Sunday, September 29, 2013

Over the Hills and Far Away / Eugene Field


Over the Hills and Far Away

Over the hills and far away,
A little boy steals from his morning play,
And under the blossoming apple-tree
He lies and dreams of the things to be:
Of battles fought and of victories won,
Of wrongs o'erthrown and of great deeds done –
Of the valor that he shall prove some day,
Over the hills and far away –
Over the hills and far away!

Over the hills and far away
It's, oh, for the toil of the livelong day!
But it mattereth not to the soul aflame
With a love for riches and power and fame!
On, O man! while the sun is high –
On to the certain joys that lie
Yonder where blazeth the noon of day.
Over the hills and far away –
Over the hills and far away!

Over the hills and far away
An old man lingers at close of day;
Now that his journey is almost done,
His battles fought and his victories won –
The old-time honesty and truth,
The trustfulness and the friends of youth,
Home and mother  – where are they?
Over the hills and far away –
Over the hills and far away!

~~
Eugene Field
from Field Flowers, 1896

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September / Helen Hunt Jackson


September

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

~~
Helen Hunt Jackson
from Poems, 1896

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Helen Hunt Jackson biography

Sunday, September 22, 2013

When summer's end is nighing / A.E. Housman


XXXIX

When summer's end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here's an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer's parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

~~
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, September 21, 2013

The End of Summer / Madison Cawein


The End of Summer

Pods are the poppies, and slim spires of pods
    The hollyhocks; the balsam's pearly bredes
    Of rose-stained snow are little sacs of seeds
Collapsing at a touch; the lote, that sods
The pond with green, has changed its flowers to rods
    And discs of vesicles; and all the weeds,
    Around the sleepy water and its reeds.
Are one white smoke of seeded silk that nods.
Summer is dead, ay me! sweet Summer's dead!
    The sunset clouds have built her funeral pyre,
    Through which, e'en now, runs subterranean fire:
While from the East, as from a garden bed,
    Mist-vined, the Dusk lifts her broad moon – like some
    Great golden melon – saying, "Fall has come."

~~
Madison Cawein
from A Voice on the Wind, and other poems, 1902

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 1819 / William Wordsworth (2 poems)

       
          September 1819

          The sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields
          Are hung, as if with golden shields,
          Bright trophies of the sun!
          Like a fair sister of the sky,
          Unruffled doth the blue lake lie,
          The mountains looking on.

          And, sooth to say, yon vocal grove,
          Albeit uninspired by love,
          By love untaught to ring,
          May well afford to mortal ear                  
          An impulse more profoundly dear
          Than music of the Spring.

          For 'that' from turbulence and heat
          Proceeds, from some uneasy seat
          In nature's struggling frame,
          Some region of impatient life:
          And jealousy, and quivering strife,
          Therein a portion claim.

          This, this is holy;– while I hear
          These vespers of another year,                
          This hymn of thanks and praise,
          My spirit seems to mount above
          The anxieties of human love,
          And earth's precarious days.

          But list!– though winter storms be nigh,
          Unchecked is that soft harmony:
          There lives Who can provide
          For all his creatures; and in Him,
          Even like the radiant Seraphim,
          These choristers confide.                      

~~

          Upon the Same Occasion

          Departing summer hath assumed
          An aspect tenderly illumed,
          The gentlest look of spring;
          That calls from yonder leafy shade
          Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
          A timely carolling.

          No faint and hesitating trill,
          Such tribute as to winter chill
          The lonely redbreast pays!
          Clear, loud, and lively is the din,            
          From social warblers gathering in
          Their harvest of sweet lays.

          Nor doth the example fail to cheer
          Me, conscious that my leaf is sere,
          And yellow on the bough:–
          Fall, rosy garlands, from my head!
          Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed
          Around a younger brow!

          Yet will I temperately rejoice;
          Wide is the range, and free the choice        
          Of undiscordant themes;
          Which, haply, kindred souls may prize
          Not less than vernal ecstasies,
          And passion's feverish dreams.

          For deathless powers to verse belong,
          And they like Demi-gods are strong
          On whom the Muses smile;
          But some their function have disclaimed,
          Best pleased with what is aptliest framed
          To enervate and defile.                        

          Not such the initiatory strains
          Committed to the silent plains
          In Britain's earliest dawn:
          Trembled the groves, the stars grew pale,
          While all-too-daringly the veil
          Of nature was withdrawn!

          Nor such the spirit-stirring note
          When the live chords Alcaeus smote,
          Inflamed by sense of wrong;
          Woe! woe to Tyrants! from the lyre            
          Broke threateningly, in sparkles dire
          Of fierce vindictive song.

          And not unhallowed was the page
          By winged Love inscribed, to assuage
          The pangs of vain pursuit;
          Love listening while the Lesbian Maid
          With finest touch of passion swayed
          Her own Aeolian lute.

          O ye, who patiently explore
          The wreck of Herculanean lore,                
          What rapture! could ye seize
          Some Theban fragment, or unroll
          One precious, tender-hearted, scroll
          Of pure Simonides.

          That were, indeed, a genuine birth
          Of poesy; a bursting forth
          Of genius from the dust:
          What Horace gloried to behold,
          What Maro loved, shall we enfold?
          Can haughty Time be just!                                
         
~~
William Wordsworth, 1819
from The Complete Poetical Works, 1888

[Poems are in the public domain worldwide]

William Wordsworth biography                                           

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September / John Clare


September 

Harvest awakes the morning still,
And toil’s rude groups the valleys fill;
Deserted is each cottage hearth
To all life, save the cricket’s mirth;
Each burring wheel its sabbath meets,
Nor walks a gossip in the streets;
The bench beneath the eldern bough,
Lined o’er with grass, is empty now,
Where blackbirds, caged from out the sun,
Would whistle while their mistress spun:                
All haunt the thronged fields, to share
The harvest’s lingering bounty there.

    As yet, no meddling boys resort
About the streets in idle sport;
The butterfly enjoys its hour,
And flirts, unchased, from flower to flower;
The humming bees, which morning calls
From out the low hut’s mortar walls,
And passing boy no more controls —
Fly undisturb’d about their holes;                      
The sparrows in glad chirpings meet,
Unpelted in the quiet street.
None but imprison’d children now
Are seen, where dames with angry brow
Threaten each younker to his seat,
Who, through the window, eyes the street;
Or from his hornbook turns away,
To mourn for liberty and play.

    Yet loud are morning’s early sounds;
The farm or cottage yard abounds                        
With creaking noise of opening gate,
And clanking pumps, where boys await
With idle motion, to supply
The thirst of cattle crowding nigh.
Upon the dovecote’s mossy slates,
The pigeons coo around their mates;
And close beside the stable wall,
Where morning sunbeams earliest fall,
The basking hen, in playful rout,
Flaps the powdery dust about.                            
Within the barn-hole sits the cat
Watching to seize the thirsty rat,
Who oft at morn its dwelling leaves
To drink the moisture from the eaves;
The red-breast, with his nimble eye,
Dares scarcely stop to catch the fly,
That, tangled in the spider’s snare,
Mourns in vain for freedom there.
The dog beside the threshold lies,
Mocking sleep, with half-shut eyes —                      
With head crouch’d down upon his feet,
Till strangers pass his sunny seat —
Then quick he pricks his ears to hark,
And bustles up to growl and bark;
While boys in fear stop short their song,
And sneak in startled speed along;
And beggar, creeping like a snail,
To make his hungry hopes prevail
O’er the warm heart of charity,
Leaves his lame halt and hastens by.                    

    The maid afield now leaves the farm,
With dinner basket on her arm,
Loitering unseen in narrow lane,
To be o’ertook by following swain,
Who, happy thus her truth to prove,
Carries the load and talks of love.
Soon as the dew is off the ground,
Rumbling like distant thunder round,
The waggons haste the corn to load,
And hurry down the dusty road;                          
While driving boy with eager eye
Watches the church clock passing by —
Whose gilt hands glitter in the sun —
To see how far the hours have run;
Right happy, in the breathless day,
To see time wearing fast away.
But now and then a sudden shower
Will bring to toil a resting hour;
Then, under sheltering shocks, a crowd
Of merry voices mingle loud,                            
Draining, with leisure’s laughing eye,
Each welcome, bubbling bottle dry;
Till peeping suns dry up the rain,
Then off they start to toil again.

   Anon the fields are getting clear,
And glad sounds hum in labour’s ear;
When children halloo “Here they come!”
And run to meet the Harvest Home,
Cover’d with boughs, and throng’d with boys,
Who mingle loud a merry noise,                          
And, when they meet the stack-throng’d yard
Cross-buns and pence their shouts reward.
Then comes the harvest-supper night,
Which rustics welcome with delight;
When merry game and tiresome tale,
And songs, increasing with the ale,
Their mingled uproar interpose,
To crown the harvest’s happy close;
While Mirth, that at the scene abides,
Laughs, till she almost cracks her sides.                

   Now harvest’s busy hum declines,
And labour half its help resigns.
Boys, glad at heart, to play return;
The shepherds to their peace sojourn,
Rush-bosom’d solitudes among,
Which busy toil disturb’d so long.
The gossip, happy all is o’er,
Visits again her neighbour’s door,
On scandal’s idle tales to dwell,
Which harvest had no time to tell;                      
And free from all its sultry strife,
Enjoys once more her idle life.
A few, whom waning toil reprieves,
Thread the forest’s sea of leaves,
Where the pheasant loves to hide,
And the darkest glooms abide,
Beneath the old oaks moss’d and grey,
Whose shadows seem as old as they;
Where time hath many seasons won,
Since aught beneath them saw the sun;                    
Within these brambly solitudes,
The ragged, noisy boy intrudes,
To gather nuts, that, ripe and brown,
As soon as shook will patter down.

   Thus harvest ends its busy reign,
And leaves the fields their peace again;
Where Autumn’s shadows idly muse
And tinge the trees in many hues:
Amid whose scenes I’m fain to dwell,
And sing of what I love so well.                        
But hollow winds, and tumbling floods,
And humming showers, and moaning woods,
All startle into sudden strife,
And wake a mighty lay to life;
Making, amid their strains divine,
Unheard a song so mean as mine.

~~
John Clare
from The Shepherd's Calendar, 1827

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Read The Shepherd's Calendar complete
John Clare biography

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Pines and the Sea / Christopher Pearse Cranch


XXI

The Pines and the Sea

Beyond the low marsh-meadows and the beach,
Seen through the hoary trunks of windy pines,
The long blue level of the ocean shines.
The distant surf, with hoarse, complaining speech,
Out from its sandy barrier seems to reach;
And while the sun behind the woods declines,
The moaning sea with sighing boughs combines,
And waves and pines make answer, each to each.
O melancholy soul, whom far and near,
In life, faith, hope, the same sad undertone
Pursues from thought to thought! thou needs must hear
An old refrain, too much, too long thine own:
'T is thy mortality infects thine ear;
The mournful strain was in thyself alone.

~~
Christopher Pearse Cranch
from Ariel and Caliban, with other poems, 1887

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Christopher Pearse Cranch biography

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lines (You go to the woods) / Carolyn Sturgis Tappan


Lines

You go to the woods – what there have you seen?
Quivering leaves glossy and green;
Lights and Shadows dance to and fro,
Beautiful flowers in the soft moss grow.
Is the secret of these things known to you?
Can you tell what gives the flower its hue?
Why the oak spreads out its limbs so wide?
And the graceful grape-vine grows by its side?
Why clouds full of sunshine are piled on high?
What sends the wind to sweep through the sky?
No! the secret of Nature I do not know –
A poor groping child, through her marvels I go!

~~
Carolyn Sturgis Tappan
From The Dial, IV, January 1844

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Carolyn Sturgis Tappan biography

Monday, September 2, 2013

Solitude / Archibald Lampman


Solitude

How still it is here in the woods. The trees
Stand motionless, as if they did not dare
To stir, lest it should break the spell. The air
Hangs quiet as spaces in a marble frieze.
Even this little brook, that runs at ease,
Whispering and gurgling in its knotted bed,
Seems but to deepen, with its curling thread
Of sound, the shadowy sun-pierced silences.
Sometimes a hawk screams or a woodpecker
Startles the stillness from its fixèd mood
With his loud careless tap. Sometimes I hear
The dreamy white-throat from some far off tree
Pipe slowly on the listening solitude,
His five pure notes succeeding pensively.

~~
Archibald Lampman
from Among the Millett, and other poems, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman biography

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Greek Idyl / Mortimer Collins


I.

He sat the quiet stream beside –
His white feet laving in the tide –
And watched the pleasant waters glide
     Beneath the skies of summer.
She singing came from mound to mound,
Her footfall on the thymy ground
Unheard; his traquil haunt she found –
     That beautiful new comer.


II.

He said – "My own Glycerium!
The pulses of the wood are dumb,
How well I knew that thou wouldst come,
     Beneath the branches gliding."
The dreamer fancied he had heard
Her footstep, whensoever stirred
The summer wind, or languid bird
     Amid the boughs abiding.


III. 

She dipped her fingers in the brook,
And gazed awhile with happy look
Upon the windings of a book
     Of Cyprian hymnings tender.
The ripples to the ocean raced –
The flying minutes passed in haste;
Hid arm was round the maiden't waste –
     That waist so very slender.


IV.

O cruel Time! O tyrant Time!
Whose winter all the streams of rhyme,
The flowing waves of love sublime,
     In bitter passage freezes.
I only see the scrambling goat,
The lotos on the waters float,
While an old shepherd with an oat
     Pipes to the autumn breezes.

 ~~
Mortimer Collins
from Idyls and Rhymes, 1855

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mortimer Collins biography

Penny's Top 20 - August 2013


Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in August 2013:

  1.  Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
  2.  Sensation, Arthur Rimbaud 
  3.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  4.  A Sonnet of the Moon, Charles Best
  5.  Life is but a Dream, Lewis Carroll 
  6.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens

  7.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens

  8.  
A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
  9.  When the Gulls Come In, Helen M. Merrill

10.  It shall be, then, upon a summer's day, Paul Verlaine


11. 
 The Potato Harvest, Charles G.D. Roberts
12.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
13.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens 
14.  Merry Margaret, John Skelton

15.  August, John Clare
16.  The evening darkens over, Robert Bridges

17.  Love Is a River, Isaac Rieman Baxley

18.  Summer Streams, Bliss Carman

19.  
Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
20. Sagacity, William Rose Benet



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