Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring is like a perhaps hand / E.E. Cummings


Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

E.E. Cummings
from &, 1925

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunny March / Norman Gale

Sunny March

The hedge is full of houses
And the houses full of eggs,
For it's Spring!

So the yellowhammer tinkles
To the hawthorn green again,
On the wing.

The sparrow, he the gymnast,
Swings more boldly on his spray
In the sun,

And the mavis floods the orchard
With an air too fine for June,
Trill and run.

Now my milking-maid is waiting
By the haystack for a kiss,
In the dusk ;

So I clasp my Love in lilac,
Dearly sweet with double scent,
Milk and musk !

Norman Gale
from A Country Muse: Second series, 1895

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Again / George J. Dance

Spring Again

It's spring again, and I am with Maureen.
I'd add, "thank God for that" (if I believed)
For, frozen as in high beams, I have seen
Oncoming dread: one dead and one bereaved.
No hope for us to live eternally
Or garner brave new bodies after death;
No more than this, the thought impelling me
To get untharn, to fight for every breath –
A battle till the setting of each sun,
A victory each sunset we survive,
Another day my love and I have won
And death has lost. Today we are alive,
     This world is ours, its grass and trees are green,
     It's spring again, and I am with Maureen.

George J. Dance, 2010
from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015

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

George J. Dance biography

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring's Beacon / Margaret Deland

Spring's Beacon

Through the misty woodlands bare,
By the meadows brown and dead,
In the damp and chilly air,
Stand the maples tipped with red;

They are flaring signals bright,
Wav'ring 'gainst the dull, cold sky,
Heralding with ruddy light,
That the cheerful Spring is nigh.

In their kindling, flaming boughs,
Wooing Robins love and sing,
Swearing all their pretty vows,
" By the Beacon of the Spring!"

Crimson on the Robin's breast,
Crimson on the growing tree
Life and Love alike are drest,
Love and Life have come to me.

Crimson on my Love's soft cheeks
Does her sweet, shy thought confess,
When from out her heart she speaks,
To my heart the longed-for " Yes ! "

Margaret Deland
from The Old Garden, and other verses, 1886

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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Seeking the Spring / Katharine Lee Bates

Seeking the Spring

Two shepherds sate in a cavern gate
     And plained for the frozen rills,
The pale clouds low with the heavy snow,
     And the flock-forsaken hills.
Their empty pipes on their silent lips
     Lay chill as the icy spears
That grow where the snow from the tree-bough drips
     Like a wood-nymph's falling tears,
A nymph hid dark in the rugged bark
     From the unbelieving years.

"I will go," saith one, "to seek the Sun,
     And his daughter, the Spring, to spy,
In the windy east where they lie and feast
     In a nook of the misted sky."
So he clasped his pipe to his songless breast,
     The shepherd who sought the Spring,
And left his fellow to scorn the quest
     And wait for her steps to bring
The music gift that his heart should lift
     To the level where high hearts sing.

'Neath the morning star, by the ocean far,
     The seeker the Spring did find.
With a timid grace she had hid her face
     In a veil of inwoven wind,
Where shining raindrops, and calls of birds,
     And odors of buds awake,
Touched the shepherd's lips with a sense of words,
     And he sang, for the Spring's sweet sake,
Till the snow-bound woods and the frosted floods
     The chains of their bondage brake.

Then the Spring danced on till her white feet shone
     On the slope of the western wave,
And the shepherd rose from his dim repose,
     Who had slumbered within the cave;
But every blossom had seen the Spring
     And was brimmed with her scent and hue,
And every thrush in his leafy swing
     Knew all that the shepherd knew.
Who would care to hear, though he carolled clear,
     When the soft spring breezes blew ?

Katharine Lee Bates
from The College Beautiful, and other poems, 1887.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Between Winter and Spring / Lucy Larcom

Between Winter and Spring

That weary time that comes between
The last snow and the earliest green!
One barren clod the wide fields lie,
And all our comfort is the sky.

We know the sap is in the tree,—
That life at buried roots must be;
Yet dreary is the earth we tread,
As if her very soul were dead.

Before the dawn the darkest hour!
The blank and chill before the flower!
Beauty prepares this background gray
Whereon her loveliest tints to lay.

Ah, patience! ere we dream of it,
Spring's fair new gospel will be writ.
Look up! good only can befall,
While heaven is at the heart of all!

Lucy Larcom
from Wild Roses of Cape Ann, and other poems, 1881

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Lucy Larcom biography

Sunday, March 9, 2014

To the Thawing Wind / Robert Frost

To the Thawing Wind

Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snow-bank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate'er you do to-night,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ices go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit's crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o'er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

Robert Frost
from A Boy's Will, 1915

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

Robert Frost biography

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Roaring Frost / Alice Meynell

The Roaring Frost

A flock of winds came winging from the North,
Strong birds with fighting pinions driving forth
      With a resounding call!

Where will they close their wings and cease their cries
Between what warming seas and conquering skies
      And fold, and fall? 

Alice Meynell
from The Shepherdess, and other verses, 1913

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

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Snowdrift / F.O. Call

The Snowdrift 

The snowflakes fell on a mountain peak,
Where the rocks were bare and the winds were bleak,
And at first they clung to the mountain's breast,
But soon they fell from its lofty crest,
And stained and soiled was the new-born snow
When it reached the valley far down below.

But up on the height one drift alone
Still firmly clung to the rugged stone.
And men in the gloomy vale below
Looked up and gazed on the shining snow.
And their darkened souls drank in the light
From the gleaming snow on the mountain height.

Unstained by the grime of the earthly vale.
Its white breast firm in the strongest gale.
It bravely clung to its lofty height
And gleamed afar with its glorious light,
Till kissed by the sun and the summer rain.
It rose in mist to the skies again.

F.O. Call
from In a Belgian Garden, and other poems, 1917

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

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Winter on the Zuyder Zee / Radclyffe Hall

Winter on the Zuyder Zee

The world has grown unreal to-day
Far out upon the Zuyder Zee!
We drift towards a mystic isle,
With scarce a breath of wind the while.
I hear the murmur of the tide,
I hear you breathing at my side,
Far out upon the Zuyder Zee.

The drearness of this inland sea!
Doomed thus to lie eternally
A fettered slave, grown old between
The dykes and marshes low and green,
Devoid of wind to stir the deep
Forgotten heart, so long asleep,
Oh! sorrow-ladened Zuyder Zee!

This awful hush engulfing things!
The noon-tide hangs with outspread wings
Above the ship, all motionless.
The penitential sails confess
Their sad inertness, damp and brown,
From silent masts they ripple down
Towards the lifeless Zuyder Zee.

I almost think that you and I
Are floating on a haze of sky,
This is an unknown sphere of dreams,
Or else some region where the beams
Of daylight that have died unblessed
By some kind thought stray seeking rest,
Along the wastes of Zuyder Zee.

How strange to know that youth is ours!
That do we choose a world of flowers
And sunlight waiting to our hand
Is calling for some gladder land,
So easy to attain, yet lo!
We drift amid the mist and woe
Of winter on the Zuyder Zee.

Is there a subtle charm, when sad
Despairing nature makes the glad
Rejoicing spirit pause to think,
Of those dim depths to which may sink
The soul immortal? Where the mind
May grow as sodden as a wind
That dies upon the Zuyder Zee?

When all our loving and our will
To love for ever can't fulfil
Love's promises for age and death?
That like a hushed, unwholesome breath,
From off the marshes in the night
Steals forth, and all our past delight
Is colder than the Zuyder Zee?

The very thought that death is near
Perchance makes life seem doubly dear,
And love more urgent, since they two
May some day fade away, and you
Become a spectral memory,
Devoid of joy! and what of me
Oh! wise, world-weary Zuyder Zee?

Your endless depth of stark despair
But renders sunlit things more fair,
But makes the craving heart more strong
To grasp its pleasures, short or long,
While yet it is To-day, nor wait
Upon the will of doubtful fate,
Lest all emotion rendered numb
With long suppression should become
As you are, soulless Zuyder Zee !

Radclyffe Hall
from A Sheaf of Verses, 1908

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

Radclyffe Hall biography

Penny's Top 20 / February 2014

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in February 2014:

  1.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  Round the Mercury, George J. Dance
  3.  Night (Fall), George J. Dance 
  4.  A Snowshoe Song, Arthur Weir
  5.  Hockey War, David Pekrul
  6.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau
The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  8.  Toboggan, Ben King

  9.  The Skier, Douglas E. Williams

10.  The Snow-Storm, Ralph Waldo Emerson 

11.  Skating, William Wordsworth
 Winter Sleep, Edith M. Thomas
13.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
14.  September 1819, William Wordsworth
15.  Accompaniment, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau

16.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
18.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
19.  1914. IV. The Dead, Rupert Brooke

20.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Penny's Top 100 of 2013

Penny's Top 100
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in 2013:

  1,  Penny,or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  2.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  4.  Penny's OS 2.0, George J. Dance
  4.  Men Made Out of Words, Wallace Stevens
  5.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens

  6.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
  7.  Night (Fall), George J. Dance
  8.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme
  9.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
10.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau

11.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
12.  Petit the Poet, Edgar Lee Masters
13.  Sensation, Arthur Rimbaud
14.  January, John Clare
15.  Accompaniment, Hector de Saint Denys Garneau

16.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
17.  Mars & Avril, George J. Dance
18.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
19.  Poem in October, Dylan Thomas
20.  Wind and Silver, Amy Lowell

21.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
22.  The Cherry Tree, A.E. Housman
23.  Life is But a Dream, Lewis Carroll
24.  Dead or Alive / Clay Dreams, R.K. Singh
25.  Christmas Eve, Edgar Guest

26.  Romance Novel, Arthur Rimbaud
27.  October, J. Lewis  Milligan
28.  In June and Gentle Oven, Anne Hutchinson
29.  In Just-spring, E.E. Cummings
30.  A Sonnet of the Moon, Charles Best

31.  The Christmas Silence, Margaret Deland
32.  Jonah, AE Reiff
33.  Ganesha Girl on Rankin, Will Dockery
34.  Spring Floods, Arthur Stringer
35.  November Surf, Robinson Jeffers

36.  March, John Clare
37.  Things, Aline Kilmer
38.  The Motive for Metaphor, Wallace Stevens
39.  The Day is Waning, Katharine Lee Bates
40.  Pro Patria Mortui, Helena Coleman

41.  When Summer Comes, Sophia Almon Hensley
42.  Ode to the West Wind, Percy Bysshe Shelley
43.  Christmas Song, Bliss Carman
44.  If You were a Rose and I were the Sun, Radclyffe Hall
45.  October, John Clare

46.  A Greek Idyl, Mortimer Collins
47.  December, John Davidson
48.  December, Christopher Pearce Cranch
49.  Autumn, Walter de la Mare
50.  A Christmas Carol for 1862, George Macdonald

51.  End of Winter in Long Island, Marjory Nicholls
52.  To Blossoms, Robert Herrick
53.  Lines Written in Early Spring, William Wordsworth
54.  When I Heard at the Close of the Day, Walt Whitman
55.  The Wild Swans at Coole, W.B. Yeats

56.  Spring Morning, A.A. Milne
57.  Autumn Ballad, Henry Abbey
58.  Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen
59.  In a drear-nighted December, John Keats
60.  The Potato Harvest, Charles G.D. Roberts

61.  Vowels, Arthur Rimbaud
62.  When the Ash-Tree Buds and the Maples, Duncan Campbell Scott
63.  May Wind, Sara Teasdale
64.  In May, F. Sackett
65.  The Spring Returns!, Charles Leonard Moore

66.  The Poems of our Climate, Wallace Stevens
67.  In June, Albert E.S. Smyth
68.  The Winters are so short, Emily Dickinson
69.  In Memoriam (Easter, 1915), Edward Thomas
70.  The Piping Mountainy Man, Edward J. O'Brien

71.  Summer-Moon, Gertrude Hall
72.  In Spring, Aline Kilmer
73.  Songs, Demonspawn
74.  November, F.W. Harvey
75.  The Bells, Edgar Allan Poe

76.  When Spring comes on, Charles Leonard Moore
77.  February, John Clare
78.  A Rhyme About an Electrical Advertising Sign, Vachel Lindsay
79.  It Was Upon, Edward Thomas
80.  A Winter's Day in California, James Alexander Tucker

81.  The Summer Sunshine, John Askham
82.  Snow-flakes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
83.  May Evening in Central Park, Amy Lowell
84.  If thou must love me, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
85.  The Hawk, Raymond Knister

86.  Bramble-Hill, William Allingham
87.  A June-Tide Echo, Amy Levy
88.  A Memory of June, Claude Mackay
89.  O, thou whose face has felt the winter's wind, John Keats
90.  January, Helen Hunt Jackson

91.  The Snow-Fairy, Claude Mackay
92.  April, John Clare
93.  Easter Week, Joyce Kilmer
94.  A Day in June, James Russell Lowell
95.  Easter Day, Oscar Wilde

96.  The Donkey, G.K. Chesterton
97.  Adam's Curse, W.B. Yeats
98.  The Call of the Green, Laurence Alma-Tadema
99.  Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, Wallace Stevens
100 Mother, Lola Ridge