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 (1871-1913)
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"