s mandolin —
  Or have I spent the night in bed, and was it all a dream?

Victor Starbuck (1887-1935)
from Poetry, August 1916

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

Victor Starbuck biography

Sunday, August 13, 2017

poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky /
John Sweet

poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky

in the absolute heat,
in the shadows of trees,
                              of empty houses,
this silence built from soft breezes,
from freeway traffic on the
other side of the river
this moment defined by
sunlight on chrome

by the absence of all pain

spend your lifetime buried
beneath belief and the loss of
faith becomes inevitable

dig at your flesh to try and
find the better person buried
down deep inside and all you do
                                               is bleed

John Sweet
from in the palace of dying light, 2011

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

John Sweet biography

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I would I were the glow-worm, thou the flower /
Mathilde Blind

from Love in Exile:


I would I were the glow-worm, thou the flower,
    That I might fill thy cup with glimmering light;
I would I were the bird, and thou the bower,
    To sing thee songs throughout the summer night.

I would I were a pine tree deeply rooted,
    And thou the lofty, cloud-beleaguered rock,
Still, while the blasts of heaven around us hooted,
    To cleave to thee and weather every shock.

I would I were the rill, and thou the river;
    So might I, leaping from some headlong steep,
With all my waters lost in thine for ever,
    Be hurried onwards to the unfathomed deep.

I would – what would I not? O foolish dreaming!
    My words are but as leaves by autumn shed,
That, in the faded moonlight idly gleaming,
    Drop on the grave where all our love lies dead.

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mathilde Blind biography