Saturday, May 31, 2014

A May Morning / John Davidson


A May Morning

A distant cock crows loud and clear;
     The larks are singing loftily;
The cloudless sun his noon is near;
     A southern wind blows o'er the lea.

On every grass-green blade is hung
     The morning's diamond dewy order;
The shadows of the hills are flung
     Head-foremost o'er the river's border.

The river flows with stately ease;
     The high-heaved firmament of blue —
Does it reflect the azure seas,
     Or do the waters take its hue?

The dells are rich with primroses;
     The leas are white with snow of daisies;
And every streamlet's rim knows this —
     It soon will win love's dearest praises.

For ever the waves seem murmuring,
     "When are you coming, blue flowery skies?
When will you shine on us here while we sing.
     Sweetly shine with your sunny eyes?

"Are you lighting the fairies' gloomy grots,
     Delicate, fairy chandeliers?
Where are you shining, forget-me-nots?
     When are you coming to dry our tears?"

"Summer is coming," the bee is humming,
     Humming with honey-sweet hum
That sweetens the air, for summer is coming —
     Coming! — the summer is come!

~~
John Davidson (1857-1909)
from In a Music-Hall, and other poems, 1891

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spring / Theo Marzials


Spring

I stand as on the verge of life; 'tis Spring,
     When springs are welling ere they brim away;
When waking birds just cheep and shake their wing,
     And clouds come winding in the virgin day.
I look through fruit-boughs fresh with sprout and spray,
     Down loam-hills loosed by shoots where thick dews cling,
From out the deep sky night yet dreams away,
     Down lush marsh woods and waters wandering.
I stand between the past and the pursuing,
     Between the dream'd of deed and the undone,
With all the earth on tiptoe for the doing,
     And breathless for the start-word of the sun;
And dreaming drifts away and big with song
     My full heart fails when it should be most strong.

~~
Theo Marzials (1850-1920)
from The Gallery of Pigeons, and other poems, 1873

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

Theo Marzials biography

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spring Among the Ruins / James Lewis Milligan


Spring Among the Ruins

I've tuned my heart to Thirty Springs
     And sighed o'er Thirty Summers flown;
I've watch'd the rise and fall of things
     And stood amid the wrack alone.

And I have learned that Time and Change
     Are Nature's law, and that Decay
And Death are not so very strange,
     But follow as the Night the Day.

How many times I've paused beside
     This Mansion old and desolate,
Musing upon its Builder's pride,
     Reading its parable of Fate,

How oft I've yearn'd to set in rhyme
     The sad, mute rapture of that mood
Which holds me spell-like every time
     I pause amid this Solitude!

He came in that glad year of yore,
     (I knew him, though I was not born),
He brought his Bride unto that door —
     How fair and fragrant was the Morn!

I saw her like a Seraph white
     Steal o'er the lawn with airy tread.
And stoop to pluck the lilies light
     And kiss the roses white and red.

I watch'd her at the even's close
     Sit sewing at the window there;
Till he, on stealthy, silent toes,
     Would come and kiss Her unaware.

On many a night before the fire
     They sat and talk'd on home affairs;
Or sang a ballad to the lyre
     To ease the heart of little cares.

They greeted oft within that Hall
     Their closer friends with hearty jest;
And many a story true and "tall"
     Was spun by sleepy Host and Guest.

I saw. . . . But let the record cease
    The Sequel is too sad a theme:
By yonder Church they lie in peace
    They sleep and fancy 'twas a dream.

Again the Earth her Youth renews,
    Over is Winter's wind and rain:
But Ruin still Man's work pursues,
    Nor comes He to his haunts again.

~~
James Lewis Milligan (1876-1961)
from The Beckoning Skyline, and other poems, 1920

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

James Lewis Millgan biography

Monday, May 19, 2014

Puck's Song / Rudyard Kipling

Puck's Song

See you the ferny ride that steals
Into the oak-woods far?
O that was whence they hewed the keels
That rolled to Trafalgar.

And mark you where the ivy clings
To Bayham's mouldering walls?
O there we cast the stout railings
That stand around St. Paul's.

See you the dimpled track that runs
All hollow through the wheat?
O that was where they hauled the guns
That smote King Philip's fleet.

Out of the Weald, the secret Weald,
Men sent in ancient years,
The horse-shoes red at Flodden Field,
The arrows at Poitiers.

See you our little mill that clacks,
So busy by the brook?
She has ground her corn and paid her tax
Ever since Domesday Book.

See you our stilly woods of oak?
And the dread ditch beside?
O that was where the Saxons broke
On the day that Harold died.

See you the windy levels spread
About the gates of Rye?
O that was where the Northmen fled,
When Alfred's ships came by.

See you our pastures wide and lone,
Where the red oxen browse?
O there was a City thronged and known.
Ere London boasted a house.

And see you, after rain, the trace
Of mound and ditch and wall?
O that was a Legion's camping-place,
When Cæsar sailed from Gaul.

And see you marks that show and fade,
Like shadows on the Downs?
O they are the lines the Flint Men made,
To guard their wondrous towns.

Trackway and Camp and City lost,
Salt Marsh where now is corn;
Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,
And so was England born!

She is not any common Earth,
Water or wood or air,
But Merlin's Isle of Gramarye,
Where you and I will fare.

~~
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from Songs from Books, 1912

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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mount Auburn in May / Louise Imogen Guiney


Mount Auburn in May

This is earth's liberty-day:
Yonder the linden-trees sway
     To music of winds from the west,
And I hear the old merry refrain,
Of the stream that has broken its chain
     By the gates of the City of Rest,

The City whose exquisite towers
I see thro' the sunny long hours
     If but from my window I lean;
Yea, dearest! thy threshold of stone,
Thine ivy-grown door and my own
     Have naught save the river between.

Thine on that heavenly height
Are beauty, and warmth, and delight;
     And long as our parting shall be,
Live there in thy summer! nor know
How near lie the frost and the snow
     On hearts that are breaking for thee.

~~
Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920)
from Songs at the Start, 1884

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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

When Trees are Green / Jean Blewett


When Trees are Green

Would you be glad of heart and good?
     Would you forget life's toil and care?
Come, lose yourself in this old wood
     When May's soft touch is everywhere.

The hawthorn trees are white as snow,
     The basswood flaunts its feathery sprays,
The willows kiss the stream below
     And listen to its flatteries:

"O willows supple, yellow, green,
     Long have I flowed o'er stock and stone,
I say with truth I have not seen
     A rarer beauty than your own!"

The rough-bark hickory, elm, and beech
     With quick'ning thrill and growth are rife;
Oak, maple, through the heart of each
     There runs a glorious tide of life.

Fresh leaves, young buds on every hand,
     On trunk and limb a hint of red,
The gleam of poplars tall that stand
     With God's own sunshine on their head.

The mandrake's silken parasol
     Is fluttering in the breezes bold,
And yonder where the waters brawl
     The buttercups show green and gold.

The slender grape-vine sways and weaves,
     From sun-kissed sward and nook of gloom
There comes the smell of earth and leaves,
     The breath of wild-flowers all abloom.

Spring's gleam is on the robin's breast,
     Spring's joy is in the robin's song:
"My mate is in yon sheltered nest;
     Ho! love is sweet and summer long!"

While full and jubilant and clear,
     All the long day, from dawn till dark,
The trill of bobolink we hear,
     Of hermit thrush and meadowlark.

Sit here among the grass and fern
     Unmindful of the cares of life,
The lessons we have had to learn,
     The hurts we've gotten in the strife.

There's youth in every breath we take,
     Forgetfulness of loss and tears,
Within the heart there seems to wake
     The gladness of the long past years.

Peace keeps us company to-day
     In this old fragrant, shadowy wood;
We lift our eyes to heaven and say:
     The world is fair and God is good.

~~
Jean Blewett (1872-1934)
from The Cornflower, and other poems, 1906

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

Jean Blewett biography

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In a Wood / Coventry Patmore


In a Wood

'Twas when the spousal time of May
     Hangs all the hedge with bridal wreaths,
And air's so sweet the bosom gay
     Gives thanks for every breath it breathes,
When like to like is gladly moved,
     And each thing joins in Spring's refrain,
"Let those love now who never loved;
     Let those who have loved love again;"
That I, in whom the sweet time wrought,
     Lay stretch'd within a lonely glade,
Abandon'd to delicious thought
     Beneath the softly twinkling shade.
The leaves, all stirring, mimick'd well
     A neighbouring rush of rivers cold,
And, as the sun or shadow fell,
     So these were green and those were gold;
In dim recesses hyacinths droop'd,
     And breadths of primrose lit the air,
Which, wandering through the woodland, stoop'd
     And gather'd perfumes here and there;
Upon the spray the squirrel swung,
     And careless songsters, six or seven,
Sang lofty songs the leaves among,
     Fit for their only listener, Heaven.

~~
Coventry Patmore (1823-1896)
from Florilegium Amantis, 1879

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Judgment of the May / Richard Watson Dixon


The Judgment of the May

Come to the judgment, golden threads
     Upon golden hair in rich array;
Many a chesnut shakes its heads,
     Many a lupine at this day.
Many a white rose in our beds
     Waits the judgment of the May.

Oh, like white roses, great white queen,
     Come to the judgment, come to-day.
The white stars on thy robes of green
     Are like white roses on trees in May:
By me thy stars and flowers are seen,
     But now thou seemest far away.

~~
Richard Watson Dixon (1833-1900)
from Christ's Company, and other poems, 1861

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Richard Watson Dixon biography

Sunday, May 4, 2014

'Tis Spring, my love, 'tis spring / John Clare


'Tis Spring, my love, 'tis Spring

     'Tis Spring, my love, 'tis Spring,
     And the birds begin to sing:
If 't was Winter, left alone with you,
     Your bonny form and face,
     Would make a Summer place,
And be the finest flower that ever grew.

     'Tis Spring, my love, 'tis Spring,
     And the hazel catkins hing,
While the snowdrop has its little blebs of dew;
     But that's not so white within
     As your bosom's hidden skin —
That sweetest of all flowers that ever grew.

     The sun arose from bed,
     All strewn with roses red,
But the brightest and the loveliest crimson place
     Is not so fresh and fair,
     Or so sweet beyond compare,
As thy blushing, ever smiling, happy face.

     I love Spring's early flowers,
     And their bloom in its first hours,
But they never half so bright or lovely seem
     As the blithe and happy grace
     Of my darling's blushing face,
And the happiness of love's young dream.

~~
John Clare (1793-1864)
from The Poems of John Clare, 1901

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Clare biography

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Madrigal / Isidore G. Ascher


A Madrigal

Open the window, darling,
     And welcome the breath of Spring,
For the spirit of Joy is abroad,
     And gladdens each sentient thing!
My heart is drear as the wintry earth
     Shrouded in bleakest night,
But thou canst banish its frosted cares.
     Spirit of Love and Light!

Open the window, darling;
     I hear the gush of a song,
That comes from the beautiful spring-time,
     Flitting, like Hope, along.
My heart is sad as an autumn morn,
     Before the winter's blight,
But thou canst scatter its sorrowful mist,
     Spirit of Joy and Light!

~~
Isidore G. Ascher (1835-1933)
from Voices from the Hearth, 1863

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Penny's Top 20 / April 2014


Penny's Top 20
The most-visited poems on  The Penny Blog in April 2014:

  1.  Esthétique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  April in the Hills, Archibald Lampman
  3.  Demeter's Tears, Michael Pendragon
  4.  An April Fool of Long Ago, Jean Blewett
  5.  Spring Again, George J. Dance
  6.  Spring Rain, Sara Teasdale
  7.  Sheep and Lambs, Katharine Tynan

  8.  April, Ernest Howard Crosby

  9.  Spring Longings, F.W. Bourdillon

10.  Love at Easter, Katharine Tynan


11.  Good Is Good. It Is a Beautiful Night, Wallace Stevens
12.  Spring Song, A. Mary F. Robinson

13.  Easter, Katharine Tynan
14.  Spring is like a perhaps hand, E.E. Cummings
15.  
Penny (or Penny's Hat), George J. Dance
16.  Large Red Man Reading, Wallace Stevens
17.  
A City Sunset, T.E. Hulme
18.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodridge Roberts
19.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy

20.  Bird Cage, Hector de Sain-Denys Garneau



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