Sunday, April 29, 2018

April / G.A. Studdert Kennedy


Breath of Spring,
Not come, but coming,
In the air.
Life of earth, not lived
But living,
Promises, not made,
Nor broken,
But the token
Of promises that will be made.
Sunshine seeking shade,
Red earth, that smiles,
And asks for seed,
And mossy woodland paths, that lead
To where the yellow primrose grows.
And so for many coloured miles
Of open smiling France,
While noisy little streamlets dance,
In diamond mirrored suns,
To meet the stately Mother stream that flows,
With shining dignity,
To greet her Lord the sea,
And far away, beyond the hills, one hears,
Poor village Mother, hence thy tears,
The muffled thunder of the guns.

G.A. Studdert Kennedy ("Woodbine Willy") (1883-1929)
from Rough Rhymes of a Padre, 1918

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

G.A. Studdert Kennedy biography

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April / Katharine Tynan


A black North Wind that chills
New leaves and songs scarce sung;
It was not so in Aprils
When I was young.

Thrush-notes and blackbird-trills
The blossomy boughs among;
All in the leafy Aprils
When I was young.

Showers on the heavenly hills
Rainbow and silver hung;
Such tears and smiles were April's
When I was young.

Small streams and babbling rills,
Green ways where gossamers swung;
The young lambs leaped in Aprils
When I was young.

Daisies and daffodils,
Primroses newly sprung;
Fragrant and fresh the Aprils
When I was young.

Here in this town that kills,
The heart for cold is wrung.
It's O for the happy Aprils
When I was young!

Katharine Tynan (1861-1931)
from Poems, 1901

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

Katharine Tynan biography

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Leafless April / Ethelwyn Wetherald

Leafless April 

Leafless April chased by light,
    Chased by dark and full of laughter,
Stays a moment in her flight
    Where the warmest breezes waft her,
By the meadow brook to lean,
    Or where winter rye is growing,
Showing in a lovelier green
    Where her wayward steps are going.

Blithesome April brown and warm,
    Showing slimness through her tatters,
Chased by sun or chased by storm —
    Not a whit to her it matters.
Swiftly through the violet bed,
    Down to where the stream is flooding
Light she flits — and round her head
    See the orchard branches budding!

Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1940)
from The House of the Trees, and other poems, 1895

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

Ethelwyn Wetherald biography

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April / William Carlos Williams


If you had come away with me
into another state
we had been quiet together.
But there the sun coming up
out of the nothing beyond the lake was
too low in the sky,
there was too great a pushing
against him,
too much of sumac buds, pink
in the head
with the clear gum upon them,
too many opening hearts of
lilac leaves,
too many, too many swollen
limp poplar tassels on the
bare branches!
It was too strong in the air.
I had no rest against that
The pounding of the hoofs on the
raw sods
stayed with me half through the night.
I awoke smiling but tired.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
From Sour Grapes, 1921

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April Weather / Edith Wyatt

April Weather

If you could have a perfect day
    To dream of when your life were done,
Would you choose one all clear, all gay —
    If you could have a perfect day —
The airs above the wide green way      
    Sheer virgin blue with crystal sun?—
If you could have a perfect day
    To dream of when your life were done.

Or would you have it April’s way,
    Haphazard rain, haphazard sun,      
Divine and sordid, clear and gray,
    Dyed like these hours’ own work and play;
All shot with stains of tears and clay,
    Haphazard pain, haphazard fun —
If you could have a perfect day      
    To dream of when your life were done?

Edith Wyatt (1873-1958)
from Poetry, January 1915

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

Edith Wyatt biography

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April / Ralph Waldo Emerson


The April winds are magical
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.
The hedge is gemmed with diamonds,
The air with Cupids full,
The cobweb clues of Rosamond
Guide lovers to the pool.
Each dimple in the water,
Each leaf that shades the rock
Can cozen, pique and flatter,
Can parley and provoke.
Goodfellow, Puck and goblins,
Know more than any book.
Down with your doleful problems,
And court the sunny brook.
The south-winds are quick-witted,
The schools are sad and slow,
The masters quite omitted
The lore we care to know.      

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
from Selected Poems, 1876

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Ralph Waldo Emerson biography

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Insanity / Maxwell Bodenheim


Like a vivid hyperbole,
The sun plunged into April's freshness,
And struck its sparkling madness
Against the barnlike dejection
Of this dark red insane asylum.
A softly clutching noise
Stumbled from the open windows.
Now and then obliquely reeling shrieks
Rose, as though from men
To whom death had assumed
An inexpressibly kind face.

A man stood at one window,
His gaunt face trembling underneath
A feverish jauntiness.
A long white feather slanted back
Upon his almost shapeless hat,
Like an innocent evasion.
Hotly incessant, his voice
Methodically flogged the April air:
A voice that held the clashing bones
Of happiness and fear;
A voice in which emotion
Sharply ridiculed itself;
A monstrously vigorous voice
Mockingly tearing a life
With an unanswerable question.

Hollowed out by his howl,
I turned and saw an asylum guard,
His petulantly flabby face
Rolled into deathlike chips of eyes.
He bore the aimless confidence
Of one contentedly playing with other men's wings.
He walked away; the man above still shrieked.
I could not separate them.

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954)
From Advice: A book of poems, 1920

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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tardy Spring / George Meredith

Tardy Spring

       Now the North wind ceases,
       The warm South-west awakes;
       Swift fly the fleeces,
       Thick the blossom-flakes.

Now hill to hill has made the stride,
And distance waves the without-end:
Now in the breast a door flings wide;
Our farthest smiles, our next is friend.
And song of England's rush of flowers
Is this full breeze with mellow stops,
That spins the lark for shine, for showers;
He drinks his hurried flight, and drops.
The stir in memory seem these things,
Which out of moisten'd turf and clay,
Astrain for light push patient rings,
Or leap to find the waterway.
'Tis equal to a wonder done,
Whatever simple lives renew
Their tricks beneath the father sun,
As though they caught a broken clue:
So hard was earth an eyewink back;
But now the common life has come,
The blotting cloud a dappled pack,
The grasses one vast underhum.
A City clothed in snow and soot,
With lamps for day in ghostly rows,
Breaks to the scene of hosts afoot,
The river that reflective flows:
And there did fog down crypts of street
Play spectre upon eye and mouth:—
Their faces are a glass to greet
This magic of the whirl for South.
A burly joy each creature swells
With sound of its own hungry quest;
Earth has to fill her empty wells,
And speed the service of the nest;
The phantom of the snow-wreath melt,
That haunts the farmer's look abroad,
Who sees what tomb a white night built,
Where flocks now bleat and sprouts the clod.
For iron Winter held her firm;
Across her sky he laid his hand;
And bird he starved, he stiffen'd worm;
A sightless heaven, a shaven land.
Her shivering Spring feign'd fast asleep,
The bitten buds dared not unfold:
We raced on roads and ice to keep
Thought of the girl we love from cold.

       But now the North wind ceases,
       The warm South-west awakes,
       The heavens are out in fleeces,
       And earth's green banner shakes.

George Meredith (1828-1909)
from Poems, 1892

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

George Meredith biography

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Song / Francis Sherman

Easter Song

Maidens, awake! For Christ is born again!
And let your feet disdain
The paths whereby of late they have been led.
Now Death itself is dead,
And Love hath birth,
And all things mournful find no place on earth.

This morn ye all must go another way
Than ye went yesterday.
Not with sad faces shall ye silent go
Where He hath suffered so;
But where there be
Full many flowers shall ye wend joyfully.

Moreover, too, ye must be clad in white,
As if the ended night
Were but your bridal-morn’s foreshadowing.
And ye must also sing
In angel-wise:
So shall ye be most worthy in His eyes.

Maidens, arise! I know where many flowers
Have grown these many hours
To make more perfect this glad Easter-day;
Where tall white lilies sway
On slender stem,
Waiting for you to come and garner them;

Where banks of mayflowers are, all pink and white,
Which will Him well delight;
And yellow buttercups, and growing grass
Through which the Spring winds pass;
And mosses wet,
Well strown with many a new-born violet.

All these and every other flower are here.
Will ye not draw anear
And gather them for Him, and in His name,
Whom all men now proclaim
Their living King?
Behold how all these wait your harvesting!

Moreover, see the darkness of His house!
Think ye that He allows
Such glory of glad color and perfume,
But to destroy the gloom
That hath held fast
His altar-place these many days gone past?

For this alone these blossoms had their birth,―
To show His perfect worth!
Therefore, O Maidens, ye must go apace
To that strange garden-place
And gather all
These living flowers for His high festival. [page 39]

For now hath come the long-desirèd day,
Wherein Love hath full sway!
Open the gates, O ye who guard His home,
His handmaidens are come!
Open them wide,
That all may enter in this Easter-tide!

Then, maidens, come, with song and lute-playing,
And all your wild flowers bring
And strew them on His altar; while the sun ―
Seeing what hath been done ―
Shines strong once more,
Knowing that Death hath Christ for conqueror.

Francis Sherman (1871-1926)
from Matins, 1896

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

Francis Sherman biography

Penny's Top 20 / March 2018

Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in March 2018:

  1.  The Conjurer, George J. Dance
  2.  Each tree did boast the wished spring times pride, Tom Watson
  3.  Heart Winter, James Lewis Milligan
  4.  There Will Come Soft Rains, Sara Teasdale
  5.  Spring's Immortality, Mackenzie Bell
  6.  Green Boughs, Frank Pearce Sturm
  7.  A Day in Spring, Richard Westall
  8.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
10.  Two poems, Mark Turbyfill

11.  The Sower, Charles G.D. Roberts
12.  Premonition, George J. Dance
13.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme
14.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
15.  A Miracle, George J. Dance
16.  Vowels, Arthur Rimbaud
17.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
18.  Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand, E.E. Cummings
19.  A Boy and His Dad, Edgar Guest
20.  February, William Morris

Source: Blogger, "Stats"