Saturday, June 24, 2017

Spring Day / Marion Strobel

Spring Day

I felt a fool
When you caught me smiling at myself
In the oval mirror;
But later in the day
A six-legged bug,      
Taking ten minutes to climb across
The muscles of my arm,
Convinced me of my greatness.

Marion Strobel (1895-1967)
from Poetry, March 1920

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

Marion Strobel biography

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Only a Dad / Edgar Guest

Only a Dad

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Edgar Guest (1881-1959)
from A Heap o' Livin', 1916

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

Edgar Guest biography

Friday, June 16, 2017

June in the City / John Reed

June in the City

This rock-rimmed Northern land is ringed with bloom;
Each night the warm sky hovers soft and low
Above young strolling lovers — and I know
That on far beaches drives the sea-salt spume.

Oh for a strength of flowering to thrust
Green leaves up through this iron city street!
Brown thrushes in the twilight, and a sweet
Clean wind to sweep the dim stars free from dust!

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

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

John Reed biography

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dusk in June / Sara Teasdale

Dusk in June

Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.

The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,–
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
from Rivers to the Sea, 1915

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June (In Rotten Row) / J. Ashby-Sterry


In Rotten Row, 'tis nice, you know,
To see the tide of Fashion flow!
     Though hopeless cynics carp and croon —
     I do not care one macaroon —
But love to watch the passing show!

You'll find it anything but slow,
To laugh and chaff with those you know;
     And pleasant then to sit at noon,
          In Rotten Row!

When Summer breezes whisper low,
And countless riders come and go;
     Beneath the trees in leafy June,
     I love to sit and muse and moon —
While beauties canter to and fro —
          In Rotten Row!

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Song for Spring / F.S. Flint

A Song for Spring 

Out of the verdure of my heart
Has broken the bloom.

The Spring has come from her house of gloom,
In her robes of green with the purfled hem
Of all the flowers, and on her hair
Of all the flowers a diadem.
She has wrought with ardour and dainty craft
Blossom of apple, blossom of pear,–
With warp of the moon and weft of the sun
She has spun the flowers,
And dipped them every one
In vats of radiant delicate dye,–
She has spun in the loom of earth and sky,
With a spindle of rain, to the song of the wind.

I have seen her with her sheaf pass by
And scatter my garden with narcissi;
I have seen her fling her daffodils
In a burning cirque about the hills;
And as I lay and watched she stooped
And blew with her breath the buds apart
That hid in the verdure of my heart.

I think of all the covered roots;
I think of the boughs and the leaves on them;
I think of the day when first she came
With a song along the alley of laurels,
A girl with hair of amber flame,
Who woke the blossom in my heart.

F.S. Flint (1885-1960)
from In the Net of the Stars, 1909

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Vision of June / Alexander Posey

A Vision of June

At last, my white Narcissus is in bloom;
     Each blossom sheds a wondrous fragrance. Lo!
     From over bleak December's waste of snow,
In summer garments, lightly thro' the gloom,
Comes June to claim the truant in my room;
     With her the airs of sunny meadows come,
     And in the apple boughs I hear the hum
Of bees; in all the valleys, brooks resume,
'Twixt greening banks, their mumurous melody;
The sunlight bursts in splendor in the blue,
And soon the narrow walls confining me
Recede into the distance from my view;
     My spirit in the summer's largeness grows,
     And every thorn is hidden by the rose.

Alexander Posey (1873-1908)
from Poems, 1910

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Alexander Posey biography

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / May 2017

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

  1.  Rondeau: An April Day, W.M. McKeracher
  2.  April (An April Day), J. Ashby-Sterry
  3.  A May Song, Violet Fane
  4.  Spring Morning, A.E. Housman
  5.  April Madness, Charles Hanson Towne
  6.  Le Sacre du Printemps, W.J. Turner
  7.  April Fool's Day, Will E. Cowles
A little madness in the Spring, Emily Dickinson
  9.  Ode, Richard West

10.  To the Same (Philoclea), Robert Potter

11.  Easter Evening, James Church Alvord
Return of Spring, Pierre de Ronsard
13.  May (A Private View), J. Ashby-Sterry
14.  Mother o' Mine, Rudyard Kipling
15.  With a Copy of Herrick, Edmund Gosse
16.  shanghai, David Rutkowski
17.  Slow Spring, Katharine Tynan
18.  Beneath Apple Boughs, Lee Wilson Dodd
19.  A sweet exhaustion seems to hold, Aubrey de Vere
20.  May, Christina Rossetti

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A sweet exhaustion seems to hold / Aubrey de Vere


A sweet exhaustion seems to hold
  In spells of calm the shrouded eve:
The gorse itself a beamless gold
  Puts forth: yet nothing seems to grieve.

The dewy chaplets hang on air;      
  The willowy fields are silver-grey;
Sad odours wander here and there;
  And yet we feel that it is May.

Relaxed and with a broken flow
  From dripping bowers low carols swell      
In mellower, glassier tones, as though
  They mounted through a bubbling well.

The crimson orchis scarce sustains
  Upon its drenched and drooping spire
The burden of the warm soft rains;      
  The purple hills grow nigh and nigher.

Nature, suspending lovely toils,
  On expectations lovelier broods,
Listening, with lifted hand, while coils
  The flooded rivulet through the woods.      

She sees, drawn out in vision clear,
  A world with summer radiance drest
And all the glories of that year
  Still sleeping in her sacred breast.

Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814-1902)
from May Carols, 1867

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Slow Spring / Katharine Tynan

Slow Spring

As the day lengthens, the year strengthens.
     Strengthen, young year!
Grow strong and handsome, gallant and winsome,
     Comely and dear.

Gray days shall hold you, sweet days shall fold you,
     Till there shall come
The wind-flowers dancing, the tulips glancing,
     The swallows home.

The nests not yet in the grass are set
     For larks in the sky
To love you madly and hail you gladly,
     Hail you and die.

The rose-tree shows not a trace of the rose
     That shall crown your head.
The leaves are furled in a silent world
     Till your word be said.

O year, grow slowly. Exquisite, holy,
     The days go on
With almonds showing the pink stars blowing
     And birds in the dawn.

Grow slowly, year, like a child that is dear,
   Or a lamb that is mild,
By little steps, and by little skips,
   Like a lamb or a child.

Katharine Tynan (1861-1931)
from Poems, 1901

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

With a Copy of Herrick / Edmund Gosse

With a Copy of Herrick

Fresh with all airs of woodland brooks
      And scents of showers,
Take to your haunt of holy books
      This saint of flowers.

When meadows burn with budding May,
      And heaven is blue,
Before his shrine our prayers we say,—
      Saint Robin true.

Love crowned with thorns is on his staff,—
      Thorns of sweet briar;  
His benediction is a laugh,
      Birds are his choir.

His sacred robe of white and red
      Unction distils;
He hath a nimbus round his head  
      Of daffodils.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
from Firdausi in Exile, and other poems, 1885

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

Edmund Gosse biography

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beneath Apple Boughs / Lee Wilson Dodd

Beneath Apple Boughs


Cool green and paling blue,
     Leaves patterned on the sky,
Blossoms in pomp of May,
     Stirred as a breeze sifts through
Stealing their souls away.
     Now one by one they fly . . .
     Blossom or butterfly? . . .
Showering me as I lie,
A nympholept of the day.


The sloping orchard leads
     Down to the valley fields;
Far hills are faint in the haze
Of languid light. As I gaze
     The vision wavers and yields
To a flitting dream,
     And I seem to hear
A ripple of voices or else a stream
     That bubbles near.
Then I wake and study the weeds
     A foot from my nose;
     Then I doze
And the ripple of dream succeeds.


Bees are busy above me,
     Droning with sleepy toil ;
From blossom to blossom, from tree to tree
          They slant:
          At my ear a fidgety ant
     Tickles his way till I suddenly foil
     His explorations; the sun like oil,
Clear as amber, drips from the leaves.
A riotous bobolink deceives
With a glory of song, as though a dozen
Warbled together, cousin and cousin!


Cool green and paling blue,
     Blossoms in pomp of May,
Slow sunlight drizzling through
     Dreaming the noon away
I smile to the patterned sky;
Blossom — or butterfly? —
Showering me as I lie
With languid vision that yields to a dream
Of liquid voices and laughing stream.


To-day I have taken ease —
All the antient liberties —
With my brothers the apple-trees!
     I have felt their sap in my veins;
My thoughts like blossoms have been
Lucidly fair — without sin.
I go home with the evening breeze,
     But the calm of noon remains.

Lee Wilson Dodd (1879-1933)
from A Modern Alchemist, and other poems, 1906

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

Lee Wilson Dodd biography

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother o' Mine / Rudyard Kipling

Mother o' Mine

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from The Light that Failed, 1892

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

Rudyard Kipling biography

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May (A Private View) / J. Ashby-Sterry


A private view? 'Tis plain to you,
'Tis neither "private" nor a "view"!
     And yet for tickets people rush,
     To mingle in the well-dressed crush,
And come and wonder who is who.

The beauties, poets, actors, too,
With patrons, painters — not a few,
     Are elements that help to flush
          A Private View.

The pictures, you can't hope to do;
You're angered by the "precious" crew,
     And pallid maids who flop and gush.
     While carping critics who cry "Tush!"
And wildly wrangle, make you rue
          A Private View.

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A May Song / Violet Fane

A May Song

A little while my love and I,
  Before the mowing of the hay,
Twined daisy-chains and cowslip-balls,
And caroll’d glees and madrigals,
  Before the hay, beneath the may,
My love (who loved me then) and I.

For long years now my love and I
  Tread sever’d paths to varied ends;
We sometimes meet, and sometimes say
The trivial things of every day,      
  And meet as comrades, meet as friends,
My love (who loved me once) and I.

But never more my love and I
  Will wander forth, as once, together,
Or sing the songs we used to sing    
  In spring-time, in the cloudless weather:
Some chord is mute that used to ring,
  Some word forgot we used to say
  Amongst the may, before the hay,
My love (who loves me not) and I.

Violet Fane 
from Collected Verses, 1880

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Violet Fane biography

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Ode / Richard West


Dear Gray, that always in my heart
Posseses far the better part,
What mean these sudden blasts that rise
And drive the Zephyrs from the skies?
O join with mine the tuneful lay,
And invocate the tardy May.

Come, fairest Nymph, resume thy reign!
Bring all the Graces in thy train!
With balmy breath, and flowery tread,
Rise from thy soft ambrosial bed;
Where, in elysian slumber bound,
Embow'ring myrtles veil thee round.

Awake, in all thy glories drest,
Recall the Zephyrs from the west;
Restore th sun, revive the skies,
At mine, and Nature's call, arise!
Great Nature's self upbraids thy stay,
And misses her accustomed May.

See! all her works demand thy aid,
The labours of Pomona fade:
A plaint is heard from ev'ry tree;
Each budding flow'ret calls for thee;
The Birds forget to love and sing;
With storms alone the forests ring.

Come then, with Pleasure at thy side,
Diffuse the vernal spirit wide;
Create, where'er thou turn'st thy eye,
Peace, Plenty, Love, and Harmony;
Till ev'ry being share its part,
And Heav'n and Earth be glad at heart.

Richard West (1716-1742)
(translated from the Greek of Posidippus)
from Poetical Works, 1782

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Monday, May 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / April 2017

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

  1.  Easter Evening, James Church Alvord
  2.  The Branch, AE Reiff
  3.  Easter Ode, Paul Laurence Dunbar
  4.  April Madness, Charles Hanson Towne
  5.  Le Sacre du Printemps, W.J. Turner
  6.  April Fool's Day, Will E. Cowles
  7.  A little madness in the Spring, Emily Dickinson
  8.  To a Fair Young Lady, John Dryden

  9.  Spring Morning, A.E. Housman

10.  March (O Wind of March), J. Ashby-Sterry

11.  I So Liked Spring, Charlotte Mew
Winter Heavens, George Meredith
13.  Awake, Thou Spring, Thomas Campion
14.  Six O'Clock, Trumbull Stickney
15.  Canadian Folk-song, William Wilfred Campbell
16.  The Housewife: Winter Afternoon, Karle Wilson Baker
17.  Dirty Spring, Edward Sapir
18.  March, William Morris
19.  Return of Spring, Pierre de Ronsard
20.  March in Tryon, Florence D. Snelling

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rondeau: An April Day / W.M. MacKeracher

Rondeau: An April Day

An April day, when skies are blue,
And earth rejoices to renew
     Her vernal youth by lawn and lea,
     And sap mounts upward in the tree,
And ruddy buds come bursting through;

When violets of tender hue
And trilliums keep the morning dew
     Through all the sweet forenoon give me
          An April day;

When surly Winter's roystering crew
Have said the last of their adieux,
     And left the fettered river free,
     And buoyant hope and ecstasy
Of life awake, my wants are few:
          An April day.

W.M. MacKeracher
from Sonnets, and other verse, 1909

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

W.M. MacKeracher biography

Saturday, April 29, 2017

April (An April Day) / J. Ashby-Sterry


An April Day, so fresh and bright —
('Twill rain, I'm sure, before the night!)
     We've done with Winter blasts unkind —
     (Don't leave your mackintosh behind,
'Twould be a fatal oversight!)

In Spring-like garb we'll go bedight —
('Tis sure to rain, just out of spite!
     And most perplexing you will find,
          An April Day!)

The sky is blue, the clouds are light —
(I trust your Gamp is water-tight!)
     To sing and laugh we feel inclined —
     (Here comes a storm of rain and wind
And hail, that's quite enough to blight
          An April Day!)

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Morning / A.E. Housman

Spring Morning

Star and coronal and bell
  April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
  Flowers among the morning dews.

Now the old come out to look,
  Winter past and winter's pains,
How the sky in pool and brook
  Glitters on the grassy plains.

Easily the gentle air
  Wafts the turning season on;
Things to comfort them are there,
  Though 'tis true the best are gone.

Now the scorned unlucky lad
  Rousing from his pillow gnawn
Mans his heart and deep and glad
  Drinks the valiant air of dawn.

Half the night he longed to die,
  Now are sown on hill and plain
Pleasures worth his while to try
  Ere he longs to die again.

Blue the sky from east to west
  Arches, and the world is wide,
Though the girl he loves the best
  Rouses from another's side.

A.E. Housman (1859-1936)
from Last Poems, 1922

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

To a Fair Young Lady / John Dryden

To a Fair Young Lady, Going out of Town in the Spring

Ask not the cause why sullen Spring
  So long delays her flowers to bear;
Why warbling birds forget to sing,
  And winter storms invert the year:
Chloris is gone; and fate provides      
To make it Spring where she resides.

Chloris is gone, the cruel fair;
  She cast not back a pitying eye:
But left her lover in despair
To sigh, to languish, and to die:
Ah! how can those fair eyes endure
To give the wounds they will not cure?

Great God of Love, why hast thou made
  A face that can all hearts command,
That all religions can invade,
  And change the laws of every land?
Where thou hadst plac'd such power before,
  Thou shouldst have made her mercy more.

When Chloris to the temple comes,
  Adoring crowds before her fall;
She can restore the dead from tombs
  And every life but mine recall.
I only am by Love design'd
To be the victim for mankind.

John Dryden (1631-1700)
from Examen Poeticum, 1693

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Dryden biography

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Ode / Paul Laurence Dunbar

Easter Ode

To the cold, dark grave they go
Silently and sad and slow,
From the light of happy skies
And the glance of mortal eyes.
In their beds the violets spring,
And the brook flows murmuring;
But at eve the violets die,
And the brook in sand runs dry.

In the rosy, blushing morn,
See, the smiling babe is born;
For a day it lives, and then
Breathes its short life out again.
And anon gaunt-visaged Death,
With his keen and icy breath,
Bloweth out the vital fire
In the hoary-headed sire.

Heeding not the children's wail,
Fathers droop and mothers fail;
Sinking sadly from each other,
Sister parts from loving brother.
All the land is filled with wailing,
Sounds of mourning garments trailing,
With their sad portent imbued,
Making melody subdued.

But in all this depth of woe
This consoling truth we know:
There will come a time of rain,
And the brook will flow again;
Where the violet fell, 'twill grow,
When the sun has chased the snow.
See in this the lesson plain,
Mortal man shall rise again.

Well the prophecy was kept;
Christ "first fruit of them that slept"
Rose with vic'try-circled brow;
So, believing one, shalt thou.
Ah! but there shall come a day
When, unhampered by this clay,
Souls shall rise to life newborn
On that resurrection morn.

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Paul Laurence Dunbar biography

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Evening / James Church Alvord

Easter Evening

Walking through woodlands and oncoming night
I saw His hair stream in the sky-line’s red,
I heard His footsteps on the path which led
Out from the naked trees; while golden light
Shook from His seamless robe, that, rimpling, slight  
As woof of dream-stuff, flamed across the bed
Of some low-gurgling brook. He was not dead —
His risen presence was a world’s delight.

It was the magic of a night too fleet
That filled the valley with a foam of mist;    
The scorch of cloud-banks that the sun still kissed,
And crunch of crinkled leaves beneath my feet.
I’d offer every breath I’ve yet to breathe,
Just to believe, O Master — to believe!

James Church Alvord
from Poetry, April 1917

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

James Church Alvord biography

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Branch / AE Reiff

The Branch

the Lord of All
descended into flesh,
came through the
 million worlds
into the one
of mercy,
unlike the prism that divides the ray,
undiffused, he came into the body's clay,
the Son
of the
the Son, the
Our world
has been
by his being
no extra-
his human body
shaped it to a tree 
that roots in wisdom
but whose beauty's trunk
to the earth sphere a branch extended,
on that tree the Lord Beauteous hung suspended,
and then we were enabled to receive him.

AE Reiff, 2016

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

Encouragements for Planting

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April Madness / Charles Hanson Towne

April Madness

There is a time when the young Year
Goes mad with very ecstasy;
When all the rapture of the world
Is crushed in one wild melody.

It is the hour when April comes
With silver flute and virelay,
With magic pipe and madrigal,
And sings her happy heart away.

The bloom and wonder of the Spring
Are vocal on her golden tongue;
The soul of Music comes to earth,
And life, and love, and joy are young.

Join, O my heart, in this wild song;
The jocund April sets you free.
Drink the old wine of her new days —
Go mad with very ecstasy!

Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949)
from Beyond the Stars, and other poems, 1913

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

Charles Hanson Towne biography

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Le Sacre du Printemps / W.J. Turner

Le Sacre du Printemps

Spring trembles on the hills and though the earth
Is grey and dark with silence and dim rains
Long bands of red and yellow ochre lie
Like corybants enswathed in vivid sashes
Under the soil that's fragrant with their presence.
The Winter widow-stolèd, grey and white,
Leans across hill and valley pensively
Weeping to leave those quiet, sober plains
Where gentle melancholy drapes her robes
In cloud and dripping wood. She is not mute,
But all her soul is gentle; reverie
In tracts of cool rain-washed reflected light
Is more delectable to her than songs
Of any passion. When, dismayed, she hears
That note of longing bubbling to the sky
Shiv'ring she turns, retires with decent train
And leaves the earth all breathless, panting hard.
Quickened with such mad trembling ecstasy
Those corybants arise, yellow and red,
And shake their vivid sashes o'er the land;
The world holds breath a moment; then they dance,
Dance madly, whirling millions springing up
Tossing slim heads, their naked beauty bare
Intoxicating the blue laughing sky
To foam imagination — Cumuli,
Cloud-white creations frothed in empty space,
So insubstantial, of such dream-like weight
That if they moved they'd vanish. Then Desire
That sucks a wraith-like beauty visible
From nothingness, and out of ordure vile
Summons bright Forms to press against the wind
Their all-too-fleeting Symmetry,
Wakes in the hearts of men and scatters seeds
Of poignant loveliness so sweet, so rare
That springing up in some far-distant time
The world will dance in sharper ecstasy,
Flowers will be taller, cities hang like blooms
Upon the breast of earth, and men and women,
Like Gods in dazzling beauty, arm in arm,
White flesh to white flesh, bathe in sapphire seas
And rapturously hunt the spirit's jewel.
Green gleam of mariners that beckons far
More beautiful than purple-furrowed oceans
Or emerald isles — but hidden in their eyes
So that they never find its dwelling-place
Or cry Eureka! resting on their oars.

W.J. Turner (1889-1946)
from The Hunter, and other poems, 1916

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

W.J. Turner biography

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A little Madness in the Spring / Emily Dickinson

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown –
Who ponders this tremendous scene –
This whole Experiment of Green –
As if it were his own!

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
circa 1875

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Fool's Day / Will E. Cowles

April Fool's Day

Talk about yer Chris'masses
Fourth o' Julys and cirkusses —
They ain't in it for the real fun
That's to be had on April one;
Even Hallowe'en is very tame
To April first — that's if yer game.

I think that April first must be
Ind'pendence Day fer kids like me,
When we kin play all sorts of jokes
And not be punished by our folks —
Though pa, he says, in a threat'nin' way:
"Bill, no nonsense from you today!"

When Jim's pants legs are found sewed up;
When ma of coffee takes a sup
And finds the sugar tastes like salt —
I say, quite inn'cent, "Taint my fault."
They frown and say, half-scold, half-laugh,
"This here is some of Willie's chaff."

The teacher has her troubles too
(You know what mischeevous boys can do).
But when I hollered "April Fool!"
She kept me in long after school.
I didn't care much for I knew
She wasn't game — like me or you.

Say, you look as though you might
Know how a boy 'd feel at night,
As though a big day's work was done,
And how he'd fooled 'em all — 'cept one —
For pa, he'd said to me, one side,
"Don't ye fool Me, 'r I'll tan yer hide!"

Will E. Cowles
from The Globe, April 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Penny's Top 20 / March 2017

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

  1.  Winter Heavens, George Meredith
  2.  I So Liked Spring, Charlotte Mew
  3.  Dirty Spring, Edward Sapir
  4.  March, William Morris
  5.  March (O Wind of March), J. Ashby-Sterry
  6.  March in Tryon, Florence D. Snelling
  7.  Return of Spring, Pierre de Ronsard
Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  9.  Awake, Thou Spring, Thomas Campion

10.  Bird CageHector de Saint-Denys Garneau  

11.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens 
Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
13.  Evil / Le Mal, Arthur Rimbaud
14.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
15.  Spleen, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
16.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
17.  I heard a bird sing, Oliver Hereford
18.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence 
19.  Horatian Ode 1.9, Charles Stuart Calverley
20. Autumn, T.E. Hulme

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I So Liked Spring / Charlotte Mew

I So Liked Spring

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;–
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing,–
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928), 1923

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Return of Spring / Pierre de Ronsard

Return of Spring

God shield ye, heralds of the spring!
Ye faithful swallows, fleet of wing,
    Houps, cuckoos, nightingales,
Turtles, and every wilder bird,
That make your hundred chirpings heard    
    Through the green woods and dales.

God shield ye, Easter daisies all,
Fair roses, buds, and blossoms small,
    And he whom erst the gore
Of Ajax and Narciss did print,      
Ye wild thyme, anise, balm, and mint,
    I welcome ye once more!

God shield ye, bright embroidered train
Of butterflies, that on the plain
    Of each sweet herblet sip;      
And ye, new swarms of bees, that go
Where the pink flowers and yellow grow
    To kiss them with your lip!

A hundred thousand times I call
A hearty welcome on ye all!      
    This season how I love —
This merry din on every shore —
For winds and storms, whose sullen roar
    Forbade my steps to rove.

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585)
translated by Henry Francis Cary (1772-1844)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Awake, thou Spring / Thomas Campion

Awake, thou Spring

Awake, thou spring of speaking grace, mute rest becomes not thee!
The fairest women, while they sleep, and pictures, equal be.
O come and dwell in love's discourses,
     Old renewing, new creating.
The words which thy rich tongue discourses,
     Are not of the common rating!

Thy voice is as an Echo clear, which Music doth beget,
Thy speech is as an Oracle, which none can counterfeit:
For thou alone, without offending,
     Hast obtained power of enchanting;
And I could hear thee without ending,
     Other comfort never wanting.

Some little reason brutish lives with human glory share;
But language is our proper grace, from which they sever'd are.
As brutes in reason man surpasses,
     Men in speech excell each other:
If speech be then the best of graces,
     Do it not in slumber smother!

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
from The Third and Fourth Book of Ayres, 1617

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thomas Campion biography

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dirty Spring / Edward Sapir

Dirty Spring

The streets are filled with muck,
A dirty mess of melting snow and mud,
Splashing recklessly
As heavy-footed horses trot along.
Down from the snow-encrusted roofs
An icy dirty trickle pelts the pavement,
Little splashes mid the universal splash.
And the sky is blotched with dirty-gray cloudlets
Speeding under the sun.
The porches dribble with wet and they gently steam
Where the sun, piercing the dirty cloudlets,
Can cook them.
An irritated wind blows intermittently,
Banging doors, scattering wisps, napping capes and skirts.

The snow-locked beauty of winter is gone,
The rigors are loosening up;
Clean summer's not here yet.
The city moves from cleanly cold to cleanly warmth
Immersed in dirt.

Therefore, my friends, take heart!
You must not despair
When the passage from old to new is dirty;
When you ve left the old realm of glittering cold
And have not yet reached the new realm of glistening warmth;
When dead tradition is back of you,
When the new-born promise is off ahead of you,
And you struggle and splash in a welter of mud.

Edward Sapir (1884-1939)
from Dreams and Gibes, 1917

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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March / William Morris


Slayer of winter, art thou here again?
O welcome, thou that bring’st the summer nigh!
The bitter wind makes not thy victory vain,
Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky.
Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dry
Make April ready for the throstle’s song,
Thou first redresser of the winter’s wrong!

Yea, welcome March! and though I die ere June,
Yet for the hope of life I give thee praise,
Striving to swell the burden of the tune
That even now I hear thy brown birds raise,
Unmindful of the past or coming days;
Who sing, “O joy! a new year is begun!
What happiness to look upon the sun!”

O, what begetteth all this storm of bliss,
But Death himself, who, crying solemnly,
Even from the heart of sweet Forgetfulness,
Bids us, “Rejoice! lest pleasureless ye die.
Within a little time must ye go by.
Stretch forth your open hands, and, while ye live,
Take all the gifts that Death and Life may give.”

William Morris (1834-1896)
from The Earthly Paradise, 1870

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Morris biography

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March (O Wind of March) - J. Ashby-Sterry

from The Social Zodiac:


O Wind of March! O biting breeze!
It nips the nose and nips the trees;
     It whirls with fury down the street,
     It makes us flee in quick retreat,
And gives us cold and makes us sneeze!

It makes us cough and choke and wheeze,
With painful back and aching knees;
     With dire discomfort 'tis replete,
          O Wind of March!

Our hands we're glad enough to squeeze,
In cuffs and muffs and muffatees;
     'Tis charged with blinding, cutting sleet,
     It spoils our temper, chills our feet,
And brings the Doctor lots of fees —
          O Wind of March!

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March in Tryon / Florence D. Snelling

March in Tryon


In the sweet March morning
  On the upland road
Sunshine and Blue Moth
  And I were abroad.

Like a voice the Silence   
  Where old leaves lay dead:
“Make straight a highway
  For the Spring!” it said.


O East, there still are stars (a sign for sleep!)
  Like daffodils in a dark garden springing,
While the white moon slips down that other deep
  Of West, with low clouds clinging.
We wake for day, my armored-pine and I,
But only Watchman Wind goes lightly by,
  His “All’s well!” singing.


I have listened, O wind —
I must go.
The valleys below
Into blossom are breaking,
But snow
I shall find
On the way I am taking,
I know.

Level lands become steep,
Rough with stone.
There goes none
On this journey uncharted,
Save one
Who will keep
To the heights joyous-hearted,

I have felt thee, O wind,
Out of space
Touch my face.
There shall be no returning.
New ways
Feet must find,
And the slow lips be learning
New praise.

Florence D. Snelling 
from Poetry, March 1919

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

Florence D. Snelling biography

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Winter Heavens / George Meredith

Winter Heavens

Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home
More than the nest whereto apace we strive.
Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive,
In swarms outrushing from the golden comb.
They waken waves of thoughts that burst to foam:
The living throb in me, the dead revive.
Yon mantle clothes us: there, past mortal breath,
Life glistens on the river of the death.
It folds us, flesh and dust; and have we knelt,
Or never knelt, or eyed as kine the springs
Of radiance, the radiance enrings:
And this is the soul’s haven to have felt.

George Meredith (1828-1909)
from A Reading of Earth, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

George Meredith biography

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / February 2017

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

  1.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens 
  2.  Six O'Clock, Trumbull Stickney
  3.  A Game of Chess, Mortimer Collins
  4.  Sonnet for the 14th of February, Thomas Hood
  5.  To the Same (Philoclea), Robert Potter
  6.  February in Rome, Edmund Gosse
  7.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  8.  The Housewife: Winter Afternoon, Karle Wilson Baker

  9.  February, Ralph Hodgson

10.  February (Saint Valentine), J. Ashby-Sterry

11.  Canadian Folk-Song, William Wilfred Campbell
Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
13.  The Journey of the Magi, T.S. Eliot
14.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
15.  Portrait, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
16.  Evil / Le Mal, Arthur Rimbaud
17.  Men Made out of Words, Wallace Stevens
18.  Bird CageHector de Saint-Denys Garneau 
19.  White Sands Meet the Blue/Green Sea, Jeanne Ames
20. Autumn, T.E. Hulme

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Canadian Folk-Song / William Wilfred Campbell

Canadian Folk-Song

The doors are shut, the windows fast,
Outside the gust is driving past,
Outside the shivering ivy clings,
While on the hob the kettle sings.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,      
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

The streams are hushed up where they flowed,
The ponds are frozen along the road,
The cattle are housed in shed and byre
While singeth the kettle on the fire.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

The fisherman on the bay in his boat
Shivers and buttons up his coat;
The traveller stops at the tavern door,  
And the kettle answers the chimney’s roar.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

The firelight dances upon the wall,
Footsteps are heard in the outer hall;  
A kiss and a welcome that fill the room,
And the kettle sings in the glimmer and gloom.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

William Wilfred Campbell (1860-1918)
from Snowflakes and Sunbeams, 1888

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