Sunday, November 29, 2015

The night is freezing fast / A.E. Housman


The night is freezing fast,
    To-morrow comes December;
          And winterfalls of old
Are with me from the past;
    And chiefly I remember
          How Dick would hate the cold.

Fall, winter, fall; for he,
    Prompt hand and headpiece clever,
          Has woven a winter robe,
And made of earth and sea
    His overcoat for ever,
          And wears the turning globe.

A.E. Housman (1859-1936)
from Last Poems, 1922

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

A.E. Housman biography

Saturday, November 28, 2015

My November Guest / Robert Frost

My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
  Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
  She walks the sodden pasture lane.    

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
  She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
  Is silver now with clinging mist.    

The desolate, deserted trees,
  The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
  And vexes me for reason why.      

Not yesterday I learned to know
  The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
  And they are better for her praise.    

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from A Boy's Will, 1913

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dirge / Helen Dudley


A night of strange longing
Of dark unrest
Has fallen over the sands.

Like ghosts that are thronging,
Pale shapes from the waters  
Arise and I see their hands.

I hear a faint weeping;
Autumn is dead;
Withered the leaves on the ground.

A gray mist is creeping    
Out of the north
With the stealth of an Indian’s hound.

Helen Dudley 
from Poetry, December 1917

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

Helen Dudley biography

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pine River Bay / Dorothy Dudley

Pine River Bay

The mimics dance in the cities,
Pavlowa in New York;
Death dances in Europe —
Like a bottle without cork,
Life loses its contents —
While the mimics dance in New York,
Offering the glories
Fabled in old stories.

But the leaves dance in the forest,
Gold and scarlet in the north;
And the gray waves dance,
And the wind stalks forth—
Like torn paper lanterns,
Like confetti in the north,
Leaves are whirling about,
A purple pallid rout.

Trees burn among the pines,
Rose and yellow torches;
The summer guests are gone,
Nobody sweeps their porches —  
Two or three lumbermen
Among the golden torches
Swing huge sledge hammers,
While the gray lake clambers.

Two of them love whiskey,
One has loved the sea;
All of them have faces
The wind has carved in glee.
The mimics dance in the cities,
Death across the sea —
Leaves dance in the north,
And the deer run forth.

Dorothy Dudley (1884-1962)
from Poetry, December 1917

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

Dorothy Dudley biography

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Toward Evening / Margaret DeLaughter

Toward Evening

The poppies just outside my door
  Still flaunt their crimson loveliness.
How can they blossom any more,
  Now I have lost my happiness?

Not any grief of mine can mar    
  The beauty of this tranquil weather.
Each evening, with the first pale star,
  Comes that same thrush we loved together,

And pours gold notes from every bough
  Of his old sacred apple-tree.  
But he has lost his magic now —
  He cannot sing you back to me.

Margaret DeLaughter
from Poetry, August 1921

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

Margaret DeLaughter biography

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Once Like a Light / AE Reiff

Once Like A Light

Once like a light in a sculpted city
That now lies dark under fallow ground,
So once the land unknown was full and free,
With cedarn  hill and golden meadow found.
I traveled to dawn, went toward the sun
To see this marvelous land, and it was good,
But there I saw a siege works and a gun,
Within the nation tops of watchtowers stood.

I went from the mountains to mourn the nations,
To grieve the fury, destruction and the death,
For over them I saw terror advancing,
Fear from the south, destruction from the north.
Below there stretched a molten lake,
Which sunset proved to be the blood of men,
It rose to the height of a horse’s bridle,
And flowed away with the rain.

I looked in the holy book, inquired
After this fair land, its destiny,
I sought thus many days and nights,
But I had no eyes with which to see.
Wars of Magog, northern powers and lands,
Decrees of pestilence and blood, hailstones,
Fire and valleys of bone and I closed the book,
This knowledge was too much for me.

I sat to await the tumult’s fall
When I heard a voice of thunder,
And turned to see as if one called from water,
And saw the form of a man.
I was lifted upward from the sun,
There it was, between the earth and heaven,
I saw all things were written in a book,
Which I read not for they are soon to come.

Then one said, these people need a warning,
Son of man how shall they hear?
I cried for grace but his eyes were fire
That pierced the cloud where I had hid my fear.
You shall go lest they escape their doom.
You shall go. Though I feared bitterly
When his hand was thus upon me,
Yes, I said, here I am LORD, sent me.

What is the fate of the beautiful people,
Will they win in the end? What of the siege,
How far does the field extend?
What is not written is told alone by age,
But the warning is not for them,
But lands turned inland far from sea.
Yes LORD, will you not send me to the beautiful,
Lest the day come and they know it not?

Such a strong and handsome people,
Theirs is a marvelous land, good above others,
Shall they not hear the warning voice?
Amen and Amen, so be it then,
There thy voice shall dwell.
I know this peoples’ boundless beauty,
But their foreheads are as flint.
A diamond shall thy forehead be,

Thy words a new sharped sword,
Lest they hear me and restore my word,
I give thee the vision of the land.
And he gave me a colored glass to see with,
And a written scroll to speak the warning word.
I opened my mouth and ate the scroll
And knew the words that it spoke,
And warning to the people thus I took.

AE Reiff, 2015

Encouragements for Planting

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Battle of Blenheim / Robert Southey

The Battle of Blenheim

It was a summer evening,
     Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
     Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
     Roll something large and round
Which he beside the rivulet
     In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
     Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
     And with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.

"I find them in the garden,
     For there's many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
     The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in that great victory."

"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
     Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
     With wonder-waiting eyes;
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for."

"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
     "Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for
     I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
"That 'twas a famous victory.

"My father lived at Blenheim then,
     Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
     And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

"With fire and sword the country round
     Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
     And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

"They said it was a shocking sight
     After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
     Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
     And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
     Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay ... nay ... my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory."

"And everybody praised the Duke
     Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
     Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why, that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."

Robert Southey (1774-1843)
from Metrical Tales, and other poems, 1805

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Southey biography

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Feuilles d'Automne / Duncan Campbell Scott

Feuilles d'Automne

Gather the leaves from the forest
  And blow them over the world,
The wind of winter follows
  The wind of autumn furled.

Only the beech tree cherishes
  A leaf or two for ruth,
Their stems too tough for the tempest,
  Like thoughts of love and of youth.

You may sit by the fire and ponder
  While darkness veils the pane,
And fear that your memories are rushing away
  In the wind and the rain.

But you'll find them in the quiet
  When the clouds race with the moon,
Making the tender silver sound
  Of a beech in the month of June.

For you cannot rob the memory
  Of the leaves it loves the best;
The wind of time may harry them,
  It rushes away with the rest.

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)
from Lundy's Lane, and other poems, 1916

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

Duncan Campbell Scott biography

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Falling of the Leaves / W.B. Yeats

The Falling of the Leaves

Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,
And over the mice in the barley sheaves;
Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,
And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves.

The hour of the waning of love has beset us,
And weary and worn are our sad souls now;
Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us,
With a kiss and a tear on thy drooping brow.

William Butler Yeats
from Poems, 1895

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

William Butler Yeats biography

Monday, November 2, 2015

Penny's Top 20 / October 2015

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in October 2015:

  1.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  2.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 
  3.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  4.  Purple, Glenn Ward Dresbach
  5.  The Poet's Hat, Robert Fuller Murray
  6.  October, Robert Frost
  7.  October, Ethelwyn Wetherald

  8.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme

  9.  Call Back Our Dead, F.G. Scott

10.  Autumn Orchards, Clark Ashton Smith

11.  Autumn, Gladys Cromwell
12.  Indian Summer, Edna Dean Proctor

13.  Mid-October, Helen Birch Bartlett
14.  October, Jewell Bothwell Tull
Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
16.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
17.  October, Ellis Parker Butler
18.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
19.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
20.  In June and Gentle Oven, Anne Wilkinson

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

There's Nothing Like the Sun / Edward Thomas

There's Nothing Like the Sun

There's nothing like the sun as the year dies,
Kind as it can be, this world being made so,
To stones and men and beasts and birds and flies,
To all things that it touches except snow,
Whether on mountain side or street of town.
The south wall warms me: November has begun,
Yet never shone the sun as fair as now
While the sweet last-left damsons from the bough
With spangles of the morning's storm drop down
Because the starling shakes it, whistling what
Once swallows sang. But I have not forgot
That there is nothing, too, like March's sun,
Like April's, or July's, or June's, or May's,
Or January's, or February's, great days:
And August, September, October, and December
Have equal days, all different from November.
No day of any month but I have said —
Or, if I could live long enough, should say —
"There's nothing like the sun that shines to-day"
There's nothing like the sun till we are dead.

Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
from Poems, 1917

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

Edward Thomas biography