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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

There Was a Time / George J. Dance

There Was a Time

There was a time my love and I
Would lie upon the summer grass,
To watch the white clouds wander by
In heaven, and their shadows pass.

The sun poured down like honey then,
The breezes cooled like morning dew,
And life was more magnificent
Than either of us ever knew.

My love was once like sparkling wine
And now she tastes of wholesome bread,
Her flavors faded – so have mine –
But we are both completely fed.

It's quite enough that she is here
Beside me every hour and day,
But more than that, each passing year,
There's time to take my love away

Into a meadow, where we'll lie
Together on the summer grass,
To watch the white clouds wander by
In heaven, and the shadows pass.

George J. Dance, 2017

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

George J. Dance biography

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Bright Extensive Will / AE Reiff

The Bright Extensive Will

                         For Beatrice

As starry seas are caught up into clouds
To whirl Earth's sphere throughout all time,
Through space and out, where rising in a shroud
They roll the bright extensive will to find
Their will to fall again in showers, so crowds
Descending off the wheel give misty signs
Of life, and sons of Elohim who bow
From out the sky, concentrated and blind
In all their beams, then enter creation.
As though one could with the word written
In earth's center in the matter of its making,
As earth's heart was into pieces breaking,
Come into the body. Then wars should cease,
And earth, all surface, sky and core, find peace.

AE Reiff, 2017

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

Encouragements for Planting

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / July 2017

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

  1.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  2.  London in July, Amy Levy
  3.  I Like Canadians, Ernest Hemingway
  4.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  5.  Dialogue of the Earth and Flower, Richard Oakley
  6.  Lying in the Grass, Edmund Gosse
  7.  The Dyke, John Frederic Herbin
  8.  Summer Days, Wathen Call
  9.  In a Garden, Radclyffe Hall

Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 

11.  A Summer Night, AE 
12.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
13.  A Summer Day, Henry Charles Beeching

14.  Life is but a Dream, Lewis Carroll
15.  July (On Henley Bridge), J. Ashby-Sterry
16.  Round the Mercury, George J. Dance
17.  June, Margaret Deland
18.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
19.  Between the dusk of a summer night, W.E. Henley
20.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July (On Henley Bridge) / J. Ashby-Sterry


On Henley Bridge, in sweet July,
A gentle breeze, a cloudless sky!
     Indeed it is a pleasant place,
     To watch the oarsmen go the pace,
As gasping crowds go roaring by.

And O, what dainty maids you spy,
What tasteful toilets you descry,
     What symphonies in frills and lace,
          On Henley Bridge!

But if you find a luncheon nigh —
A mayonnaise, a toothsome pie —
     The chance you'll hasten to embrace!
     You'll soon forget about the Race,
And take your Giesler cool and dry —
          On Henley Bridge!

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Saturday, July 29, 2017

London in July / Amy Levy

London in July

What ails my senses thus to cheat?
     What is it ails the place,
That all the people in the street
     Should wear one woman's face?

The London trees are dusty-brown
     Beneath the summer sky;
My love, she dwells in London town,
     Nor leaves it in July.

O various and intricate maze,
     Wide waste of square and street;
Where, missing through unnumbered days.
     We twain at last may meet!

And who cries out on crowd and mart?
     Who prates of stream and sea ?
The summer in the city's heart —
     That is enough for me.

Amy Levy (1861-1889)
from A London Plane-tree, and other verse, 1889

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Amy Levy biography

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Summer Night / AE

A Summer Night

Her mist of primroses within her breast
Twilight hath folded up, and o'er the west,
Seeking remoter valleys long hath gone,
Not yet hath come her sister of the dawn.
Silence and coolness now the earth enfold,
Jewels of glittering green, long mists of gold,
Hazes of nebulous silver veil the height,
And shake in tremors through the shadowy night.
Heard through the stillness, as in whispered words,
The wandering God-guided wings of birds
Ruffle the dark. The little lives that lie
Deep hid in grass join in a long-drawn sigh
More softly still; and unheard through the blue
The falling of innumerable dew
Lifts with grey fingers all the leaves that lay
Burned in the heat of the consuming day.
The lawns and lakes lie in this night of love,
Admitted to the majesty above.
Earth with the starry company hath part;
The waters hold all heaven within their heart,
And glimmer o'er with wave-lips everywhere
Lifted to meet the angel lips of air.
The many homes of men shine near and far,
Peace-laden as the tender evening star,
The late home-coming folk anticipate
Their rest beyond the passing of the gate,
And tread with sleep-filled hearts and drowsy feet.
Oh, far away and wonderful and sweet
All this, all this. But far too many things
Obscuring, as a cloud of seraph wings
Blinding the seeker for the Lord behind,
I fall away in weariness of mind,
And think how far apart are I and you,
Beloved, from those spirit children who
Felt but one single Being long ago,
Whispering in gentleness and leaning low
Out of its majesty, as child to child.
I think upon it all with heart grown wild,
Hearing no voice, howe'er my spirit broods,
No whisper from the dense infinitudes,
This world of myriad things whose distance awes.
Ah me; how innocent our childhood was!

AE (George William Russell, 1867-1935)
from The Divine Vision, and other poems, 1904

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Summer Day / Henry Charles Beeching

A Summer Day 

Green leaves panting for joy with the great wind rushing through;
  A burst of the sun from cloud and a sparkle on valley and hill,
  Gold on the corn, and red on the poppy, and on the rill
Silver, and over all white clouds afloat in the blue.

Swallows that dart, a lark unseen, innumerous song
  Chirruped and twittered, a lowing of cows in the meadow grass,
  Murmuring gnats, and bees that suck their honey and pass:
God is alive, and at work in the world:— we did it wrong.

Human eyes, and human hands, and a human face
  Darkly beheld before in a vision, not understood,
Do I at last begin to feel as I stand and gaze
  Why God waited for this, then called the world very good?

Henry Charles Beeching (1859-1919)
from Love's Looking Glass, 1891

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

Henry Charles Beeching biography

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Days / Wathen Call

Summer Days

In summer, when the days were long,
We walk’d, two friends, in field and wood;
Our heart was light, our step was strong,
And life lay round us, fair as good,
In summer, when the days were long.

We stray’d from morn till evening came,
We gather’d flowers, and wove us crowns;
We walk’d mid poppies red as flame,
Or sat upon the yellow downs,
And always wish’d our life the same.

In summer, when the days were long,
We leap’d the hedgerow, cross’d the brook;
And still her voice flow’d forth in song,
Or else she read some graceful book,
In summer, when the days were long.

And then we sat beneath the trees,
With shadows lessening in the noon;
And in the sunlight and the breeze
We revell’d, many a glorious June,
While larks were singing o’er the leas.

In summer, when the days were long,
We pluck’d wild strawberries, ripe and red,
Or feasted, with no grace but song,
On golden nectar, snow-white bread,
In summer, when the days were long.

We lov’d, and yet we knew it not,
For loving seem’d like breathing then;
We found a heaven in every spot;
Saw angels, too, in all good men,
And dream’d of gods in grove and grot.

In summer, when the days are long,
Alone I wander, muse alone;
I see her not, but that old song
Under the fragrant wind is blown,
In summer, when the days are long.

Alone I wander in the wood,
But one fair spirit hears my sighs;
And half I see the crimson hood,
The radiant hair, the calm glad eyes,
That charm’d me in life’s summer mood.

In summer, when the days are long,
I love her as I lov’d of old;
My heart is light, my step is strong,
For love brings back those hours of gold,
In summer, when the days are long.

Wathen Call (1817-1890) 
from A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895, 1895 

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Wathen Call biography

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lying in the Grass / Edmund Gosse

Lying in the Grass

Between two golden tufts of summer grass,
I see the world through hot air as through glass,
And by my face sweet lights and colors pass.

Before me, dark against the fading sky,
I watch three mowers mowing, as I lie:
With brawny arms they sweep in harmony.

Brown English faces by the sun burnt red,
Rich glowing color on bare throat and head,
My heart would leap to watch them, were I dead!

And in my strong young living as I lie,
I seem to move with them in harmony,—
A fourth is mowing, and that fourth am I.

The music of the scythes that glide and leap,
The young men whistling as their great arms sweep,
And all the perfume and sweet sense of sleep,

The weary butterflies that droop their wings,
The dreamy nightingale that hardly sings,
And all the lassitude of happy things,

Are mingling with the warm and pulsing blood
That gushes through my veins a languid flood,
And feeds my spirit as the sap a bud.

Behind the mowers, on the amber air,
A dark-green beech wood rises, still and fair,
A white path winding up it like a stair.

And see that girl, with pitcher on her head,
And clean white apron on her gown of red,—
Her even-song of love is but half-said:

She waits the youngest mower. Now he goes;
Her cheeks are redder than a wild blush-rose:
They climb up where the deepest shadows close.

But though they pass, and vanish, I am there.
I watch his rough hands meet beneath her hair,
Their broken speech sounds sweet to me like prayer.

Ah! now the rosy children come to play,
And romp and struggle with the new-mown hay;
Their clear high voices sound from far away.

They know so little why the world is sad,
They dig themselves warm graves and yet are glad;
Their muffled screams and laughter make me mad!

I long to go and play among them there;
Unseen, like wind, to take them by the hair,
And gently make their rosy cheeks more fair.

The happy children! full of frank surprise,
And sudden whims and innocent ecstasies;
What godhead sparkles from their liquid eyes!

No wonder round those urns of mingled clays
That Tuscan potters fashioned in old days,
And colored like the torrid earth ablaze,

We find the little gods and loves portrayed,
Through ancient forests wandering undismayed,
And fluting hymns of pleasure unafraid.

They knew, as I do now, what keen delight
A strong man feels to watch the tender flight
Of little children playing in his sight;

What pure sweet pleasure, and what sacred love,
Come drifting down upon us from above,
In watching how their limbs and features move.

I do not hunger for a well-stored mind;
I only wish to live my life, and find
My heart in unison with all mankind.

My life is like the single dewy star
That trembles on the horizon’s primrose-bar,—
A microcosm where all things living are.

And if, among the noiseless grasses, Death
Should come behind and take away my breath,
I should not rise as one who sorroweth;

For I should pass, but all the world would be
Full of desire and young delight and glee,
And why should men be sad through loss of me?

The light is flying; in the silver-blue
The young moon shines from her bright window through:
The mowers are all gone, and I go too.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
from On Viol and Flute, 1873

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

Edmund Gosse biography

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Dyke / John Frederic Herbin

The Dyke

From dyke to hill-side sways the level sweep
     Of all the ripened hay in mid-July;
     A tideless sea of rustling melody,
Beside the river-channels of the deep.
Astray and straggling, or in broken heap,
     Where birdlings flutter, dark the fences lie.
     Far off, the tortuous rush-grown creek is dry,
Where looms the leaning barn like ancient keep.

A Neptune cuts across the sea of green
     With chariot-music trembling to the hills;
          And as the horses swim the grass divides,
Showing to heaven where his way has been.
          The sounding wheel that bares what Natures hides
     Drowns the low nestling-cry, and ruthless kills.

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923)
from The Marshlands, 1893

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

In a Garden / Radclyffe Hall

In a Garden

In the garden a thousand roses,
     A vine of jessamine flower,
Sweetpeas in coquettish poses,
     Sweetbrier with its fragrant dower.

There are hollyhocks tall and slender,
     And marigolds gay and fair,
And sunflowers in glowing splendour,
     Geraniums rich and rare;

And the wee, white, innocent daisy,
     Half hidden amid the lawn;
A bee grown drowsy and lazy
     On honey he's drunk since dawn

Is reposing with wings extended
     On some soft, passionate rose,
Aglow with a blush more splendid
     Than ever a fair cheek knows.

While a thrush, in the ivy swinging
     That clusters over the gate,
Athrob with the spring is singing,
     And ardently calls his mate.

For the spirit of all sweet odours
     The soul of a June unborn
Has hallowed my humble garden,
     And whispered to me since dawn.

And the flowers in a prayer of rapture,
     Bent low to that spell divine,
Are wafting their sweetest incense
     In clouds, at his sunlit shrine.

Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943)
from 'Twixt Earth and Stars, 1906

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

Radclyffe Hall biography

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dialogue of the Earth and Flower / Richard Oakley

Dialogue of the Earth and Flower 

The flower grew from the green
of the Earth, under the blue
of the sky, and asked something,
“I've noticed the rainbows after
clouds cried, I've seen the birds
soaring after that storm, I've seen
man break dirt by me, and set fires
so close…”

The Earth replied, “So what is your
question, my pretty one?” The
Flower went to speak,
but stopped.

As long as he's been here, he's been
alone in this field of green grass, not
even weeds encroached his small mound
that may as well have been a mountain away
from others; he saw no other flowers.
He was alone.

He raised his heavy, petal crown;
with his seeds as eyes he saw --
and not looking at the Earth, he spoke,
"I had a dream, small flowers played
in the field at dusk, where man can't see;
and though I remained on my mound and
only could watch, I would
not feel alone."

He looked down at the Earth and wept:
his seeds of eyes, fell into the dust and
the Earth was moved and
closed its hands.

"I ask that my children grow, and are never
alone like me; I give myself for them, then
leave" at this the flower dropped his petal
crown and lay on the dust, on his mound,
and the clouds cried, and the
rainbows came.

* * *

When the children play in the field at dusk
with the soaring birds, that rose and fell
amongst the laughing, cotton clouds that
now found no time to cry: the rainbows
learned not to wait for tears to come, to
come near.

When the children's play is done, the Earth
gathers them together and tells of the lonely
flower, so beautiful and sad –
and tells of his eternal smile he sees in
their playful faces.

Richard Oakley, 2017

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I Like Canadians / Ernest Hemingway

I Like Canadians

By A Foreigner

I like Canadians.
They are so unlike Americans.
They go home at night.
Their cigarets don't smell bad.
Their hats fit.
They really believe that they won the war.
They don't believe in Literature.
They think Art has been exaggerated.
But they are wonderful on ice skates.
A few of them are very rich.
But when they are rich they buy more horses
Than motor cars.
Chicago calls Toronto a puritan town.
But both boxing and horse-racing are illegal
In Chicago.
Nobody works on Sunday.
That doesn't make me mad.
There is only one Woodbine.
But were you ever at Blue Bonnets?
If you kill somebody with a motor car in Ontario
You are liable to go to jail.
So it isn't done.
There have been over 500 people killed by motor cars
In Chicago
So far this year.
It is hard to get rich in Canada.
But it is easy to make money.
There are too many tea rooms.
But, then, there are no cabarets.
If you tip a waiter a quarter
He says "Thank you."
Instead of calling the bouncer.
They let women stand up in the street cars.
Even if they are good-looking.
They are all in a hurry to get home to supper
And their radio sets.
They are a fine people.
I like them.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Penny's Top 20 / June 2017

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

  1.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  Dusk in June, Sara Teasdale
  3.  June in the City, John Reed
  4.  June, Margaret Deland
  5.  June (In Rotten Row), J. Ashby-Sterry
  6.  Only a Dad, Edgar Guest
  7.  A Vision of June, Alexander Posey
  8.  Spring Day, Marion Strobel
  9.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens

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

11.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
12.  A Song for Spring, F.S. Flint
13.  Card Game, Frank Prewitt

14.  The River, Frederick George Scott
15.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
16.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodrich Roberts
17.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme
18.  For the Fallen, Lawrence Binyan
19.  The voice of the leaves, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
20.  A Madrigal, Jane Elizabeth MacDonald

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June / Margaret Deland


Upon the breast of smiling June
     Roses and lilies lie,
And round her yet is faint perfume
     Of violets, just gone by;

Green is her gown, with 'broidery
     Of blossoming meadow grass,
That ripples like a flowing sea
     When winds and shadows pass.

Her breast is belted by the blue
     Of succory, like the sky,
And purple heart's-ease clasp her too,
     And larkspur growing high;

Laced is her bodice green with vines,
     And dew the sun has kissed,
Jewels her scarf that faintly shines,
     In folds of morning mist!

The buttercups are fringes fair
     Around her small white feet,
And on the radiance of her hair
     Fall cherry-blossoms sweet;

The dark laburnum's chains of gold
     She twists about her throat:
Perched on her shoulder, blithe and bold,
     The brown thrush sounds his note!

And blue of the far dappled sky
     That shows at warm, still noon,
Shines in her softly smiling eye.
     Oh! who's so sweet as June ?

Margaret Deland (1857-1945)
from The Old Garden, and other verses, 1889

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

Margaret Deland biography

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