Sunday, February 26, 2012

To Winter / Claude McKay

To Winter

Stay, season of calm love and soulful snows!
 There is a subtle sweetness in the sun,
 The ripples on the stream's breast gaily run,
 The wind more boisterously by me blows,
 And each succeeding day now longer grows.
 The birds a gladder music have begun,
 The squirrel, full of mischief and of fun, \
From maples' topmost branch the brown twig throws.
 I read these pregnant signs, know what they mean:
 I know that thou art making ready to go.
 Oh stay! I fled a land where fields are green
 Always, and palms wave gently to and fro,
And winds are balmy, blue brooks ever sheen,
 To ease my heart of its impassioned woe.

Claude McKay
from Harlem Shadows, 1922

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

Claude McKay biography

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Afternoon in February / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Afternoon in February

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
from The Belfry of Bruges, and other poems, 1845

[Poem is in the public domain]

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow biography

Monday, February 20, 2012

To February / Ethelwyn Wetherald

To February

O Master-Builder, blustering as you go
About your giant work, transforming all
The empty woods into a glittering hall,
And making lilac lanes and footpaths grow
As hard as iron under stubborn snow,
Though every fence stand forth a marble wall,
And windy hollows drift to arches tall,
There comes a might that shall your might o'erthrow.
Build high your white and dazzling palaces,
Strengthen your bridges, fortify your towers,
Storm with a loud and a portentious lip;
And April with a fragmentary breeze,
And half a score of gentle, golden hours,
Shall leave no trace of your stern workmanship.

Ethelwyn Wetherald
from The House of the Trees and Other Poems, 1895

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

Ethelwyn Wetherald biography

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Now winter nights enlarge / Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
And cups o’erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love,
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

Thomas Campion
from The Third and Fourth Book of Ayres, 1617

[Poem is in the public domain]

Thomas Campion biography

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ballade of Tristram's Last Harping /
Gertrude Bartlett

Ballade of Tristram's Last Harping

The end that Love doth seek, what bard can say,
     In that fair season when the tender green
Of opening leaves doth roof the woods of May,
     And sweet wild buds from out their places lean
To touch the dainty feet that heedless stray
     Among them, with a youth in knight's attire?
His lady's will capricious to obey,
     This is the end of dawning Love's desire.

And when amid the summer's bright array
     Of blossoms, are the crimson roses seen,
And one young maid, fairer than any spray
     In perfect bloom, wanders their lines between,
What blessed solace can the lover pray
     Of her compassion, for his heart of fire?
With kisses on her mouth all words to stay –
     This is the end of eager Love's desire.

With driven clouds the lowering sky is grey;
     The winds above the frozen hills are keen,
And all fair buds have fallen in decay;
     What joy hath now the true knight of his Queen
No rapture less exultant can allay
     His need, than softly craves this faulty lyre:
To answer all his pleading with sweet 'Yea' –
     This is the end of yearning Love's desire.


Beloved, now is done our life's brief day;
     Not with the day howe'er doth Love expire.
Within thine arms the night to dream away –
    This is the end of Love's supreme desire.

Gertrude Bartlett
from Canadian Poets, 1916

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

Gertrude Bartlett biography

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Afterglow / George J. Dance


My darling, on this night of Valentine's, 
Excuse me while I find a way to say 
I love you, knowing I could never pay 
For thirty years with only fourteen lines. 
But let me try to say just what I mean: 
That in the depths of February's chill, 
As long as I can have you with me still, 
It never will be dark or cold, Maureen; 
For, holding you and looking at the snow, 
     I see a light from thirty years ago 
Still blazing, gleaming, dazzling all below! 
And looking in your eyes, Maureen, I know 
     A passion from as many years ago, 
Which warms my body with its afterglow. 

George J. Dance 

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When Yon Full Moon / W.H. Davies

When Yon Full Moon

When yon full moon's with her white fleet of stars,
   And but one bird makes music in the grove;
When you and I are breathing side by side,
   Where our two bodies make one shadow, love;

Not for her beauty will I praise the moon,

   But that she lights thy purer face and throat;
The only praise I'll give the nightingale
   Is that she draws from thee a richer note.

For, blinded with thy beauty, I am filled,
   Like Saul of Tarsus, with a greater light;
When he had heard that warning voice in Heaven,
   And lost his eyes to find a deeper sight.

Come, let us sit in that deep silence then,
   Launched on love's rapids, with our passions proud,
That makes all music hollow – though the lark
   Raves in his windy heights above a cloud.

W.H. Davies (1871-1940)
from Georgian Poetry 1918-1919, 1919

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

W.H. Davies biography

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February / Helen Hunt Jackson


Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are the days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will:
Fit days, ere yet the spring rains blur the sight,
Ere yet the bounding blood grows hot with haste,
And dreaming thoughts grow heavy with a greed
The ardent summer's joy to have and taste;
Fit days, to give to last year's losses heed,
To reckon clear the new life's sterner need;
Fit days, for Feast of Expiation placed!

Helen Hunt Jackson 
from A Calendar of Sonnets, 1891 

 [Poem is in the public domain]

Helen Hunt Jackson biography

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whiteout / George J. Dance


White flakes peeling
from a leprous sky.
Death is in the air.

George J. Dance

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Winter Fields / Charles G.D. Roberts

The Winter Fields 

Winds here, and sleet, and frost that bites like steel.
     The low bleak hill rounds under the low sky.
     Naked of flock and fold the fallows lie,
Thin streaked with meagre drift. The gusts reveal
By fits the dim grey snakes of fence, that steal
     Through the white dusk. The hill-foot poplars sigh,
     While storm and death with winter trample by,
And the iron fields ring sharp, and blind lights reel.

Yet in the lonely ridges, wrenched with pain,
     Harsh solitary hillocks, bound and dumb,
Grave glebes close-lipped beneath the scourge and chain,
     Lurks hid the germ of ecstasy — the sum
Of life that waits on summer, till the rain
     Whisper in April and the crocus come.

Charles G.D. Roberts
from Songs of the Common Day, 1893

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

Charles G.D. Roberts biography

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In February / Alice Meynell

In February 

 Rich meanings of the prophet-Spring adorn,
 Unseen, this colourless sky of folded showers,
 And folded winds; no blossom in the bowers;
 A poet's face asleep in this grey morn.
 Now in the midst of the old world forlorn
 A mystic child is set in these still hours.
 I keep this time, even before the flowers,
 Sacred to all the young and the unborn.

 To all the miles and miles of unsprung wheat,
 And to the Spring waiting beyond the portal,
 And to the future of my own young art,
 And, among all these things, to you, my sweet,
 My friend, to your calm face and the immortal
 Child tarrying all your life-time in your heart.

Alice Meynell 
from Preludes, 1875

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

Alice Meynell biography

Friday, February 3, 2012

Penny's Top 20 - January 2012

The 20 most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog during January 2012:

  1.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
  2.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  3.  Vowels / Voyelles, Arthur Rimbaud
  4.  The Huron Carol, trans. J. Edgar Middleton
  5.   Lines: The cold earth slept below, Percy Bysshe Shelley

  6.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  7.  The Book of Wisdom, Stephen Crane
  8.  The Year, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  9.  Wind and Silver, Amy Lowell
10.  The Old Year, John Clare

11.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
12.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
13.  Songs, Demonspawn
14.  Horatian Ode 1.9. trans. Charles Stuart Calverley
15.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme

16.  Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery
17.  Lucky Penny, George Dance
18.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
19.  September Night, George Dance 
20.  November, F.W. Harvey

Source: Blogger, "Stats"