Sunday, August 19, 2018

August / E. Nesbit


Leave me alone, for August's sleepy charm
     Is on me, and I will not break the spell;
My head is on the mighty Mother's arm:
     I will not ask if life goes ill or well.
There is no world! – I do not care to know
Whence aught has come, nor whither it shall go.

I want to wander over pastures still,
     Where sheared white sheep and mild-eyed cattle graze;
To climb the thymy, clover-covered hill,
     To look down on the valley's hot blue haze;
And on the short brown turf for hours to lie
Gazing straight up into the clear, deep sky,

I want to walk through crisp gold harvest fields,
     Through meadows yellowed by the August heat;
To loiter through the cool dim wood, that yields
     Such perfect flowers and quiet so complete –
The happy woods, where every bud and leaf
Is full of dreams as life is full of grief.

I want to think no more of all the pain
     That in the city thrives, a poison flower –
The eternal loss, the never-coming gain,
     The lifelong woe – the joy that lives an hour,
Bright, evanescent as the dew that dawn
Shows on this silent, wood-encircled lawn.

I want to pull the honey-bud that twines
     About the blackberries and gold-leaf sloes;
To part the boughs where the rare water shines,
     Tread the soft bank whereby the bulrush grows –
I want to be no more myself, but be
Made one with all the beauty that I see.

Oh, happy country, myriad voiced and dear,
     I have no heart, no eyes, except for you;
Yours are the only voices I will hear,
     Yours is the only bidding I will do:
You bid me be at peace, and let alone
That loud, rough world where peace is never known.

Yet through your voices comes a sterner cry,
     A voice I cannot silence if I would;
It mars the song the lark sings to the sky,
     It breaks the changeful music of the wood.
'Back to your post – a charge you have to keep –
Freedom is bleeding while her soldiers sleep.'

Oh, heart of mine I have to carry here,
     Will you not let me rest a little while? –
A space 'mid doubtful fight and doubtful fear –
     A little space to see the Mother's smile,
To stretch my hands out to her, and possess
No sense of aught but of her loveliness?

Ah, just this power to feel how she is fair
     Means just the power to see how foul life is.
How can I linger in the sacred air
     And taste the pure wine of the dear sun's kiss
When in the outer dark my brothers moan,
Nor even guess the joys that I have known?

Back the least soldier goes! To jar and fret,
     To hope uncrowned – faith tried – love wounded sore –
To prayers that never have been answered yet,
     To dreams that must be dreams for evermore;
To all that, after all, is far more dear
Than all the joys of all the changing year.

E. Nesbit (1858-1924)
from Lays and Legends, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

E. Nesbit biography

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Pool / Marjorie Pickthall

The Pool

Come with me, follow me, swift as a moth,
Ere the wood-doves waken.
Lift the long leaves and look down, look down
Where the light is shaken,
Amber and brown,
On the woven ivory roots of the reed,
On a floating flower and a weft of weed
And a feather of froth.

Here in the night all wonders are,
Lapped in the lift of the ripple's swing,–
A silver shell and a shaken star,
And a white moth's wing.
Here the young moon when the mists unclose
Swims like the bud of a golden rose.

I would live like an elf where the wild grapes cling,
I would chase the thrush
From the red rose-berries.
All the day long I would laugh and swing
With the black choke-cherries.

I would shake the bees from the milkweed blooms,
And cool, O cool,
Night after night I would leap in the pool,
And sleep with the fish in the roots of the rush.
Clear, O clear my dreams should be made
Of emerald light and amber shade,
Of silver shallows and golden glooms.
Sweet, O sweet my dreams should be
As the dark, sweet water enfolding me
Safe as a blind shell under the sea.

Marjorie Pickthall (1883-1922)
from The Drift of Pinions, 1913

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

Marjorie Pickthall biography

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Diver / W.W.E. Ross

The Diver

I would like to dive
Into this still pool
Where the rocks at the bottom are safely deep,

Into the green
Of the water seen from within,
A strange light
Streaming past my eyes –

Things hostile;
You cannot stay here, they seem to say;
The rocks, slime covered, the undulating
Fronds of weed –

And drift slowly
Among the cooler zones;
Then, upward turning,
Break from the green glimmer

Into the light,
White and ordinary of the day;
And the mild air,
With the breeze and the comfortable shore.

W.W.E. Ross (1894-1966)
from Laconics, 1930

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

W.W.E. Ross biography

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Ocean / Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Ocean

The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none.

The awful spirits of the deep
Hold their communion there;
And there are those for whom we weep,
The young, the bright, the fair.

Calmly the wearied seamen rest
Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest,
For there is purity.

The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
Unquiet are its graves;
But peaceful sleep is ever there,
Beneath the dark blue waves.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
from The Mariner's Library; or, Voyager's companion, 1833

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Nathaniel Hawthorne biography

Sunday, August 5, 2018

To the Sea Angel / Will Dockery

To the Sea Angel

Riptide waves,
there goes the sea angel,
right above the waves.

These mystery years,
where would I be without them?
What if I'd stayed happy?

Years lost,
these last few I've played catch up,
drifting from the shore.

Barnacles on an olive shell,
brain choral in my mind.

Instrumental tune,
made by the incoming waves.

I tossed a starfish back in,
watched it twirl away,
and thought of you.

Will Dockery 

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

Will Dockery biography

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sea Gulls / Jeanette Marks

Sea Gulls

On Leaving Eggemoggin

Sea gulls I saw lifting the dawn with rosy feet,
Bearing the sunlight on their wings,
Dripping the dusk from burnished plumes;
And I thought
It would be a joy to be a sea gull
At dusk, at dawn of way,
And through long sunlit hours.

Sea gulls I saw carrying the night on their backs,
Wide tail spread crescent for the moon and stars –
The moon a glowing jelly fish,
The stars foam flecks of light;
And I thought
It would be joy to be a sea gull!

How I would dart with them,
Strike storm with coral spur,
Rip whirling spray of angry tides,
Snatch mangled, light-shot offal of the sea,–
Torn, tossed, and moving terribly;
And stare for stare anser those myriad eyes
That float and sway, stab, sting, and die away!

How I would peer from wide cold eyes of fire –
At dusk, at dawn
And through the long daylight –
Into those coiling depths of sea;
Then split the sun, the moon, the stars,
With laughter, laughter, laughter,
For the sea's mad power!

Jeanette Marks (1874-1964)
from Willow Pollen, 1921

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

Jeanette Marks biography

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Penny's Top 20 / July 2018

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

  1.  Breeze, Ilya Shambat
  2.  When the World is Burning, Ebenezer Jones
  3.  Inniskeen Road: July Evening, Patrick Kavanagh
  4.  Cuckoo Song
  5.  Christ Walks in this Infernal District Too, Malcolm Lowry
  6.  Summer 1924, Mary Devenport O'Neill
  7.  A Summer's Night, Paul Laurence Dunbar
  8.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  9.  I love to see the summer beaming forth, John Clare

10.  When Summer Comes, Sophia Almon Hensley

11.  Unwelcome, Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
12.  Daysleepers, George J. Dance
13.  The Flute of Spring, Bliss Carman
14.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
15.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
16.  Vowels, Arthur Rimbaud
17.  A Christmas Greeting, Walt Whitman
18.  The Bright Extensive Will, AE Reiff
19.  May, Christina Rossetti
20.  Cherry-Ripe, Robert Herrick

Source: Blogger, "Stats"