Sunday, July 15, 2018

Breeze / Ilya Shambat


So much the sweetness and softness of air
Breathe lightly upon me I cannot speak.
Your soul is a summer wind
Sprinkled with petals and feathers
Running through forests and meadows
Running through caverns and rapids
Running through mountains and deserts
Carrying sunlight
Carrying pollen
Carrying raindrops
And carrying love into hearts.
Breathe lightly my love
I can only feel you
Wafting across me
Rubbing against me
Flying around me
Enfolding, caressing my heart.
Bring me the world
Sweet breeze
Bring me world by the molecule
Bring me the top of the atmosphere
Bring me the bloom of the rainforest
Bring me the salt of the ocean
The girl and the boy making love under glancing moon.
Play, play with my flames
Sweet breeze
Send sparks flying
Let my fulminations become
A tapestry shining and tearing
And reaching for you
Carry me through the mind of humanity
Carry me to the soul of eternity
Carry me all around the globe
And together we'll drape it in love.

Ilya Shambat (born 1975)
from Word and Pictures, 2003

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

Ilya Shambat biography

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cuckoo Song

Cuckoo Song

Sumer is icumen in,
  Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
  And springth the wude nu —
          Sing cuccu!    

Awe bleteth after lomb,
  Lhouth after calve cu;
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth,
  Murie sing cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thu, cuccu:
  Ne swike thu naver nu;
Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu,
  Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu!

Anonymous, circa 1250
from the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900, 1919

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, July 8, 2018

When the World is Burning / Ebenezer Jones

When the World is Burning

When the world is burning,
Fired within, yet turning
  Round with face unscathed;
Ere fierce flames, uprushing,
O'er all lands leap, crushing,    
  Till earth fall, fire-swathed;
Up amidst the meadows,
Gently through the shadows,
  Gentle flames will glide,
Small, and blue, and golden.
Though by bard beholden,
When in calm dreams folden,—
  Calm his dreams will bide.

Where the dance is sweeping,
Through the greensward peeping,
  Shall the soft lights start;
Laughing maids, unstaying,
Deeming it trick-playing,
High their robes upswaying,
  O'er the lights shall dart;
And the woodland haunter
Shall not cease to saunter
  When, far down some glade,
Of the great world's burning,
One soft flame upturning
Seems, to his discerning,
  Crocus in the shade.

Ebenezer Jones (1820-1860)
from the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900, 1919

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ebenezer Jones biography

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Summer 1924 / Mary Devenport O'Neill

Summer 1924

Rain and hazy squirted light,
Dampness and the fat green trees,
Sleepily I read this book
Open on my knees –
’Who of the Nymphs divine
That haunt Olympus height,
Who, then, will tell me, who?’
Above the square five seagulls fly,
Like Cassiopeia, black on a white sky,
The afternoon wears on –
’Toil upon toil brings toil;
Whither, ah, whither,
Whither have I not gone?’

Mary Devenport O'Neill (1879-1967)
from Prometheus, and other poems, 1929

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Mary Devenport O'Neill biography

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Christ Walks in this Infernal District Too /
Malcolm Lowry

Christ Walks in this Infernal District Too

Beneath the Malebolge lies Hastings Street,
The province of the pimp upon his beat,
Where each in his little world of drugs or crime
Moves helplessly or, hopeful, begs a dime
Wherewith to purchase half a pint of piss –
Although he will be cheated, even in this.
I hope, although I doubt it, God knows
This place where chancres blossom like the rose,
For on each face is such a hard despair
That nothing like a grief could enter there.
And on this scene from all excuse exempt,
The mountains gaze in absolute contempt,
Yet this is also Canada, my friend,
Yours to absolve of ruin, or make an end.

Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957)
from Tamarack Review, 1961

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Malcolm Lowry biography

Penny's Top 20 / June 2018

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in June 2018:

  1.  Daysleepers, George J. Dance
  2.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  Written at the close of Spring, Charlotte Turner Smith
  4.  Advice to a Butterfly, Maxwell Bodenheim
  5.  O moon, large golden summer moon, Mathilde Blind
  6.  The Parterre, E.H. Palmer
  7.  Lunar Baedeker, Mina Loy
  8.  June Apples, Ethelwyn Wetherald
The Conjurer, George J. Dance
10.  A Spring Idyll, Patrick MacGill

11.  A Memory of June, Claude McKay
12.  To Spring, Robert Story
13.  To the Moon, Percy Bysshe Shelley
14.  Card Game, Frank Prewett
15.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
16.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
17.  Three Thousand Miles, Louis MacNeice
18.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
19.  It's September, Edgar Guest
20.  November, Robert Frost

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Saturday, June 30, 2018

O moon, large golden summer moon /
Mathilde Blind

from Love in Exile:


O moon, large golden summer moon,
    Hanging between the linden trees,
    Which in the intermittent breeze
Beat with the rhythmic pulse of June!

O night-air, scented through and through
    With honey-coloured flower of lime,
    Sweet now as in that other time
When all my heart was sweet as you!

The sorcery of this breathing bloom
    Works like enchantment in my brain,
    Till, shuddering back to life again,
My dead self rises from its tomb.

And, lovely with the love of yore,
    Its white ghost haunts the moon-white ways;
    But, when it meets me face to face,
Flies trembling to the grave once more.

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mathilde Blind biography

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lunar Baedeker / Mina Loy

Lunar Baedeker

A silver Lucifer
cocaine in cornucopia

To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
in satirical draperies

Peris in livery
for posthumous parvenues

Delirious Avenues
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah’s tombstones

to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous

the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts

             Stellectric signs
“Wing shows on Starway”
“Zodiac carrousel”

of ecstatic dust
and ashes whirl
from hallucinatory citadels
of shattered glass
into evacuate craters

A flock of dreams
browse on Necropolis

From the shores
of oval oceans
in the oxidized Orient

Onyx-eyed Odalisques
and ornithologists
the flight
of Eros obsolete

And “Immortality”
mildews ...
in the museums of the moon

“Nocturnal cyclops”
“Crystal concubine”

Pocked with personification
the fossil virgin of the skies
waxes and wanes

Mina Loy (1882-1966)
from Lunar Baedecker, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Saturday, June 23, 2018

To the Moon / Percy Bysshe Shelley

To the Moon 

          Art thou pale for weariness?
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
          Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,–
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
from Posthumous Poems, 1824

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Daysleepers / George J. Dance


Somewhere a violated auto
shrieks a one-note alarm
in brilliant sunshine;
the poet rolls over,
wills himself to sleep.

The long-haired blonde
sprawled naked at his feet
is clearly winning
this sleep-competition,
tail and paws perfectly still.

atop the bookcase
a fat ball
of tri-coloured fur

warms up
for the next round

George J. Dance, 2007
from Doggerel and other doggerel, 2015

Rest in peace, Medya, 1999-2018

Photo by Maureen Dance, 2018.

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Written at the close of Spring /
Charlotte Turner Smith

Written at the close of Spring

The garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,
  Each simple flower which she has nurs’d in dew,
Anemones, that spangled every grove,
  The primrose wan, and harebell mildly blue.
No more shall violets linger in the dell,
  Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till Spring again shall call forth every bell
  And dress with hurried hands her wreaths again.
Ah, poor humanity! so frail, so fair,
  And the fond visions of thy early day,
Till tyrant passion and corrosive care
  Bid all thy fairy colours flee away!
Another May new birds and flowers shall bring;
Ah! why has happiness no second spring?

Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806)
from Elegaic Sonnets, 1784

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Charlotte Turner Smith biography

Saturday, June 16, 2018

To Spring / Robert Story

To Spring

O what a bloom, a freshness — as of flowers
And verdure bathed in dew — comes o'er the heart,
Sweet Spring, when thou art named;
Or when thy softened breeze,

Pure from reviving nature, fans the cheek!
The languid spirit feels, through all its depths,
The genial warmth, and pours
Profuse its flowers of thought!

Who can thy charms enumerate? The dell,
Where the rathe primrose peeps; the living wood,
Where the green bud just bursts,
And the deep blackbird sings;

The plain, where smiles the daisy, where its gold
The gorgeous king-cup shows, and where the stream
Rolls in blue windings on;
The freshened mountain, gay

With springing heath and blooming gorse, o'er which
The plover screams; and over all, the sky
Blue, lofty fine, where laughs
The joyous sun, and where

Sails the light snowy cloud, or — if the shower
Thin-glancing falls — perchance the rainbow bends
Its scarcely visible arch,
Whence rings the sky-lark's song!

The eye looks round delighted, the heart beats
With rapture! — And do I experience now
That rapture, that delight?
Then, shall my song confine

Its praise to Earth's enchantments, nor ascend
In grateful adoration, God! to thee—
The source of all that's fair,
The bounteous source of Spring!

Robert Story (1795-1860)
from The Magic Fountain, and other poems, 1819

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Story biography

Sunday, June 10, 2018

June Apples / Ethelwyn Wetherald

June Apples

Green apple branches full of green apples
     All around me unfurled,
Here where the shade and the sunlight dapples
     A grass-green, apple-green world.

Little green children stirred with the heaving
     Of the warm breast of the air,
When your old nurse, the wind, is grieving
     Comfortlessly you fare.

But now an old-time song she is crooning,
     Nestle your heads again,
While I dream on though the golden nooning,
     Or look for the first red stain

On some round cheek that the sunshine dapples,
     Near me where I lie curled
Under green trees athrong with green apples,
     In a grass-green, apple-green world.

Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1940)
from The House of the Trees, and other poems, 1895

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

Ethelwyn Wetherald biography

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Advice to a Butterfly / Maxwell Bodenheim

Advice to a Butterfly

Aimless petal of the wind,
Spinning gently weird circles,
To the flowers underneath
You are a drunken king of motion;
To the plunging winds above
You are momentary indecision.

Aimless petal of the wind,
Waver carelessly against this June.
The universe, like you, is but
The drowsy arm of stillness
Spinning gently weird circles in his sleep.

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954)
From Advice: A book of poems, 1920

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

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Parterre / E.H. Palmer

The Parterre

I don't know any greatest treat
    As sit him in a gay parterre,
And sniff one up the perfume sweet
    Of every roses buttoning there.

It only want my charming miss
    Who make to blush the self red rose;
Oh! I have envy of to kiss
    The end's tip of her splendid nose.

Oh! I have envy of to be
    What grass 'neath her pantoffle push,
And too much happy seemeth me
    The margaret which her vestige crush.

But I will meet her nose at nose,
    And take occasion for her hairs,
And indicate her all my woes,
    That she in fine agree my prayers.

         |The Envoy| 

I don't know any greatest treat
    As sit him in a gay parterre,
With Madame who is too more sweet
    Than every roses buttoning there.

E.H. Palmer (1840-1882)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

E.H. Palmer biography

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Spring Idyll / Patrick MacGill

A Spring Idyll

On my hangings of arras
          Dewdrop and sunlight commingle,
     The music of woods that are endless,
     And infinite seas
          That come with the voices
          Of storm or of calm to the shingle
     In the lilac gray blush of the dawn,
     On the sensuous breeze.

So full of promise is earth
          As a child's gentle laughter,
     The sapphire tints of the water
     Arc fair to the eyes –
          The present is only,
          I know not a past nor hereafter,
     And forth from my covering
     Of saffron and ermine I rise.

Patrick MacGill (1889-1963)
from Songs of a Navvy1911

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

Patrick MacGill biography

Penny's Top 20 / May 2018

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in May 2018:

  1.  May, W.M.W. Call
  2.  Renaissance, A.G. Stephens
  3.  Spring-Time, Ernest Radford
  4.  Rock Me to Sleep, Elizabeth Akers Allen
  5.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  6.  The Canadian Rossignol (In May), E.W. Thomson
  7.  The Green Door, C.F. McIntyre
  8.  Lines (When youthful faith has fled), John Gibson Lockhart
  9.  The Lute-Player, Frank Peace Sturm

The Reader, Wallace Stevens

11.  April, Katharine Tynan
12.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
13.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
14.  The Conjurer, George J. Dance
15.  A Day in Spring, Richard Westall
16.  April, G.A. Studdert Kennedy
17.  Leafless April, Ethelwyn Wetherald
18.  April, William Carlos Williams
19.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
20.  The Bed of Old John Zeller, Wallace Stevens

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, May 27, 2018

May / W.M.W. Call


The May returns! Once more the kindling blood
Flows through the heart of the resplendent year;
The mighty sea of life is now at flood,
And Summer's thousand voices murmur near.

High up the lark, among the morning beams,
Mounts like a kindred fire that hails the day;
The wandering music haunts the woods and streams,
And gladdens the full heart of happy May.

Far off at eve the nightingale is heard,
Hid in dim leaves where whispering waters fall,
And sought, but still unseen, the schoolboy's bird,
From bowers, long-lost, renews her echoing call.

Now Hope, once more doth like a herald blow
Her stately trumpet through our desert life ;
On the dark cloud Peace hangs her fading bow.
And, as it fades, Love comes to soften strife.

The May returns, and with her light and bloom
Returns the toil that heaps the year with gold —
The thought that with the gladness blends a gloom,
When once the fairy tale of youth is told.

Yet 'mid the sound and splendour of the May
I stand and dream, as winds and waters chime,
Of nobler summers, of an ampler day.
And praise the splendid promise of man's prime.

Taught that the leaves must fall ere buds can blow.
Taught that the flower must fade ere fruits can shine,
I hear glad harvests rustle ere they grow,
Bless my wild hope and call my dream divine.

W.M.W. Call (1817-1890)
from Reverberations, 1875

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

W.M.W. Call biography

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Canadian Rossignol (In May) / E.W. Thomson

The Canadian Rossignol (In May)

When furrowed fields of shaded brown,
     And emerald meadows spread between,
And belfries towering from the town,
     All blent in wavering mists are seen;
When quickening woods with freshening hue
     Along Mount Royal rolling swell,
When winds caress and May is new,
     Oh, then my shy bird sings so well!

Because the bloodroots flock so white,
     And blossoms scent the wooing air,
And mounds with trillium flags are dight,
     And dells with violets frail and rare;
Because such velvet leaves unclose,
     And new-born rills all chiming ring,
And blue the sun-kissed river flows,
     My timid bird is forced to sing.

A joyful flourish lilted clear,
     Four notes, then fails the frolic song,
And memories of a sweeter year
     The wistful cadences prolong;—
“A sweeter year — Oh, heart too sore!—
     I cannot sing!”— So ends the lay.
Long silence. Then awakes once more
     His song, ecstatic with the May.

E.W. Thomson (1849-1924)
from The Many-Mansioned House, and other poems, 1909

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

E.W. Thomson biography

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Renaissance / A.G. Stephens


In my ears it is sounding to-day,
The song of the Spring!
How my heart leaps, and urges the blood in swift surges to greet the sweet Spring!
And my pulse, from low undertones rising to thunder-tones, trumpets the challenge of mystical May,
Of witching September, while Winter's dull ember
Glows fierce in the glamour of Spring,
The passion-fed furnace of Spring!
And my Love, she is tingling to-day
To the touch of the Spring!
How she trembles and thrills as from numberless rills pours the full tide of Spring!
And her eyes are veiled oceans whence amorous potions I quaff in a fury, as one who is fey:
She bears me no malice, but holds up for chalice
Her lips brimming over with Spring,
All ruddied and coralled with Spring.
O my Youth! Let us make holiday,
Give a garland to Spring!
For you flower from her root and your ecstasies shoot from the sources of Spring!
Not a throb gay or tragic her alchemy magic has missed from the cycles of worlds passed away:
Kiss of atoms thick-thronging, sighs of spheres mad with longing,
A Deity burning, a Universe yearning —
All summed up in Spring!

A.G. Stephens (1865-1933)
from The Pearl and the Octopus, 1911

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

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spring-Time / Ernest Radford


Where chestnuts overhang the stream
Our boat shall lie; here may we dream
An hour away, and Care may wait.
          Ah! sweet —
          Ah! sweet
Thus for one hour to deviate
From the rude pathway marked by Fate.

Our home is here: the skylark flings
His music down, and tiniest things
Beat the still air with labouring wings.
          Ah! sweet the odours,
          Sweet the song;
Sweet to forget, these scenes among,
The jarring discords of the throng.

Now glide we onward ever slow,
And now, in the opal afterglow,
Listen, a voice sings clear and low.
          Ah! sweet the singer;
          Sweet the strain!
Ah when, ah when, tired heart and brain,
Will that song gladden thee again?

Ernest Radford (1857-1919)
from Old and New: A collection of poems, 1895

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Rock Me to Sleep / Elizabeth Akers Allen

Rock Me to Sleep

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;–   
Rock me to sleep, mother,– rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,–   
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,–
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,–
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;–
Rock me to sleep, mother,– rock me to sleep!

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between:
Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I tonight for your presence again.
Come from the silence so long and so deep;–
Rock me to sleep, mother,– rock me to sleep!

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures,–   
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber’s soft calms o’er my heavy lids creep;–   
Rock me to sleep, mother,– rock me to sleep!

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again as of old;
Let it drop over my forehead tonight,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light;
For with its sunny-edged shadows once more
Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore;
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;–
Rock me to sleep, mother,– rock me to sleep!

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last listened your lullaby song:
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood’s years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;–   
Rock me to sleep, mother,– rock me to sleep!

Elizabeth Akers Allen (1832-1911)
from Poems, 1866

[Poem is in the public domain world-wide]

Elizabeth Akers Allen biography

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Lute-Player / Frank Pearce Sturm

The Lute-Player

Beloved, when I see your face
Move through this green and sunlit place,
Where the cool morning-thoughts of Spring
Passing, remember no past thing,
Where feathered tumult shakes the leaves,
But no lamenting lute-string grieves,
My heart is troubled: the tall grass
That bends and whispers while you pass
Would fade, did not your secret eyes
Hide their dreams from the open skies
Beneath drooped lids: did not your hands
Bind your strange heart with occult bands.
And the light sprays that bend green tips
To touch your pale brows and red lips,
Shrink and draw back in fear and shame,
For like some white immortal flame
That burns while Time is withering,
You stand among the buds of Spring.

Ah, take your seven-stringed lute, whose wires
Once wakened green and crimson fires
Out of the slumbering gems you wore,
And when my heart awakes once more
And the flame trembles, I will sing
How fugitive are Youth and Spring:
While scented blossoms from above
Drop down their petals on our love,
And grief becomes a grey content,
Seven strings, seven sorrows, lament, lament.

Frank Pearce Sturm (1879-1942)
from An Hour of Reverie, 1905

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

Frank Pearce Sturm biography

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Lines (When youthful faith has fled) /
John Gibson Lockhart


When youthful faith has fled,
   Of loving take thy leave;
Be constant to the dead —
   The dead cannot deceive.

Sweet modest flowers of spring,
   How fleet your balmy day!
And man's brief year can bring
   No secondary May.

No earthly burst again
   Of gladness out of gloom;
Fond hope and vision vain,
   Ungrateful to the tomb!

But 'tis an old belief,
   That on some solemn shore,
Beyond the sphere of grief,
   Dear friends will meet once more.

Beyond the sphere of time,
   And sin, and fate's control,
Serene in changeless prime
   Of body and of soul.

That creed I fain would keep,
   That hope I'll not forego;
Eternal be the sleep,
   Unless to waken so.

John Gibson Lockhart (1794-1854)
from the Oxford Book of Victorian Verse, 1922

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Gibson Lockhart biography

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Green Door / C.F. MacIntyre

The Green Door

from “Rodomontades

Here in the May we danced on violets
  And blew off golden bubbles. Ah, my love,
How shall I name the sorrows and regrets
  I pluck, and the black drink I press thereof?

Now you dream deeply, wise in death’s great lore;      
  I lean above you where the crickets sing,
And fumble the dumb latch of the green door —
  You of the Maytime, lovely, wantoning.

C.F. MacIntyre (1890-1967)
from Poetry, May 1920

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

C.F. MacIntyre biography

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Penny's Top 20 / April 2018

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in April 2018:

  1.  Easter Song, Francis Sherman
  2.  Tardy Spring, George Meredith 
  3.  April, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4.  April Weather,  Edith Wyatt
  5.  Insanity, Maxwell Bodenheim
  6.  Leafless April, Ethelwyn Wetherald
  7.  April, William Carlos Williams
  8.  April, Katharine Tynan
  9.  April, G.A. Studdert Kennedy

The Conjurer, George J. Dance

11.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
12.  There Will Come Soft Rains, Sara Teasdale
13.  Two poems, Mark Turbyfill
14.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
15.  A Day in Spring, Richard Westall
16.  Spring's Immortality, Mackenzie Bell
17.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
18.  Green Boughs, Frank Pearce Sturm
19.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
20.  Vowels, Arthur Rimbaud

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April / G.A. Studdert Kennedy


Breath of Spring,
Not come, but coming,
In the air.
Life of earth, not lived
But living,
Promises, not made,
Nor broken,
But the token
Of promises that will be made.
Sunshine seeking shade,
Red earth, that smiles,
And asks for seed,
And mossy woodland paths, that lead
To where the yellow primrose grows.
And so for many coloured miles
Of open smiling France,
While noisy little streamlets dance,
In diamond mirrored suns,
To meet the stately Mother stream that flows,
With shining dignity,
To greet her Lord the sea,
And far away, beyond the hills, one hears,
Poor village Mother, hence thy tears,
The muffled thunder of the guns.

G.A. Studdert Kennedy ("Woodbine Willy") (1883-1929)
from Rough Rhymes of a Padre, 1918

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

G.A. Studdert Kennedy biography

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April / Katharine Tynan


A black North Wind that chills
New leaves and songs scarce sung;
It was not so in Aprils
When I was young.

Thrush-notes and blackbird-trills
The blossomy boughs among;
All in the leafy Aprils
When I was young.

Showers on the heavenly hills
Rainbow and silver hung;
Such tears and smiles were April's
When I was young.

Small streams and babbling rills,
Green ways where gossamers swung;
The young lambs leaped in Aprils
When I was young.

Daisies and daffodils,
Primroses newly sprung;
Fragrant and fresh the Aprils
When I was young.

Here in this town that kills,
The heart for cold is wrung.
It's O for the happy Aprils
When I was young!

Katharine Tynan (1861-1931)
from Poems, 1901

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

Katharine Tynan biography

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Leafless April / Ethelwyn Wetherald

Leafless April 

Leafless April chased by light,
    Chased by dark and full of laughter,
Stays a moment in her flight
    Where the warmest breezes waft her,
By the meadow brook to lean,
    Or where winter rye is growing,
Showing in a lovelier green
    Where her wayward steps are going.

Blithesome April brown and warm,
    Showing slimness through her tatters,
Chased by sun or chased by storm —
    Not a whit to her it matters.
Swiftly through the violet bed,
    Down to where the stream is flooding
Light she flits — and round her head
    See the orchard branches budding!

Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1940)
from The House of the Trees, and other poems, 1895

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

Ethelwyn Wetherald biography

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April / William Carlos Williams


If you had come away with me
into another state
we had been quiet together.
But there the sun coming up
out of the nothing beyond the lake was
too low in the sky,
there was too great a pushing
against him,
too much of sumac buds, pink
in the head
with the clear gum upon them,
too many opening hearts of
lilac leaves,
too many, too many swollen
limp poplar tassels on the
bare branches!
It was too strong in the air.
I had no rest against that
The pounding of the hoofs on the
raw sods
stayed with me half through the night.
I awoke smiling but tired.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
From Sour Grapes, 1921

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April Weather / Edith Wyatt

April Weather

If you could have a perfect day
    To dream of when your life were done,
Would you choose one all clear, all gay —
    If you could have a perfect day —
The airs above the wide green way      
    Sheer virgin blue with crystal sun?—
If you could have a perfect day
    To dream of when your life were done.

Or would you have it April’s way,
    Haphazard rain, haphazard sun,      
Divine and sordid, clear and gray,
    Dyed like these hours’ own work and play;
All shot with stains of tears and clay,
    Haphazard pain, haphazard fun —
If you could have a perfect day      
    To dream of when your life were done?

Edith Wyatt (1873-1958)
from Poetry, January 1915

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

Edith Wyatt biography

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April / Ralph Waldo Emerson


The April winds are magical
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.
The hedge is gemmed with diamonds,
The air with Cupids full,
The cobweb clues of Rosamond
Guide lovers to the pool.
Each dimple in the water,
Each leaf that shades the rock
Can cozen, pique and flatter,
Can parley and provoke.
Goodfellow, Puck and goblins,
Know more than any book.
Down with your doleful problems,
And court the sunny brook.
The south-winds are quick-witted,
The schools are sad and slow,
The masters quite omitted
The lore we care to know.      

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
from Selected Poems, 1876

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ralph Waldo Emerson biography

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Insanity / Maxwell Bodenheim


Like a vivid hyperbole,
The sun plunged into April's freshness,
And struck its sparkling madness
Against the barnlike dejection
Of this dark red insane asylum.
A softly clutching noise
Stumbled from the open windows.
Now and then obliquely reeling shrieks
Rose, as though from men
To whom death had assumed
An inexpressibly kind face.

A man stood at one window,
His gaunt face trembling underneath
A feverish jauntiness.
A long white feather slanted back
Upon his almost shapeless hat,
Like an innocent evasion.
Hotly incessant, his voice
Methodically flogged the April air:
A voice that held the clashing bones
Of happiness and fear;
A voice in which emotion
Sharply ridiculed itself;
A monstrously vigorous voice
Mockingly tearing a life
With an unanswerable question.

Hollowed out by his howl,
I turned and saw an asylum guard,
His petulantly flabby face
Rolled into deathlike chips of eyes.
He bore the aimless confidence
Of one contentedly playing with other men's wings.
He walked away; the man above still shrieked.
I could not separate them.

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954)
From Advice: A book of poems, 1920

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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tardy Spring / George Meredith

Tardy Spring

       Now the North wind ceases,
       The warm South-west awakes;
       Swift fly the fleeces,
       Thick the blossom-flakes.

Now hill to hill has made the stride,
And distance waves the without-end:
Now in the breast a door flings wide;
Our farthest smiles, our next is friend.
And song of England's rush of flowers
Is this full breeze with mellow stops,
That spins the lark for shine, for showers;
He drinks his hurried flight, and drops.
The stir in memory seem these things,
Which out of moisten'd turf and clay,
Astrain for light push patient rings,
Or leap to find the waterway.
'Tis equal to a wonder done,
Whatever simple lives renew
Their tricks beneath the father sun,
As though they caught a broken clue:
So hard was earth an eyewink back;
But now the common life has come,
The blotting cloud a dappled pack,
The grasses one vast underhum.
A City clothed in snow and soot,
With lamps for day in ghostly rows,
Breaks to the scene of hosts afoot,
The river that reflective flows:
And there did fog down crypts of street
Play spectre upon eye and mouth:—
Their faces are a glass to greet
This magic of the whirl for South.
A burly joy each creature swells
With sound of its own hungry quest;
Earth has to fill her empty wells,
And speed the service of the nest;
The phantom of the snow-wreath melt,
That haunts the farmer's look abroad,
Who sees what tomb a white night built,
Where flocks now bleat and sprouts the clod.
For iron Winter held her firm;
Across her sky he laid his hand;
And bird he starved, he stiffen'd worm;
A sightless heaven, a shaven land.
Her shivering Spring feign'd fast asleep,
The bitten buds dared not unfold:
We raced on roads and ice to keep
Thought of the girl we love from cold.

       But now the North wind ceases,
       The warm South-west awakes,
       The heavens are out in fleeces,
       And earth's green banner shakes.

George Meredith (1828-1909)
from Poems, 1892

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

George Meredith biography

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Song / Francis Sherman

Easter Song

Maidens, awake! For Christ is born again!
And let your feet disdain
The paths whereby of late they have been led.
Now Death itself is dead,
And Love hath birth,
And all things mournful find no place on earth.

This morn ye all must go another way
Than ye went yesterday.
Not with sad faces shall ye silent go
Where He hath suffered so;
But where there be
Full many flowers shall ye wend joyfully.

Moreover, too, ye must be clad in white,
As if the ended night
Were but your bridal-morn’s foreshadowing.
And ye must also sing
In angel-wise:
So shall ye be most worthy in His eyes.

Maidens, arise! I know where many flowers
Have grown these many hours
To make more perfect this glad Easter-day;
Where tall white lilies sway
On slender stem,
Waiting for you to come and garner them;

Where banks of mayflowers are, all pink and white,
Which will Him well delight;
And yellow buttercups, and growing grass
Through which the Spring winds pass;
And mosses wet,
Well strown with many a new-born violet.

All these and every other flower are here.
Will ye not draw anear
And gather them for Him, and in His name,
Whom all men now proclaim
Their living King?
Behold how all these wait your harvesting!

Moreover, see the darkness of His house!
Think ye that He allows
Such glory of glad color and perfume,
But to destroy the gloom
That hath held fast
His altar-place these many days gone past?

For this alone these blossoms had their birth,―
To show His perfect worth!
Therefore, O Maidens, ye must go apace
To that strange garden-place
And gather all
These living flowers for His high festival. [page 39]

For now hath come the long-desirèd day,
Wherein Love hath full sway!
Open the gates, O ye who guard His home,
His handmaidens are come!
Open them wide,
That all may enter in this Easter-tide!

Then, maidens, come, with song and lute-playing,
And all your wild flowers bring
And strew them on His altar; while the sun ―
Seeing what hath been done ―
Shines strong once more,
Knowing that Death hath Christ for conqueror.

Francis Sherman (1871-1926)
from Matins, 1896

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

Francis Sherman biography

Penny's Top 20 / March 2018

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in March 2018:

  1.  The Conjurer, George J. Dance
  2.  Each tree did boast the wished spring times pride, Tom Watson
  3.  Heart Winter, James Lewis Milligan
  4.  There Will Come Soft Rains, Sara Teasdale
  5.  Spring's Immortality, Mackenzie Bell
  6.  Green Boughs, Frank Pearce Sturm
  7.  A Day in Spring, Richard Westall
  8.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
10.  Two poems, Mark Turbyfill

11.  The Sower, Charles G.D. Roberts
12.  Premonition, George J. Dance
13.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme
14.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
15.  A Miracle, George J. Dance
16.  Vowels, Arthur Rimbaud
17.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
18.  Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand, E.E. Cummings
19.  A Boy and His Dad, Edgar Guest
20.  February, William Morris

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Saturday, March 31, 2018

from "Windflowers" / Mark Turbyfill (2 poems)

The Pulse of Spring

The spring has spilt a shining net
Of green-gold buds
Upon the boughs
Of this gray linden-tree.

The hyacinth has lit its torch of amethyst.      

A robin sways upon a bow-curved twig,
And sweetly cries.

O spring, forbear!

Oh that Love Has Come at All

I am he who expects too much.
The high keen edge
Of dreams is not sharp
Enough; and the rose
Is not enough red.      
I am tired with emptiness,
For love has not come swift enough.
But do thou weave, O heart,
A slender song:
That love has come at all!

Mark Turbyfill (1896-1990)
from Poetry, May 1917

[Poems are in the public domain in the United States]

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Each tree did boast the wished spring times pride
/ Thomas Watson


Each tree did boast the wished spring times pride,
When solitarie in the vale of love
I hid my selfe so from the world to hide
The uncouth passions which my heart did prove:
No tree whose branches did not bravelie spring,
No branch whereon a fine bird did not sit;
No bird but did her shrill notes sweetlie sing,
No song but did containe a lovelie dit.
Trees, branches, birds, and songs, were framed faire,
Fit to allure fraile mind to careles ease:
But carefull was my thought, yet in dispaire
I dwelt for brittle hope me cannot please.
For when I view my loves faire eies reflecting,
I entertaine dispaire, vaine hope rejecting.

Thomas Watson (?1556-1592)
from The Tears of Fancie; or, Love disdained, 1593

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Day in Spring / Richard Westall (I-II)

A Day in Spring


'Twas but late the mourning year,
Felt the force of Winter drear,
When from forth his chill abode
Clad in double night he rode,
Scatt'ring with his blighting breath,
Hail, and terror, storms, and death.
Now let Spring her form unfold,
Robed in green and gem'd with gold.
Lo! she comes, by Zephyrs led,
(Blooms unnumber'd round her head)
Over valley, hill, and grove,
Breathing life, and health, and love.


Wake, my soul, with vigour new,
Give the Goddess welcome due!
As she moves, the laughing hours
Fill the gladden'd earth with flowers,
And the placid waters pour
Myriads round the sea-girt shore,
And throughout the lucid sky,
(Emblem of the Deity)
Lo! the glorious source of day,
Bounteous spreads his procreant ray.

Read the rest of the poem here

Richard Westall (1765-1836)
from A Day in Spring, and other poems, 1808

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spring's Immortality / Mackenzie Bell

Spring's Immortality

The buds awake at touch of Spring
  From Winter’s joyless dream;
From many a stone the ouzels sing
  By yonder mossy stream.

The cuckoo’s voice, from copse and vale,      
  Lingers, as if to meet
The music of the nightingale
  Across the rising wheat —

The bird whom ancient Solitude
  Hath kept forever young,    
Unaltered since in studious mood
  Calm Milton mused and sung.

Ah, strange it is, dear heart, to know
  Spring’s gladsome mystery
Was sweet to lovers long ago —      
  Most sweet to such as we —

That fresh new leaves and meadow flowers
  Bloomed when the south wind came;
While hands of Spring caressed the bowers,
  The throstle sang the same.      

Unchanged, unchanged the throstle’s song,
  Unchanged Spring’s answering breath,
Unchanged, though cruel Time was strong,
  And stilled our love in death.

Mackenzie Bell (1856-1930)
from Spring's Immortality, and other poems, 1893

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