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"