Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn / Theodore Harding Rand


In summer's dreary ear, as suns go by
Whose yellow beams are dulled with langorous motes,
The deep vibrations of the cosmic notes
Are as the voice of those that prophesy.
Her spirit kindles, and her filmy eye!
In haste the fluttering robe, whose glory floats
In pictured folds, her eager soul devote -
Lo, she with her winged harper sweeps the sky!

Splendours of blossomed time, like poppies red,
Distil dull slumbers o'er the engaged soul
And thrall with sensuous pomp its azured dower;
Till, roused by vibrant touch from the unseen Power,
The spirit keen, freed from the painted dead,
On wings mounts up to reach its living Goal.

Theodore Harding Rand

[Poem is in the public domain]

Theodore Harding Rand biography

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn Evening / Frances Cornford

Autumn Evening

The shadows flickering, the daylight dying,
And I upon the old red sofa lying,
The great brown shadows leaping up the wall,
The sparrows twittering; and that is all.

I thought to send my soul to far-off lands,
Where fairies scamper on the windy sands,
Or where the autumn rain comes drumming down
On huddled roofs in an enchanted town.

But O, my sleepy soul, it will not roam,
It is too happy and too warm at home:
With just the shadows leaping up the wall,
The sparrows twittering; and that is all.

Frances Cornford (1886-1960)
from Spring Morning, 1915

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

Frances Cornford biography.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September / Seranus


Birds that were gray in the green are black in the yellow.
Here where the green remains rocks one little fellow.

Quaker in gray, do you know that the green is going?
More than that — do you know that the yellow is showing?

Singer of songs, do you know that your youth is flying?
That Age will soon at the lock of your life be prying?

Lover of life, do you know that the brown is going?
More than that — do you know that the gray is showing?

from Pine, Rose and Fleur De Lis, 1891.

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

Seranus biography

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oxford Cheese Ode / James McIntyre

Oxford Cheese Ode

The ancient poets ne'er did dream
That Canada was land of cream,
They ne'er imagined it could flow
In this cold land of ice and snow,
Where everything did solid freeze,
They never hoped or looked for cheese.

A few years since our Oxford farms
Were nearly robbed of all their charms,
O'er cropped the weary land grew poor
And nearly barren as a moor,
But now the owners live at ease
Rejoicing in their crop of cheese.

And since they justly treat the soil,
Are well rewarded for their toil,
The land enriched by goodly cows,
Yields plenty now to fill their mows,
Both wheat and barley, oats and peas
But still their greatest boast is cheese.

And you must careful fill your mows
With good provender for your cows,
And in the winter keep them warm,
Protect them safe all time from harm,
For cows do dearly love their ease,
Which doth insure best grade of cheese.

To us it is a glorious theme
To sing of milk and curds and cream,
Were it collected it could float
Upon its bosom, small steam boat,
Cows numerous as swarm of bees
Are milked in Oxford to make cheese.

James McIntyre (1828-1906)
from Musings on the Banks of Canadian Thames, 1884

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

James McIntyre biography

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer Evening / Walter de la Mare

Summer Evening

The sandy cat by the Farmer's chair
Mews at his knee for dainty fare;
Old Rover in his moss-greened house
Mumbles a bone, and barks at a mouse
In the dewy fields the cattle lie
Chewing the cud 'neath a fading sky
Dobbin at manger pulls his hay:
Gone is another summer's day.

Walter de la Mare (1873-1956)
from Peacock Pie, 1913

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

Walter de la Mare biography

Friday, September 16, 2011

Between the dusk of a summer night /
William Ernest Henley


Between the dusk of a summer night
     And the dawn of a summer day,
We caught at a mood as it passed in flight,
     And we bade it stop and stay.
And what with the dawn of night began
     With the dusk of day was done;
For that is the way of woman and man,
     When a hazard has made them one.
Arc upon arc, from shade to shine,
     The World went thundering free;
And what was his errand but hers and mine --
     The lords of him, I and she?
O, it's die we must, but it's live we can,
     And the marvel of earth and sun
Is all for the joy of woman and man
     And the longing that makes them one.

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
from Hawthorne and Lavender, 1901

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Ernest Henley biography

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Morning in the Hills / Bliss Carman

Morning in the Hills

How quiet is the morning in the hills!
The stealthy shadows of the summer clouds
Trail through the cañon, and the mountain stream
Sounds his sonorous music far below
In the deep-wooded wind-enchanted cove.

Hemlock and aspen, chestnut, beech, and fir
Go tiering down from storm-worn crest and ledge,
While in the hollows of the dark ravine
See the red road emerge, then disappear
Towards the wide plain and fertile valley lands.

My forest cabin half-way up the glen
Is solitary, save for one wise thrush,
The sound of falling water, and the wind
Mysteriously conversing with the leaves.

Here I abide unvisited by doubt,
Dreaming of far-off turmoil and despair,
The race of men and love and fleeting time,
What life may be, or beauty, caught and held
For a brief moment at eternal poise.

What impulse now shall quicken and make live
This outward semblance and this inward self?
One breath of being fills the bubble world,
Colored and frail, with fleeting change on change.

Surely some God contrived so fair a thing
In the vast leisure of uncounted days,
And touched it with the breath of living joy,
Wondrous and fair and wise! It must be so.

Bliss Carman
from Echoes from Vagabondia, 1912

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

Bliss Carman biography by George Dance

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ballade of Summer's Sleep / Archibald Lampman

Ballade of Summer's Sleep

Sweet summer is gone; they have laid her away —
     The last sad hours that were touched with her grace —
In the hush where the ghosts of the dead flowers play;
    The sleep that is sweet of her slumbering space
Let not a sight or a sound erase
     Of the woe that hath fallen on all the lands:
Gather, ye dreams, to her sunny face,
     Shadow her head with your golden hands.

The woods that are golden and red for a day
     Girdle the hills in a jewelled case,
Like a girl’s strange mirth, ere the quick death slay
     The beautiful life that he hath in chase.
Darker and darker the shadows pace
     Out of the north to the southern sands,
Ushers bearing the winter’s mace:
     Keep them away with your woven hands.

The yellow light lies on the wide wastes gray,
     More bitter and cold than the winds that race,
From the skirts of the autumn, tearing away,
     This way and that way, the woodland lace.
In the autumn’s cheek is a hectic trace;
     Behind her the ghost of the winter stands;
Sweet summer will moan in her soft gray place:
     Mantle her head with your glowing hands.


Till the slayer be slain and the spring displace
     The might of his arms with her rose-crowned bands,
Let her heart not gather a dream that is base:
      Shadow her head with your golden hands.

Archibald Lampman
Among the Millet, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman biography by George Dance

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Song for September / Thomas William Parsons

A Song for September

September strews the woodland o'er
     With many a brilliant color;
The world is brighter than before,—
     Why should our hearts be duller?
Sorrow and the scarlet leaf,
     Sad thoughts and sunny weather!
Ah me! this glory and this grief
     Agree not well together.

This is the parting season,— this
     The time when friends are flying;
And lovers now, with many a kiss,
     Their long farewells are sighing.
Why is Earth so gayly dressed?
     This pomp, that Autumn beareth,
A funeral seems where every guest
     A bridal garment weareth.

Each one of us, perchance, may here,
     On some blue morn hereafter,
Return to view the gaudy year,
     But not with boyish laughter.
We shall then be wrinkled men,
     Our brows with silver laden,
And thou this glen may'st seek again,
     But nevermore a maiden!

Nature perhaps foresees that Spring
     Will touch her teeming bosom,
And that a few brief months will bring
     The bird, the bee, the blossom;
Ah! these forests do not know —
     Or would less brightly wither —
The virgin that adorns them so
     Will nevermore come hither!

Thomas William Parsons (1819-1892)
from Poems, 1854.

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thomas William Parsons biography

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In the Gardens of Shushan / Marjorie Pickthall

In the Gardens of Shushan

Be pitiful! Her lips have touched this cool
Clear stream that sets the long green leaves astir.
The very doves that dream beside the pool
     Sang their soft notes to her.

For her these doors that claim the amorous south,
Bound in red bronze and stayed with cedar-wood.
And here the bees sought honey from her mouth,
     So like a flower she stood.

For her the globed pomegranates grew, and all
Sweet savoury fruits rose perfect from their flower.
Here has her soul known silence and the fall
     Of each enchanted hour.

Under her feet all beauty was laid low,
In her deep eyes all beauty was made clear.
When the king called her through the evening glow,
     “O Vashti, I am here!”

Still the sweet wells return to me her face,
Still her lost name on every wind is blown.
The shadows and the silence of this place
     Are hers alone.

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

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

Marjorie Pickthall biography

Friday, September 9, 2011

Moonlight and Common Day / Louise Morey Bowman

Moonlight and Common Day

Listen — you very very Few who will care to listen —
And I will tell you a story
Of moonlight.
Don’t imagine because I try to tell stories of moonlight
That I am a poet — neurotic and mystic —

(Dearly as I love the things that some poets — neurotic and mystic —
Can write!)
As for me I love good food and beautiful clothing,
And well-ordered, punctual living
Behind tall, well-clipped hedges;
And practical, common-sense people.
But still ——

Let us open my casement window, Beloved,
Where the dark leaves stir in the silence,
And the sweet, wet earth breathes softly
And murmurs an exquisite word.
Any moment out into the moonlight may issue
White creatures, and elfin-formed things that we know not,
Quaintly and solemnly marching and chaunting inaudibly.
Something stirs by the willows—
Do you know what that sound is, so lovely and shuddering?
It’s the owl’s cry.
The grave, small, gray owl that in purple dusk comes sometimes
To sit on my window-sill, eyes open, dreaming,—
Hark how he is linking us in with the moonlight,
Like a horn faintly blown in blue heaven.
(Do you remember, Beloved, a night,
Glad years ago in a pine-wood,
In the moon-lighted darkness—
How the rhythmical thunder of waves on the white shore
Blended with us and our heart-beats, Beloved?)

Let us lean from the window
As if faintly-blown horns have called us to answer three questions.
Is Life food and raiment and conquest?
Is Love conquest and intrigue and passion?
Is Death a gaunt figure white-shrouded
Dealing blows out of blackness?
Let us fling back our eternal “No!” as an answer—
To the listening Silence,
While the sweet, wet earth still breathes softly
An exquisite word.

But tomorrow
I shall go right on living
As unworthy as ever of the moonlight
Locked up in my soul.

• • •

That is my story of moonlight—
No story at all, now say you?
But it all lies written
Between the lines.

Louise Morey Bowman (1882-1944)
from Moonlight and Common Day, 1922

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

Louise Morey Bowman biography 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Last Rose of Summer / Thomas Moore

The Last Rose of Summer

'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter,
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
From Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit,
This bleak world alone?

Thomas Moore
From Irish Melodies, 1807

[Poem is in the public domain]

About this poem

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Duet / T. Sturge Moore

A Duet

'Flowers nodding gaily, scent in air,
Flowers posied, flowers for the hair,
Sleepy flowers, flowers bold to stare —'
'O pick me some!'

'Shells with lip, or tooth, or bleeding gum,
Tell-tale shells, and shells that whisper Come,
Shells that stammer, blush, and yet are dumb —'
'O let me hear.'

'Eyes so black they draw one trembling near,
Brown eyes, caverns flooded with a tear,
Cloudless eyes, blue eyes so windy clear —'
'O look at me!'

'Kisses sadly blown across the sea,
Darkling kisses, kisses fair and free,
Bob-a-cherry kisses 'neath a tree —'
'O give me one!'

Thus sang a king and queen in Babylon.

T. Sturge Moore
from The Vinedresser and Other Poems, 1899

[All rights reserved by the author's estate - Please do not copy]

T. Sturge Moore biography

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Contemplation Upon Flowers / Henry King

A Contemplation Upon Flowers

Brave flowers -- that I could gallant it like you,
And be as little vain!
You come abroad, and make a harmless show,
And to your beds of earth again.
You are not proud: you know your birth:
For your embroider'd garments are from earth.

You do obey your months and times, but I
Would have it ever Spring:
My fate would know no Winter, never die,
Nor think of such a thing.
O that I could my bed of earth but view
And smile, and look as cheerfully as you!

O teach me to see Death and not to fear,
But rather to take truce!
How often have I seen you at a bier,
And there look fresh and spruce!
You fragrant flowers! then teach me, that my breath
Like yours may sweeten and perfume my death.

Henry King
from Poems, Elegies, Paradoxes and Sonnets, 1657.
[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Henry King biography

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Penny's Top 20 - August 2011

The 20 most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog during August 2011:

  1.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  August Night, Sara Teasdale 
  3.  Impression: Le Reveillon, Oscar Wilde 
  4.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  5.  Heat in the City, Charles G.D. Roberts

  6.  Look at the Stars!, Gerard Manley Hopkins
  7.  When You Are Old, W.B. Yeats
  8.  Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
  9,  Songs, Demonspawn
10.  Stony Lake, Katherine Hale

11.   A Fading of the Sun, Wallace Stevens
12.  The Unnamed Lake, Frederick George Scott
13.  Improvisations on the Flute, Marjorie Pickthall
14.  Lorelei's Song / Das Loreleylied, Heinrich Heine
15.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

16.  Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery
17.  Symbols, David Morton
18.  She walks in beauty, George Gordon, Lord Byron
19.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
20.  Good Books, Edgar Guest

Source: Blogger, "Stats"