Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall, Leaves, Fall / Emily Brontë


Fall, Leaves, Fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow      
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

~~
Emily Brontë
from A Book of Women's Verse, 1921

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Brontë biography

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Among the Rocks / Robert Browning


Among the Rocks

Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,
      This autumn morning! How he sets his bones
To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet
For the ripple to run over in its mirth;
      Listening the while, where on the heap of stones
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;
      Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love,
Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:
      Make the low nature better by your throes!
Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!

~~
Robert Browning
from Dramatis Personae, 1864

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Robert Browning biography

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Evening in October / Sophia Almon Hensley


An Evening in October

Evening has thrown her hushing garment round
This little world; no harsh or jarring sound
Disturbs my reverie. The room is dark,
And kneeling at the window I can mark
Each light and shadow of the scene below.
The placid glistening pools, the streams that flow
Through the red earth, left by the hurrying tide;
The ridge of mountain on the farther side
Shewing more black for many twinkling lights
That come and go about the gathering heights.
Below me lie great wharves, dreary and dim,
And lumber houses crowding close and grim
Like giant shadowed guardians of the port,
With towering chimneys outlined tall and swart
Against the silver pools. Two figures pace
The wharf in ghostly silence, face from face.
O’er the black line of mountain, silver-clear
In faint rose-tint of vaporous evening air,
Sinketh the bright suspicion of a wing,
The slim curved moon, who in shy triumphing
Hideth her face. Above, the rose-tint pales
Into a silver opal, hills and dales
Of cloudy glory, fading high alone
Into a tender blue-grey monotone.—
And then I thought: “ere that fair slender moon
Has rounded grown and full, (so soon, so soon!)
Our hearts’ desire accomplished we shall see
Dear one, all light, and joy, and ecstasy!”

~~
Sophia Almon Hensley
from Poems, 1889

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

Sophia Almon Hensley biography

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Autumn Thistles / Charles G.D. Roberts


The Autumn Thistles

The morning sky is white with mist, the earth
     White with the inspiration of the dew.
     The harvest light is on the hills anew,
And cheer in the grave acres' fruitful girth.
Only in this high pasture is there dearth,
     Where the gray thistles crowd in ranks austere,
     As if the sod, close-cropt for many a year,
Brought only bane and bitterness to birth.

But in the crisp air's amethystine wave
     How the harsh stalks are washed with radiance now,
     How gleams the harsh turf where the crickets lie
Dew-freshened in their burnished armour brave!
     Since earth could not endure nor heaven allow
     Aught of unlovely in the morn's clear eye.

~~
Charles G.D. Roberts
from Songs of the Common Day, 1893

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

Charles G.D. Roberts biography

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mnemosyne / Trumbull Stickney


Mnemosyne

It’s autumn in the country I remember.

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

It’s cold abroad the country I remember.

The swallows veering skimmed the golden grain
At midday with a wing aslant and limber;
And yellow cattle browsed upon the plain.

It’s empty down the country I remember.

I had a sister lovely in my sight:
Her hair was dark, her eyes were very sombre;
We sang together in the woods at night.

It’s lonely in the country I remember.

The babble of our children fills my ears,
And on our hearth I stare the perished ember
To flames that show all starry thro’ my tears.

It’s dark about the country I remember.

There are the mountains where I lived. The path
Is slushed with cattle-tracks and fallen timber,
The stumps are twisted by the tempests’ wrath.

But that I knew these places are my own,
I’d ask how came such wretchedness to cumber
The earth, and I to people it alone.

It rains across the country I remember.

~~
Trumbull Stickney
from Dramatic Verses, 1902

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Trumbull Stickney biography

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Fall of the Leaf / Dante Gabriel Rossetti


The Fall of the Leaf

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
     Laid on it for a covering,
     And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the spirit gripes misfortune
At the fall of the leaf in Autumn,
     As one that makes the ? end more brief,
     And how the mind with the falling leaf
Falls, till its births are mere abortion?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the clogged sense, coiled up & stiff
     At feel of summer's vanishing perishing,
     Dares not pass winter to reach Spring
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift heat of the brain
     Hateth because it is in vain
     In Autumn at the fall of the leaf,
     Knowest thou not? & how the chief
Of joys seems not to have much pain.

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels as a dried sheaf
     Bound up at length for harvesting,
     And how death seems a comely thing
In autumn at the fall of the leaf?

~~
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1848

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

At the Year's Turn / Francis Sherman


At the Year's Turn

This year, the perfume of her hair
Has fallen about me many times —
Dimly; as when you waken where
One long ago made subtle rhymes
Your vain hands clasp the empty air.

When April first came in, and Spring
Called loud from valley unto hill,
Awhile I laughed at each new thing —
Strong as the risen waters: still,
I dreamed upon her wandering.

And when the warm, warm days were come,
And roses bloomed in any lane,
My heart, that should have sung, was dumb
As waiting birds before the rain:
The heavy air was burthensome.

Today, I paused, at the year’s turn,
Between the sunset and the wood
Where many broad-leaved maples burn;
Until I saw her, where I stood,
Across the tawny seas of fern

(Red rowan-berries in her hair) —
October — come to me again:
And as I waited for her there,
Softly the Hunter’s Moon made plain
Her curvèd bosom, white and bare.

~~
Francis Sherman
from An Acadian Easter and other poems, 1900

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

Francis Sherman biography

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October / Helen Hunt Jackson


October

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Oar empress wore, in Egypt's ancient line,
October, feasting 'neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!

~~
Helen Hunt Jackson 
from A Calendar of Sonnets, 1891 

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Helen Hunt Jackson biography

Friday, October 5, 2012

Penny's Top 20 / September 2012


Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in September  2012:

  1.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George Dance
  2.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
  4.  Fair Summer Droops, Thomas Campion
  5.  Heat, Archibald Lampman
  6.  Let me not to the marriage of true minds, William Shakespeare
  7.  Like Rain it sounded till it curved, Emily Dickinson
  8.  Drifting Away: A Fragment, Charles Kingsley

  9.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens

10.  In Apple Time, Bliss Carman


11.  
The Reader, Wallace Stevens
12.  Wedding Hymn, Sidney Lanier
13.  Let No Charitable Hope, Elinor Wylie
14.  A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme

15.  The End of the Summer, Ella Wheeler Wilcox

16.  Wind and Silver, Amy Lowell

17.  September, Helen Hunt Jackson

18.  The Golden Land, Francis Turner Palgrave

19.  In the Shadows, Pauline Johnson

20.  Late September, Amy Lowell


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