Sunday, October 2, 2022

October's gold is dim / David Gray


October's gold is dim, – the forests rot,
    The weary rain falls ceaseless, while the day
    Is wrapp'd in damp. In mire of village way
The hedge-row leaves are stamp'd, and, all forgot,
The broodless nest sits visible in the thorn.
    Autumn, among her drooping marigolds,
    Weeps all her garnered sheaves, and empty folds,
And dripping orchards – plundered and forlorn.
    The season is a dead one, and I die!
No more, no more for me the spring shall make
A resurrection in the earth and take
    The death from out her heart – O God, I die!
The cold throat-mist creeps nearer, till I breathe
Corruption. Drop, stark night, upon my death!

David Gray (1838-1861)
from In the Shadows, 1920

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide

Saturday, October 1, 2022

October / Edmund Spenser

from The Shepheardes Calender1579:

October. Ægloga Decima

ARGUMENT. In Cuddie is set out the perfecte paterne of a poete, whiche, finding no maintenaunce of his state and studies, complayneth of the contempte of Poetrie, and the causes thereof: specially having bene in all ages, and even amongst the most barbarous, alwayes of singular accounpt and honor, and being indede so worthy and commendable an arte: or rather no arte, but a divine gift and heavenly instinct, not to bee gotten by laboure and learning, but adorned with both, and poured into the witte by a certain [Greek] and celestiall inspiration; as the author hereof els where at large discourseth in his booke called The English Poete, which booke being lately come to my hands, I mynde also by Gods grace, upon further advisement, to publish.


    Piers. Cuddie, for shame! hold up thy heavye head,
And let us cast with what delight to chace
And weary thys long lingring Phoebus race.
Whilome thou wont the shepheards laddes to leade
In rymes, in ridles, and in bydding base:
Now they in thee, and thou in sleepe art dead.

    Cud. Piers, I have pyped erst so long with payne,
That all mine oten reedes bene rent and wore:
And my poore Muse hath spent her spared store,
Yet little good hath got, and much lesse gayne.
Such pleasaunce makes the grashopper so poore,
And ligge so layd, when winter doth her straine.

The dapper ditties that I wont devise,
To feede youthes fancie and the flocking fry,
Delighten much: what I the bett forthy?
They han the pleasure, I a sclender prise:
I beate the bush, the byrds to them doe flye:
What good thereof to Cuddie can arise?

    Piers. Cuddie, the prayse is better then the price,
The glory eke much greater then the gayne:
O what an honor is it, to restraine
The lust of lawlesse youth with good advice,
Or pricke them forth with pleasaunce of thy vaine,
Whereto thou list their trayned willes entice!

Soone as thou gynst to sette thy notes in frame,
O how the rurall routes to thee doe cleave!
Seemeth thou doest their soule of sense bereave,
All as the shepheard, that did fetch his dame
From Plutoes balefull bowre withouten leave:
His musicks might the hellish hound did tame.

    Cud. So praysen babes the peacoks spotted traine,
And wondren at bright Argus blazing eye;
But who rewards him ere the more forthy?
Or feedes him once the fuller by a graine?
Sike prayse is smoke, that sheddeth in the skye,
Sike words bene wynd, and wasten soone in vayne.

    Piers. Abandon then the base and viler clowne:
Lyft up thy selfe out of the lowly dust,
And sing of bloody Mars, of wars, of giusts:
Turne thee to those that weld the awful crowne,
To doubted knights, whose woundlesse armour rusts,
And helmes unbruzed wexen dayly browne.

There may thy Muse display her fluttryng wing,
And stretch her selfe at large from east to west:
Whither thou list in fayre Elisa rest,
Or if thee please in bigger notes to sing,
Advaunce the worthy whome shee loveth best,
That first the white beare to the stake did bring.

And when the stubborne stroke of stronger stounds
Has somewhat slackt the tenor of thy string,
Of love and lustihead tho mayst thou sing,
And carrol lowde, and leade the myllers rownde,
All were Elisa one of thilke same ring.
So mought our Cuddies name to heaven sownde.

    Cud. Indeede the Romish Tityrus, I heare,
Through his Mecænas left his oaten reede,
Whereon he earst had taught his flocks to feede,
And laboured lands to yield the timely eare,
And eft did sing of warres and deadly drede,
So as the heavens did quake his verse to here.

But ah! Mecœnas is yclad in claye,
And great Augustus long ygoe is dead,
And all the worthies liggen wrapt in leade,
That matter made for poets on to play:
For, ever, who in derring doe were dreade,
The loftie verse of hem was loved aye.

But after vertue gan for age to stoupe,
And mighty manhode brought a bedde of ease,
The vaunting poets found nought worth a pease
To put in preace emong the learned troupe.
Tho gan the streames of flowing wittes to cease,
And sonnebright honour pend in shamefull coupe.

And if that any buddes of poesie
Yet of the old stocke gan to shoote agayne,
Or it mens follies mote be forst to fayne,
And rolle with rest in rymes of rybaudrye,
Or, as it sprong, it wither must agayne:
Tom Piper makes us better melodie.

    Piers. O pierlesse Poesye, where is then thy place?
If nor in princes pallace thou doe sitt,
(And yet is princes pallace the most fitt)
Ne brest of baser birth doth thee embrace.
Then make thee winges of thine aspyring wit,
And, whence thou camst, flye backe to heaven apace.

    Cud. Ah, Percy! it is all to weake and wanne,
So high to sore, and make so large a flight;
Her peeced pyneons bene not so in plight:
For Colin fittes such famous flight to scanne:
He, were he not with love so ill bedight,
Would mount as high and sing as soote as swanne.

    Piers. Ah, fon! for love does teach him climbe so hie,
And lyftes him up out of the loathsome myre:
Such immortall mirrhor as he doth admire
Would rayse ones mynd above the starry skie,
And cause a caytive corage to aspire;
For lofty love doth loath a lowly eye.

Cud. All otherwise the state of poet stands:
For lordly Love is such a tyranne fell,
That, where he rules, all power he doth expell.
The vaunted verse a vacant head demaundes,
Ne wont with crabbed Care the Muses dwell:
Unwisely weaves, that takes two webbes in hand.

Who ever casts to compasse weightye prise,
And thinks to throwe out thondring words of threate,
Let powre in lavish cups and thriftie bitts of meate;
For Bacchus fruite is frend to Phæbus wise,
And when with wine the braine begins to sweate,
The nombers flowe as fast as spring doth ryse.

Thou kenst not, Percie, howe the ryme should rage.
O if my temples were distaind with wine,
And girt in girlonds of wild yvie twine,
How I could reare the Muse on stately stage,
And teache her tread aloft in buskin fine,
With queint Bellona in her equipage!

But ah! my corage cooles ere it be warme;
Forthy content us in thys humble shade,
Where no such troublous tydes han us assayde.
Here we our slender pipes may safely charme.
    Piers. And when my gates shall han their bellies layd,
Cuddie shall have a kidde to store his farme.

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
from Complete Poetical Works, 1908

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

October's featured poem


The Penny Blog's featured poem for October 2022:

Fall, Leaves, Fall, by Emily Brontë

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;

Penny's Top 20 / September 2022


Penny's Top 20

The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in September 2022:

  1.  September, Edmund Spenser
  2.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
  3.  September 9, George J. Dance
  4.  O Canada: The land we love, David Pekrul
  5.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  6.  September, Ellen P. Allerton
  7.  A Song for September, Thomas William Parsons
  8.  September, Rebecca Hey
  9.  Autumn's Orchestra, Pauline Johnson
10.  World Trade Center, Julia Vinograd

11.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
12.  September, Helen L. Smith
13.  2 poems on summer's end, Emily Dickinson
14.  Autumn Regrets, Paul Bewsher
15.  Hockey War, David Pekrul
16.  Skating, William Wordsworth
17.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme
18.  Card Game, Frank Prewett
19.  Ode to Sport, Pierre de Coubertin
20. Silk Diamond, George Sulzbach

Source: Blogger, "Stats"  

Sunday, September 25, 2022

September / Ellen P. Allerton


'Tis autumn in our northern land.
    The summer walks a queen no more;
Her sceptre drops from out her hand;
    Her strength is spent, her passion o'er.
On lake and stream, on field and town,
The placid sun smiles calmly down.

The teeming earth its fruit has borne;
    The grain fields lie all shorn and bare;
And where the serried ranks of corn
    Wave proudly in the summer air,
And bravely tossed their yellow locks,
Now thickly stands the bristling shocks.

On sunny slope, on crannied wall
    The grapes hang purpling in the sun;
Down to the turf the brown nuts fall,
    And golden apples, one by one.
Our bins run o'er with ample store —
Thus autumn reaps what summer bore.

The mill turns by the waterfall;
    The loaded wagons go and come;
All day I hear the teamster's call,
    All day I hear the threshers hum;
And many a shout and many a laugh
Comes breaking through the clouds of chaff.

Gay, careless sounds of homely toil!
    With mirth and labor closely bent
The weary tiller of the soil
    Wins seldom wealth, but oft content.
'Tis better still if he but knows
What sweet, wild beauty round him glows.

The brook glides toward the sleeping lake —
    Now babbling over sinning stones;
Now under clumps of bush and brake,
    Hushing its brawl to murmuring tones;
And now it takes its winding path
Through meadows green with aftermath.

The frosty twilight early falls,
    But household fires burn warm and red.
The cold may creep without the walls,
    And growing things lie stark and dead —
No matter, so the hearth be bright
When household faces meet to-night.

Ellen P. Allerton (1835-1893)
Annabel, and other poems, 1885

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide

Ellen P. Allerton biography

Saturday, September 24, 2022

September / Helen L. Smith


O month of fairer, rarer days
    Than Summer's best have been;
When skies at noon are burnished blue,
    And winds at evening keen;
When tangled, tardy-blooming things
    From wild waste places peer,
And drooping golden grain-heads tell
    That harvest-time is near.

Though Autumn tints amid the green
    Are gleaming, here and there,
And spicy Autumn odors float
    Like incense on the air,
And sounds we mark as Autumn's own
    Her nearing steps betray,
In gracious mood she seems to stand
    And bid the Summer stay.

Though 'neath the trees, with fallen leaves
    The sward be lightly strown,
And nests deserted tell the tale
    Of summer bird-folk flown;
Though white with frost the lowlands lie
    When lifts the morning haze,
Still there's a charm in every hour
    Of sweet September days.

Helen L. Smith

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Autumn Regrets / Paul Bewsher

Autumn Regrets

That I were Keats! And with a golden pen
    Could for all time preserve these golden days
In rich and glowing verse, for poorer men,
    Who felt their wonder, but could only gaze
With silent joy upon sweet Autumn's face,
And not record in any wise its grace!
    Alas! But I am even dumb as they –
    I cannot bid the fleeting hours stay,
Nor chain one moment on a page's space.

That I were Grieg! Then, with a haunting air
    Of murmurs soft, and swelling, grand refrains
Would I express my love of Autumn fair
    With all its wealth of harvest, and warm rains:
And with fantastic melodies inspire
A memory of each mad sunset's fire
    In which the day goes slowly to its death
    As through the fragrant woods dim Evening's breath
Doth soothe to sleep the drowsy songbirds' choir.

That I were Corot! Then September's gold
    Would I store up in painted treasuries
That, when the world seemed grey I could behold –
    Its blazing colour with sweet memories,
And each elusive colour would be mine
That decorates these afternoons benign.
    Ah! Then I could enshrine each fleeting hue
    Which dyes the woodland, and enslave the blue
Of sky and haze, with genius divine.

How sad these wishes! When I have no art
    Of poetry, or music, or of brush,
With which to calm the swelling of my heart
    By capturing the misty country's hush
In muted violins; I cannot hymn
The shadowy silence of the copses dim;
    Nor can I paint September's sky-crowned hills.
    Gone then, the wonder which my vision fills,
When all the earth is bound by Winter grim!

Paul Bewsher (1894-1966)
from The Dawn Patrol, and other poems of an aviator, 1917

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

Paul Bewsher biography