Sunday, August 27, 2017

August in the City / Charles Hanson Towne

August in the City

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Hanson Towne biography

Saturday, August 26, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, August 20, 2017

On Summer / George Moses Horton

On Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Night for Adventures / Victor Starbuck

Night for Adventures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

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

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

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

Victor Starbuck biography

Sunday, August 13, 2017

poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky /
John Sweet

poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky

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

by the absence of all pain

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

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

John Sweet
from in the palace of dying light, 2011

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

John Sweet biography

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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

from Love in Exile:


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

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

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

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

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mathilde Blind biography

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"