Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lana Turner has collapsed! / Frank O'Hara


Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966)
from Lunch Poems, 1964

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Frank O'Hara biography

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A January Dandelion / George Marion McClellan

A January Dandelion

All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere
Like desert sand, when the winds blow,
There is each moment sifted through the air,
A powdered blast of January snow.
O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled
By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,
Was folly growth and blooming over soon.
And yet, thou blasted yellow-coated gem,
Full many a heart has but a common boon
With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem.
When the heart has bloomed by the touch of love’s warm breath
Then left and chilling snow is sifted in,
It still may beat but there is blast and death
To all that blooming life that might have been.

George Marion McClellan (1860-1934)
from Poems, 1895

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

George Marion McClellan biography

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January / Folgore de San Geminiano


For January I give you vests of skins,
     And mighty fires in hall, and torches lit;
     Chambers and happy beds with all things fit;
Smooth silken sheets, rough furry counterpanes;
And sweetmeats baked; and one that deftly spins
     Warm arras; and Douay cloth, and store of it;
     And on this merry manner still to twit
The wind, when most his mastery the wind wins.
Or issuing forth at seasons in the day,
     Ye'll fling soft handfuls of the fair white snow
Among the damsels standing round, in play:
     And when you all are tired and all aglow,
Indoors again the court shall hold its sway,
    And the free Fellowship continue so.

Folgore de San Geminiano (?1270-1332?)
translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
from The Early Italian Poets, 1861

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Folgore de San Geminiano biography
Dante Gabriel Rossetti biography

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 1939 / Dylan Thomas

January 1939

Because the pleasure-bird whistles after the hot wires,
Shall the blind horse sing sweeter?
Convenient bird and beast lie lodged to suffer
The supper and knives of a mood.
In the sniffed and poured snow on the tip of the tongue of the year
That clouts the spittle like bubbles with broken rooms,
An enamoured man alone by the twigs of his eyes, two fires,
Camped in the drug-white shower of nerves and food,
Savours the lick of the times through a deadly wood of hair
In a wind that plucked a goose,
Nor ever, as the wild tongue breaks its tombs,
Rounds to look at the red, wagged root.
Because there stands, one story out of the bum city,
That frozen wife whose juices drift like a fixed sea
Secretly in statuary,
Shall I, struck on the hot and rocking street,
Not spin to stare at an old year
Toppling and burning in the muddle of towers and galleries
Like the mauled pictures of boys?
The salt person and blasted place
I furnish with the meat of a fable.
If the dead starve, their stomachs turn to tumble
An upright man in the antipodes
Or spray-based and rock-chested sea:
Over the past table I repeat this present grace.

Dylan Thomas (1914-1954)
from Delta, Easter 1939

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Dylan Thomas biography

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening / Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
from New Hampshire, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Robert Frost biography

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January / Hilaire Belloc


It freezes – all across a soundless sky
The birds go home. The governing dark's begun:
The steadfast dark that waits not for a sun;
The ultimate dark wherein the race shall die.

Death, with his evil finger to his lip,
Leers in at human windows, turning spy
To learn the country where his rule shall lie
When he assumes perpetual generalship.

The undefeated enemy, the chill
That shall benumb the voiceful earth at last,
Is master of our moment, and has bound
The viewless wind itself. There is no sound.
It freezes. Every friendly stream is fast.
It freezes; and the graven twigs are still.

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

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Hilaire Belloc biography

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Three Thousand Miles / Louis MacNeice

Three Thousand Miles

Now he can hardly press
The heavy petals of thought,
Tired of what he wants
And sick of what he ought,
He is content to watch
The window fill with snow
Making even the Future
Seem long ago.

Knowing that in Europe
All the streets are black
And that stars of blood
Star the almanac,
One half-hour's reprieve
Drowns him in the white
Physical or spiritual
Inhuman night.

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)
from Poetry, May 1940

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Louis MacNeice biography 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The First Snow-Fall / James Russell Lowell

The First Snow-Fall

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
  And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
  With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock      
  Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
  Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
  Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,    
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
  And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
  The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,    
  Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
  Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
  As did robins the babes in the wood.    

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
  Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
  Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
  And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
  When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
  That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
  The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
  “The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father    
  Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
  And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
  Folded close under deepening snow.      

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
from Under the Willows, and other poems, 1869

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

James Russell Lowell biography

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Wish / Margaret Veley

A Wish

If I could find the Little Year,
The Happy Year, the glad New Year
If I could find him setting forth
To seek the ancient track
I'd bring him here, the Little Year,
Like a pedlar with his pack.

And all of golden brightness,
And nothing dull or black,
And all that heart could fancy,
And all that heart could lack,
Should be your share of the pedlar's ware,
When he undid his pack.

The best from out his treasure
A smile of yours would coax,
And then we'd speed him on his way,
At midnight's failing strokes;
And bid him hurry round the world,
And serve the other folks!

Margaret Veley (1843-1887)
from A Marriage of Shadows, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Penny's Top 20 / December, 2017

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in December 2017:

  1.  For Christmas Day, Charles Wesley
  2.  The Sonnet, George J.Dance
  3.  A Miracle, George J. Dance
  4.  Autumn Twilight, Harry Kemp
  5.  December ('Neath Mistletoe), J. Ashby-Sterry
  6.  Good King Wenceslas, John Mason Neale
  7.  A Song for New Year's Eve, William Cullen Bryant
  8.  Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
The Christmas Night, Lucy Maud Montgomery
A Song of Autumn, Rennell Rodd 

11.  The Magi, W.B. Yeats
12.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
13.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
14.  O Holy Night, Placide Cappeau / J.S. Dwight
15.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
16.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
17.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
18.  A Dream in November, Edmund Gosse
19.  Premonition, George J. Dance
20.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance

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