Sunday, October 26, 2014

In October / Archibald Lampman

In October

Along the waste, a great way off, the pines,
     Like tall slim priests of storm, stand up and bar
The low long strip of dolorous red that lines
     The under west, where wet winds moan afar.
The cornfields all are brown, and brown the meadows
     With the blown leaves' wind-heaped traceries,
And the brown thistle stems that cast no shadows,
     And bear no bloom for bees.

As slowly earthward leaf by red leaf slips,
     The sad leaves rustle in chill misery,
A soft strange inner sound of pain-crazed lips,
     That move and murmur incoherently;
As if all leaves, that yet have breath, were sighing,
     With pale hushed throats, for death is at the door,
So many low soft masses for the dying
     Sweet leaves that live no more.

Here I will sit upon this naked stone,
     Draw my coat closer with my numbed hands,
And hear the ferns sigh, and the wet woods moan,
     And send my heart out to the ashen lands;
And I will ask myself what golden madness,
     What balmed breaths of dreamland spicery,
What visions of soft laughter and light sadness
     Were sweet last month to me.

The dry dead leaves flit by with thin weird tunes,
     Like failing murmurs of some conquered creed,
Graven in mystic markings with strange runes,
     That none but stars and biting winds may read;
Here I will wait a little; I am weary,
     Not torn with pain of any lurid hue,
But only still and very gray and dreary,
     Sweet sombre lands, like you.

Archibald Lampman (1861-1899)
from Among the Millet, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman biography

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Portrait of Autumn / Thomas Chatterton

from Aella: A tragycal enterlude:

When Autumn bleak and sunburnt doth appear
With golden hand gilding the falling leaf,
Bringing up Winter to fulfill the year,
Bearing upon his back the ripened sheaf,
When all the hills with woolly seed are white,
When lightning-fires and gleams do meet from far the sight;

When the fair apple, red as evening sky,
Down bends the tree unto the fruitful ground,
When juicy pears, and berries of black dye,
Do dance in air and tempt the taste around;
Then be the evening foul or evening fair,
Methinks that my heart's joy is marred with with some dark care.

Modernized by Charles Edward Russell (1860-1941)
from Thomas Chatterton: The marvelous boy, 1908

Whanne Autumpne blake and sonne-brente doe appere,
With hys goulde honde guylteynge the falleynge lefe,
Bryngeynge oppe Wynterr to folfylle the yere,
Beerynge uponne hys backe the riped shefe;
Whan al the hyls wythe woddie sede ys whyte;
Whanne levynne-fyres and lemes do mete from far the syghte;

Whann the fayre apple, rudde as even skie,
Do bende the tree unto the fructyle grounde;
When joicie peres, and berries of blacke die,
Doe daunce yn ayre, and call the eyne arounde;
Thann, bee the even foule or even fayre,
Meethynckes mie hartys joie ys steynced wyth somme care.

Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770)
from The Rowley Poems of Thomas Chatterton, 1911

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thomas Chatterton biography

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birds of Passage / Peter McArthur

Birds of Passage

When the maples flame with crimson
     And the nights are still with frost,
Ere the summer's luring beauty
     Is in autumn glory lost,
Through the marshes and the forests
     An imperious summons flies,
And from all the dreaming north-land
     The wild birds flock and rise.

From streams no oar hath rippled
     And lakes that waft no sail,
From reaches vast and lonely
     That know no hunter's trail,
The clamor of their calling
     And the whistling of their flight
Fill all the day with marvel,
     And with mystery, the night.

As ebb along the ocean
     The great obedient tides,
So wave on wave they journey
     Where an ancient wisdom guides;
A-through the haze of autumn
     They vanish down the wind,
With the summer world before them
     And the crowding storms behind.

Peter McArthur (1866-1924)
from The Prodigal, and other poems, 1907

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

Peter McArthur biography

Saturday, October 18, 2014

In Autumn / Alice Meynell

In Autumn

The leaves are many under my feet,
 And drift one way.
Their scent of death is weary and sweet.
 A flight of them is in the grey
Where sky and forest meet.

The low winds moan for dead sweet years;
 The birds sing all for pain,
Of a common thing, to weary ears,–
 Only a summer's fate of rain,
And a woman's fate of tears.

I walk to love and life alone
 Over these mournful places,
Across the summer overthrown,
 The dead joys of these silent faces,
To claim my own.

I know his heart has beat to bright
 Sweet loves gone by.
I know the leaves that die to-night
 Once budded to the sky,
And I shall die to his delight.

O leaves, so quietly ending now,
 You have heard cuckoos sing.
And I will grow upon my bough
 If only for a Spring,
And fall when the rain is on my brow.

O tell me, tell me ere you die,
 Is it worth the pain?
You bloomed so fair, you waved so high;
 Now that the sad days wane,
Are you repenting where you lie?

I lie amongst you, and I kiss
 Your fragrance mouldering.
O dead delights, is it such bliss,
 That tuneful Spring?
Is love so sweet, that comes to this?

O dying blisses of the year,
 I hear the young lamb bleat,
The clamouring birds i' the copse I hear,
 I hear the waving wheat,
Together laid on a dead-leaf bier.

Kiss me again as I kiss you;
 Kiss me again;
For all your tuneful nights of dew,
 In this your time of rain,
For all your kisses when Spring was new.

You will not, broken hearts; let be.
 I pass across your death
To a golden summer you shall not see,
 And in your dying breath
There is no benison for me.

There is an Autumn yet to wane,
 There are leaves yet to fall,
Which when I kiss, may kiss again,
 And, pitied, pity me all for all,
And love me in mist and rain.

Alice Meynell (1847-1922)
from Preludes, 1875

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

Alice Meynell biography

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Thanksgivings / trans. Harriet Maxwell Converse

The Thanksgivings

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter.
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees.
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars.
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit's music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

traditional Iroquois prayer
translated by Harriet Maxwell Converse (1836-1903)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Harriet Maxwell Converse biography

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Autumn / John Davidson



All the waysides now are flowerless;
     Soon the swallows shall be gone,
And the Hamadryads bowerless,
     And the waving harvest done;
But about the river sources
     And the meres,
And the winding watercourses,
     Summer smiles through parting tears.

Wanderers weary, oh, come hither
     Where the green-leaved willows bend;
Where the grasses never wither,
     Or the purling noises end;
O'er the serried sedge, late blowing,
     Surge and float
Golden flags, their shadows showing
     Deep as in a castle-moat.

Like a ruby of the mosses
     Here the marish pimpernel,
Glowing crimson, still embosses
     Velvet verdure with its bell;
And the scallop-leaved and splendid
By the maiden breezes tended,
     Wears her flowers of golden brede.

Water-plantain, rosy vagrant,
     Flings his garland on the wave;
Mint in midstream rises fragrant,
     Dressed in green and lilac brave;
And that spies may never harass
     In their baths
The shining naiads, purple arras
     Of the loosestrife veils the paths.


Aftermaths of pleasant green
     Bind the earth in emerald bands;
Pouring golden in between,
     Tides of harvest flood the lands.
Showers of sunlight splash and dapple
     The orchard park;
And there the plum hangs and the apple,
     Like smouldering gems and lanterns dark.

Let no shallow jester croak!
     Fill the barn and brim the bowl!
Here is harvest, starving folk,
     Here, with bread for every soul!
Rouse yourselves with happy ditties,
     And hither roam,
Forsaking your enchanted cities
     To keep the merry harvest-home.

Surely now there needs no sigh!
     Bid the piper bring his pipe;
Sound aloud the harvest cry —
     Once again the earth is ripe!
Golden grain in sunlight sleeping,
     When winds are laid,
Can dream no dismal dream of weeping
     Where broken-hearted women fade.

More than would for all suffice
     From the earth's broad bosom pours;
Yet in cities wolfish eyes
     Haunt the windows and the doors.
Mighty One in Heaven who carvest
     The sparrows' meat,
Bid the hunger and the harvest
     Come together we entreat!

Aftermaths of pleasant green
     Bind the earth in emerald bands;
Pouring golden in between
     Tides of harvest flood the lands.
Let the wain roll home with laughter,
     The piper pipe,
And let the girls come dancing after,
     For once again the earth is ripe.

John Davidson (1857-1909)
from Ballads and Songs, 1898

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Davidson biography

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October / Hilaire Belloc


Look, how those steep woods on the mountain's face
Burn, burn against the sunset; now the cold
Invades our very noon: the year's grown old,
Mornings are dark, and evenings come apace.
The vines below have lost their purple grace,
And in Forreze the white wrack backward rolled,
Hangs to the hills tempestuous, fold on fold,
And moaning gusts make desolate all the place.

Mine host the month, at thy good hostelry,
Tired limbs I'll stretch and steaming beast I'll tether;
Pile on great logs with Gascon hand and free,
And pour the Gascon stuff that laughs at weather;
Swell your tough lungs, north wind, no whit care we,
Singing old songs and drinking wine together.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
from Sonnets and Verse, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Hilaire Belloc biography

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The birds that sing on autumn eves / Robert Bridges

from Shorter Poems, Book IV:


The birds that sing on autumn eves
Among the golden-tinted leaves,
Are but the few that true remain
Of budding May's rejoicing train.
Like autumn flowers that brave the frost,
And make their show when hope is lost,
These 'mong the fruits and mellow scent
Mourn not the high-sunned summer spent.
Their notes thro' all the jocund spring
Were mixed in merry musicking :
They sang for love the whole day long,
But now their love is all for song.
Now each hath perfected his lay
To praise the year that hastes away:
They sit on boughs apart, and vie
In single songs and rich reply:
And oft as in the copse I hear
These anthems of the dying year,
The passions, once her peace that stole,
With flattering love my heart console.

Robert Bridges (1844-1930)
from Shorter Poems, 1890

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

Robert Bridges biography

Saturday, October 4, 2014

To Autumn / John Keats

To Autumn


    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
            To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
        And still more, later flowers for the bees,
        Until they think warm days will never cease,
            For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
        Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
        Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
        Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
            Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
        Steady thy laden head across a brook;
        Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
            Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
        Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
        And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
        Among the river sallows, borne aloft
            Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
        Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
        The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
           And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats (1795-1821)
from Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and other poems, 1820

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Keats biography

Friday, October 3, 2014

Penny's Top 20 / September 2014

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

  1.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  2.  The Harvest Moon, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3.  Hurrahing in Harvest, Gerard Manley Hopkins
  4.  Summer's Farewell, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  5.  September, Archibald Lampman
  6.  It's September, Edgar Guest
  7.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts

Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
10.  Before Harvest, W.M. MacKeracher

11.  September Midnight, Sara Teasdale
Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
13.  Harvest Dust, Winifred Welles
14.  Free Fantasia on Japanese Themes, Amy Lowell
15.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme

16.  The Idlers, Pauline Johnson
An August Wood Road, Charles G.D. Roberts
18.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
19.  Now Thrice Welcome Christmas, William Winstanley

Rejoice this Day, Govinda Krishna Chettur

Source: Blogger, "Stats"