Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bavarian Gentians / D.H. Lawrence

Bavarian Gentians

Not every man has gentians in his house
in Soft September, at slow, Sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the day-time torch-like with the smoking blueness of Pluto's gloom,
ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off light,
lead me then, lead me the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendour of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the lost bride and her groom.

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
from Last Poems, 1933

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

D.H. Lawrence biography

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In a September Night / F. Wyville Home

In a September Night

There the moon leans out and blesses
  All the dreamy hills below:
Here the willows wash their tresses
  Where the water-lilies blow
  In the stream that glideth slow.

High in heaven, in serried ranges,
  Cloud-wreaths float through pallid light,
Like a flock of swans that changes
  In the middle Autumn night
  North for South in ordered flight.      

What know ye, who hover yonder,
  More than I, of that veiled good
Whither all things tend, I wonder,
  That ye follow the wind’s mood
  In such patient quietude?

F. Wyville Home (1851- )
from Lay Canticles, and other poems, 1883

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

F. Wyville Home biography

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Farewell to Summer / Bernard McEvoy

Farewell to Summer

Weep! weep! oh, tearful skies,
While summer gently dies,
And let us bid her sad farewell;
There are no tears so dear
As yours, nor so sincere,
Nor to our hearts such solace tell.

The trees with beauteous green
The leaves no longer screen,
But to the sun their verdure sell;
He gives them glittering gold,
And colors manifold,
How short their day 'twere vain to tell.

Let the wind sadly sigh
O'er flowers that withered lie,
In sover mead, or verdant dell;
Under the falling leaves,
The shroud that autumn weaves,
They sleep, that once we loved so well.

Not with rare flow'rets gay
Make we a last bouquet,
But mint, and rue, and asphodel;
These are our chosen flowers,
Now that the summer hours
No more our hearts with gladness swell.

Early the waning light
Fades from our pensive sight,
While deeply tolls the evening bell;
Over the tree-tops tall,
Night treads her airy hall,
And silent listens to the knell.

By the night coldly kissed,
The silvery ghostly mist
Wakes from its slumbrous earthy cell;
Wanders beneath the trees,
Moved by each passing breeze,
Where late the burning sunshine fell.

Beneath the stars' faint gleam
Moves on the placid stream,
And towards the sea doth flow and swell;
So doth our life-stream flee
On towards infinity,
Where no abiding sorrows dwell.

Bernard McEvoy (1842-1932)
from Away from Newspaperdom, and other poems, 1897

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Absence / John Arthur Blaikie


If not now soft airs may blow
    From thy haven unto me,
If not now last Autumn’s glow
    Thrill delight ’twixt me and thee,
Call up Memory, oh, entreat her,
In the present there ’s none sweeter.

One true thought and constant only
    To that pleasurable time
Me sufficeth to make lonely
    All the void and mocking prime
Of this summertide, whose story
Pales in that exceeding glory.

John Arthur Blaikie  (1849- )
from A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895, 1895

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Arthur Blaikie biography

Sunday, September 10, 2017

An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie /
Vachel Lindsay

An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie

(In the Beginning)

The sun is a huntress young,
The sun is a red, red joy,
The sun is an Indian girl,
Of the tribe of the Illinois.


The sun is a smouldering fire,
That creeps through the high gray plain,
And leaves not a bush of cloud
To blossom with flowers of rain.


The sun is a wounded deer,
That treads pale grass in the skies,
Shaking his golden horns,
Flashing his baleful eyes.


The sun is an eagle old,
There in the windless west.
Atop of the spirit-cliffs
He builds him a crimson nest.

Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)
from Rhymes to be Traded for Bread, 1912

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

Vachel Lindsay biography

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Night Rain in Summer / Leigh Hunt

A Night Rain in Summer 

Open the window, and let the air
Freshly blow upon face and hair,
And fill the room, as it fills the night,
With the breath of the rain's sweet might.
Hark! the burthen, swift and prone!
And how the odorous limes are blown!
Stormy Love's abroad, and keeps
Hopeful coil for gentle sleeps.

Not a blink shall burn to-night
In my chamber, of sordid light;
Nought will I have, not a window-pane,
'Twixt me and the air and the great good rain,
Which ever shall sing me sharp lullabies;
And God's own darkness shall close mine eyes;
And I will sleep, with all things blest,
In the pure earth-shadow of natural rest.

Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)
from Poetical Works, 1860

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Leigh Hunt biography

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Premonition / George J. Dance


The sun has never seemed so warm and bright,
The grass and trees have never looked as green
As in this calm September morning light,
But something else is with me, though unseen:
A polar wind that blows by, harsh and keen,
And leaves me feeling numb, alone, and ill
As I envision what that gust will mean:
Green leaves and grass to wither in its chill,
Gray snow to bury all, black ice to freeze the kill.

George J. Dance, 2017

[All rights reserved by the author - used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Dirge for Summer / Sebastian Evans

A Dirge for Summer

  Summer dieth:— o’er his bier
  Chant a requiem low and clear!
  Chant it for his dying flowers,
  Chant it for his flying hours.
Let them wither all together      
  Now the world is past the prime
  Of the golden olden-time.

  Let them die, dying Summer
  Yield his kingdom to the comer
  From the islands of the West:      
  He is weary, let him rest!
And let mellow Autumn’s yellow
  Fall upon the leafy prime
  Of the golden olden-time.

  Go, ye days, your deeds are done!    
  Be yon clouds about the sun
  Your imperial winding-sheet;
  Let the night winds as they fleet
Tell the story of the glory
  Of the free great-hearted prime    
  Of the golden olden-time.

Sebastian Evans (1830-1909)
from Brother Fabian's Manuscript, and other poems, 1865

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sebastian Evans biography 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / August 2017

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

  1.  There Was a Time, George J. Dance
  2.  The Bright Extensive Will, AE Reiff
  3.  I would I were the glow-worm ..., Mathilde Blind
  4.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  5.  poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky, John Sweet
  6.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  7.  On Summer, George Moses Horton
  8.  August in the City, Charles Hanson Towne
  9.  Night for Adventures, Victor Starbuck

Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  

11.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
12.  In the Fields, Charlotte Mew
13.  August (Beside the Sea), J. Ashby-Sterry

14.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
15.  Puella Parvula, Wallace Stevens
16.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence
17.  July (On Henley Bridge), J. Ashby-Sterry
18.  It's September, Edgar Guest
19.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
20.  London in July, Amy Levy 

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

August in the City / Charles Hanson Towne

August in the City

The brooding hours, through the dull afternoon,
Pause, while a torrid sun flames in the sky.
(O heart of mine, dream of a long, cool dune,
Where breezes wander by!)

Hemmed in by granite walls, the very paves
Grow worn and weary with the ceaseless heat.
(O heart, dream of a shore where foam-flecked waves
Surge, crash, and wildly beat!)

The sad hours creep toward the dim light of dusk
Ah! how each laggard moment slowly goes!
(O heart, dream of a garden filled with musk
And the sweet scent of rose!)

The sun goes down at last, and lo! a breeze
Pours through the mighty cavern of the streets.
(O sleeping heart, dream of unsheltered seas
Where the glad, fresh rain beats!)

Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949)
from The Quiet Singer, and other poems, 1908

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

Charles Hanson Towne biography

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August (Beside the Sea) - J. Ashby-Sterry


Beside the Sea, upon the strand
The sun is hot, the day is grand:
     I think you will agree with me,
     Upon the shore 'tis nice to be,
Amid the shingle and the sand.

Your hands get brown, your face is tanned,
You bathe or noddle to the band;
     Or slowly ride a solemn "gee"
          Beside the Sea.

You pace the pier, you idle and
The offing never leave unscanned:
     And study, 'neath some grateful lee,
     The "blue, the fresh, the ever free"!
The air is pure, your lungs expand,
          Beside the Sea!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, August 20, 2017

On Summer / George Moses Horton

On Summer

Esteville begins to burn;
   The auburn fields of harvest rise;
The torrid flames again return,
   And thunders roll along the skies.

Perspiring Cancer lifts his head,
   And roars terrific from on high;
Whose voice the timid creatures dread;
   From which they strive with awe to fly.

The night-hawk ventures from his cell,
   And starts his note in evening air;
He feels the heat his bosom swell,
   Which drives away the gloom of fear.

Thou noisy insect, start thy drum;
   Rise lamp-like bugs to light the train;
And bid sweet Philomela come,
   And sound in front the nightly strain.

The bee begins her ceaseless hum,
   And doth with sweet exertions rise;
And with delight she stores her comb,
   And well her rising stock supplies.

Let sportive children well beware,
   While sprightly frisking o’er the green;
And carefully avoid the snare,
   Which lurks beneath the smiling scene.

The mistress bird assumes her nest,
   And broods in silence on the tree,
Her note to cease, her wings at rest,
   She patient waits her young to see.

George Moses Horton (?1797-1884)
from Poems by a Slave, 1837

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Night for Adventures / Victor Starbuck

Night for Adventures

Sometimes when fragrant summer dusk comes in with scent of rose and musk
  And scatters from their sable husk the stars like yellow grain,
Oh then the ancient longing comes that lures me like a roll of drums
  To follow where the cricket strums his banjo in the lane.

And when the August moon comes up and like a shallow silver cup
  Pours out upon the fields and roads her amber-colored beams,
A leafy whisper mounts and calls from out the forest’s moss-grown halls
  To leave the city’s somber walls and take the road of dreams.

A call that bids me rise and strip, and naked all from toe to lip
  To wander where the dewdrops drip from off the silent trees,
And where the hairly spiders spin their nets of silver, fragile-thin,
  And out to where the fields begin, like down upon the breeze.

Into a silver pool to plunge, and like a great trout wheel and lunge
  Among the lily bonnets and the stars reflected there;
With face upturned to lie afloat, with moonbeams rippling round my throat,    
  And from the slimy grasses plait a chaplet for my hair.

Then, leaping from my rustic bath, to take some winding meadow-path;
  Across the fields of aftermath to run with flying feet,
And feel the dewdrop-weighted grass that bends beneath me as I pass,
  Where solemn trees in shadowy mass beyond the highway meet.      

And, plunging deep within the woods, among the leaf-hung solitudes
  Where scarce one timid star intrudes into the breathless gloom,
Go leaping down some fern-hid way to scare the rabbits in their play,
  And see the owl, a phantom gray, drift by on silent plume.

To fling me down at length and rest upon some damp and mossy nest,      
  And hear the choir of surpliced frogs strike up a bubbling tune;
And watch, above the dreaming trees, Orion and the Hyades
  And all the stars, like golden bees around the lily-moon.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Then who can say if I have gone a-gipsying from dusk till dawn
  In company with fay and faun, where firefly-lanterns gleam?      
And have I danced on cobwebs thin to Master Locust’s mandolin —
  Or have I spent the night in bed, and was it all a dream?

Victor Starbuck (1887-1935)
from Poetry, August 1916

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

Victor Starbuck biography

Sunday, August 13, 2017

poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky /
John Sweet

poem while watching dali paint the iridescent sky

in the absolute heat,
in the shadows of trees,
                              of empty houses,
this silence built from soft breezes,
from freeway traffic on the
other side of the river
this moment defined by
sunlight on chrome

by the absence of all pain

spend your lifetime buried
beneath belief and the loss of
faith becomes inevitable

dig at your flesh to try and
find the better person buried
down deep inside and all you do
                                               is bleed

John Sweet
from in the palace of dying light, 2011

[All rights reserved by the author - used with permision]

John Sweet biography

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I would I were the glow-worm, thou the flower /
Mathilde Blind

from Love in Exile:


I would I were the glow-worm, thou the flower,
    That I might fill thy cup with glimmering light;
I would I were the bird, and thou the bower,
    To sing thee songs throughout the summer night.

I would I were a pine tree deeply rooted,
    And thou the lofty, cloud-beleaguered rock,
Still, while the blasts of heaven around us hooted,
    To cleave to thee and weather every shock.

I would I were the rill, and thou the river;
    So might I, leaping from some headlong steep,
With all my waters lost in thine for ever,
    Be hurried onwards to the unfathomed deep.

I would – what would I not? O foolish dreaming!
    My words are but as leaves by autumn shed,
That, in the faded moonlight idly gleaming,
    Drop on the grave where all our love lies dead.

Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)
from Songs and Sonnets, 1893

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mathilde Blind biography

Sunday, August 6, 2017

There Was a Time / George J. Dance

There Was a Time

There was a time my love and I
Would lie upon the summer grass,
To watch the white clouds wander by
In heaven, and their shadows pass.

The sun poured down like honey then,
The breezes cooled like morning dew,
And life was more magnificent
Than either of us ever knew.

My love was once like sparkling wine
And now she tastes of wholesome bread,
Her flavors faded – so have mine –
But we are both completely fed.

It's quite enough that she is here
Beside me every hour and day,
But more than that, each passing year,
There's time to take my love away

Into a meadow, where we'll lie
Together on the summer grass,
To watch the white clouds wander by
In heaven, and the shadows pass.

George J. Dance, 2017

[All rights reserved by the author - used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Bright Extensive Will / AE Reiff

The Bright Extensive Will

                         For Beatrice

As starry seas are caught up into clouds
To whirl Earth's sphere throughout all time,
Through space and out, where rising in a shroud
They roll the bright extensive will to find
Their will to fall again in showers, so crowds
Descending off the wheel give misty signs
Of life, and sons of Elohim who bow
From out the sky, concentrated and blind
In all their beams, then enter creation.
As though one could with the word written
In earth's center in the matter of its making,
As earth's heart was into pieces breaking,
Come into the body. Then wars should cease,
And earth, all surface, sky and core, find peace.

AE Reiff, 2017

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

Encouragements for Planting

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / July 2017

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

  1.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens
  2.  London in July, Amy Levy
  3.  I Like Canadians, Ernest Hemingway
  4.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance
  5.  Dialogue of the Earth and Flower, Richard Oakley
  6.  Lying in the Grass, Edmund Gosse
  7.  The Dyke, John Frederic Herbin
  8.  Summer Days, Wathen Call
  9.  In a Garden, Radclyffe Hall

Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens 

11.  A Summer Night, AE 
12.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
13.  A Summer Day, Henry Charles Beeching

14.  Life is but a Dream, Lewis Carroll
15.  July (On Henley Bridge), J. Ashby-Sterry
16.  Round the Mercury, George J. Dance
17.  June, Margaret Deland
18.  Bird Cage, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
19.  Between the dusk of a summer night, W.E. Henley
20.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July (On Henley Bridge) / J. Ashby-Sterry


On Henley Bridge, in sweet July,
A gentle breeze, a cloudless sky!
     Indeed it is a pleasant place,
     To watch the oarsmen go the pace,
As gasping crowds go roaring by.

And O, what dainty maids you spy,
What tasteful toilets you descry,
     What symphonies in frills and lace,
          On Henley Bridge!

But if you find a luncheon nigh —
A mayonnaise, a toothsome pie —
     The chance you'll hasten to embrace!
     You'll soon forget about the Race,
And take your Giesler cool and dry —
          On Henley Bridge!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Saturday, July 29, 2017

London in July / Amy Levy

London in July

What ails my senses thus to cheat?
     What is it ails the place,
That all the people in the street
     Should wear one woman's face?

The London trees are dusty-brown
     Beneath the summer sky;
My love, she dwells in London town,
     Nor leaves it in July.

O various and intricate maze,
     Wide waste of square and street;
Where, missing through unnumbered days.
     We twain at last may meet!

And who cries out on crowd and mart?
     Who prates of stream and sea ?
The summer in the city's heart —
     That is enough for me.

Amy Levy (1861-1889)
from A London Plane-tree, and other verse, 1889

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Amy Levy biography

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Summer Night / AE

A Summer Night

Her mist of primroses within her breast
Twilight hath folded up, and o'er the west,
Seeking remoter valleys long hath gone,
Not yet hath come her sister of the dawn.
Silence and coolness now the earth enfold,
Jewels of glittering green, long mists of gold,
Hazes of nebulous silver veil the height,
And shake in tremors through the shadowy night.
Heard through the stillness, as in whispered words,
The wandering God-guided wings of birds
Ruffle the dark. The little lives that lie
Deep hid in grass join in a long-drawn sigh
More softly still; and unheard through the blue
The falling of innumerable dew
Lifts with grey fingers all the leaves that lay
Burned in the heat of the consuming day.
The lawns and lakes lie in this night of love,
Admitted to the majesty above.
Earth with the starry company hath part;
The waters hold all heaven within their heart,
And glimmer o'er with wave-lips everywhere
Lifted to meet the angel lips of air.
The many homes of men shine near and far,
Peace-laden as the tender evening star,
The late home-coming folk anticipate
Their rest beyond the passing of the gate,
And tread with sleep-filled hearts and drowsy feet.
Oh, far away and wonderful and sweet
All this, all this. But far too many things
Obscuring, as a cloud of seraph wings
Blinding the seeker for the Lord behind,
I fall away in weariness of mind,
And think how far apart are I and you,
Beloved, from those spirit children who
Felt but one single Being long ago,
Whispering in gentleness and leaning low
Out of its majesty, as child to child.
I think upon it all with heart grown wild,
Hearing no voice, howe'er my spirit broods,
No whisper from the dense infinitudes,
This world of myriad things whose distance awes.
Ah me; how innocent our childhood was!

AE (George William Russell, 1867-1935)
from The Divine Vision, and other poems, 1904

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Summer Day / Henry Charles Beeching

A Summer Day 

Green leaves panting for joy with the great wind rushing through;
  A burst of the sun from cloud and a sparkle on valley and hill,
  Gold on the corn, and red on the poppy, and on the rill
Silver, and over all white clouds afloat in the blue.

Swallows that dart, a lark unseen, innumerous song
  Chirruped and twittered, a lowing of cows in the meadow grass,
  Murmuring gnats, and bees that suck their honey and pass:
God is alive, and at work in the world:— we did it wrong.

Human eyes, and human hands, and a human face
  Darkly beheld before in a vision, not understood,
Do I at last begin to feel as I stand and gaze
  Why God waited for this, then called the world very good?

Henry Charles Beeching (1859-1919)
from Love's Looking Glass, 1891

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

Henry Charles Beeching biography

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Days / Wathen Call

Summer Days

In summer, when the days were long,
We walk’d, two friends, in field and wood;
Our heart was light, our step was strong,
And life lay round us, fair as good,
In summer, when the days were long.

We stray’d from morn till evening came,
We gather’d flowers, and wove us crowns;
We walk’d mid poppies red as flame,
Or sat upon the yellow downs,
And always wish’d our life the same.

In summer, when the days were long,
We leap’d the hedgerow, cross’d the brook;
And still her voice flow’d forth in song,
Or else she read some graceful book,
In summer, when the days were long.

And then we sat beneath the trees,
With shadows lessening in the noon;
And in the sunlight and the breeze
We revell’d, many a glorious June,
While larks were singing o’er the leas.

In summer, when the days were long,
We pluck’d wild strawberries, ripe and red,
Or feasted, with no grace but song,
On golden nectar, snow-white bread,
In summer, when the days were long.

We lov’d, and yet we knew it not,
For loving seem’d like breathing then;
We found a heaven in every spot;
Saw angels, too, in all good men,
And dream’d of gods in grove and grot.

In summer, when the days are long,
Alone I wander, muse alone;
I see her not, but that old song
Under the fragrant wind is blown,
In summer, when the days are long.

Alone I wander in the wood,
But one fair spirit hears my sighs;
And half I see the crimson hood,
The radiant hair, the calm glad eyes,
That charm’d me in life’s summer mood.

In summer, when the days are long,
I love her as I lov’d of old;
My heart is light, my step is strong,
For love brings back those hours of gold,
In summer, when the days are long.

Wathen Call (1817-1890) 
from A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895, 1895 

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Wathen Call biography

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lying in the Grass / Edmund Gosse

Lying in the Grass

Between two golden tufts of summer grass,
I see the world through hot air as through glass,
And by my face sweet lights and colors pass.

Before me, dark against the fading sky,
I watch three mowers mowing, as I lie:
With brawny arms they sweep in harmony.

Brown English faces by the sun burnt red,
Rich glowing color on bare throat and head,
My heart would leap to watch them, were I dead!

And in my strong young living as I lie,
I seem to move with them in harmony,—
A fourth is mowing, and that fourth am I.

The music of the scythes that glide and leap,
The young men whistling as their great arms sweep,
And all the perfume and sweet sense of sleep,

The weary butterflies that droop their wings,
The dreamy nightingale that hardly sings,
And all the lassitude of happy things,

Are mingling with the warm and pulsing blood
That gushes through my veins a languid flood,
And feeds my spirit as the sap a bud.

Behind the mowers, on the amber air,
A dark-green beech wood rises, still and fair,
A white path winding up it like a stair.

And see that girl, with pitcher on her head,
And clean white apron on her gown of red,—
Her even-song of love is but half-said:

She waits the youngest mower. Now he goes;
Her cheeks are redder than a wild blush-rose:
They climb up where the deepest shadows close.

But though they pass, and vanish, I am there.
I watch his rough hands meet beneath her hair,
Their broken speech sounds sweet to me like prayer.

Ah! now the rosy children come to play,
And romp and struggle with the new-mown hay;
Their clear high voices sound from far away.

They know so little why the world is sad,
They dig themselves warm graves and yet are glad;
Their muffled screams and laughter make me mad!

I long to go and play among them there;
Unseen, like wind, to take them by the hair,
And gently make their rosy cheeks more fair.

The happy children! full of frank surprise,
And sudden whims and innocent ecstasies;
What godhead sparkles from their liquid eyes!

No wonder round those urns of mingled clays
That Tuscan potters fashioned in old days,
And colored like the torrid earth ablaze,

We find the little gods and loves portrayed,
Through ancient forests wandering undismayed,
And fluting hymns of pleasure unafraid.

They knew, as I do now, what keen delight
A strong man feels to watch the tender flight
Of little children playing in his sight;

What pure sweet pleasure, and what sacred love,
Come drifting down upon us from above,
In watching how their limbs and features move.

I do not hunger for a well-stored mind;
I only wish to live my life, and find
My heart in unison with all mankind.

My life is like the single dewy star
That trembles on the horizon’s primrose-bar,—
A microcosm where all things living are.

And if, among the noiseless grasses, Death
Should come behind and take away my breath,
I should not rise as one who sorroweth;

For I should pass, but all the world would be
Full of desire and young delight and glee,
And why should men be sad through loss of me?

The light is flying; in the silver-blue
The young moon shines from her bright window through:
The mowers are all gone, and I go too.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
from On Viol and Flute, 1873

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

Edmund Gosse biography

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Dyke / John Frederic Herbin

The Dyke

From dyke to hill-side sways the level sweep
     Of all the ripened hay in mid-July;
     A tideless sea of rustling melody,
Beside the river-channels of the deep.
Astray and straggling, or in broken heap,
     Where birdlings flutter, dark the fences lie.
     Far off, the tortuous rush-grown creek is dry,
Where looms the leaning barn like ancient keep.

A Neptune cuts across the sea of green
     With chariot-music trembling to the hills;
          And as the horses swim the grass divides,
Showing to heaven where his way has been.
          The sounding wheel that bares what Natures hides
     Drowns the low nestling-cry, and ruthless kills.

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923)
from The Marshlands, 1893

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

In a Garden / Radclyffe Hall

In a Garden

In the garden a thousand roses,
     A vine of jessamine flower,
Sweetpeas in coquettish poses,
     Sweetbrier with its fragrant dower.

There are hollyhocks tall and slender,
     And marigolds gay and fair,
And sunflowers in glowing splendour,
     Geraniums rich and rare;

And the wee, white, innocent daisy,
     Half hidden amid the lawn;
A bee grown drowsy and lazy
     On honey he's drunk since dawn

Is reposing with wings extended
     On some soft, passionate rose,
Aglow with a blush more splendid
     Than ever a fair cheek knows.

While a thrush, in the ivy swinging
     That clusters over the gate,
Athrob with the spring is singing,
     And ardently calls his mate.

For the spirit of all sweet odours
     The soul of a June unborn
Has hallowed my humble garden,
     And whispered to me since dawn.

And the flowers in a prayer of rapture,
     Bent low to that spell divine,
Are wafting their sweetest incense
     In clouds, at his sunlit shrine.

Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943)
from 'Twixt Earth and Stars, 1906

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

Radclyffe Hall biography

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dialogue of the Earth and Flower / Richard Oakley

Dialogue of the Earth and Flower 

The flower grew from the green
of the Earth, under the blue
of the sky, and asked something,
“I've noticed the rainbows after
clouds cried, I've seen the birds
soaring after that storm, I've seen
man break dirt by me, and set fires
so close…”

The Earth replied, “So what is your
question, my pretty one?” The
Flower went to speak,
but stopped.

As long as he's been here, he's been
alone in this field of green grass, not
even weeds encroached his small mound
that may as well have been a mountain away
from others; he saw no other flowers.
He was alone.

He raised his heavy, petal crown;
with his seeds as eyes he saw --
and not looking at the Earth, he spoke,
"I had a dream, small flowers played
in the field at dusk, where man can't see;
and though I remained on my mound and
only could watch, I would
not feel alone."

He looked down at the Earth and wept:
his seeds of eyes, fell into the dust and
the Earth was moved and
closed its hands.

"I ask that my children grow, and are never
alone like me; I give myself for them, then
leave" at this the flower dropped his petal
crown and lay on the dust, on his mound,
and the clouds cried, and the
rainbows came.

* * *

When the children play in the field at dusk
with the soaring birds, that rose and fell
amongst the laughing, cotton clouds that
now found no time to cry: the rainbows
learned not to wait for tears to come, to
come near.

When the children's play is done, the Earth
gathers them together and tells of the lonely
flower, so beautiful and sad –
and tells of his eternal smile he sees in
their playful faces.

Richard Oakley, 2017

[All rights reserved - used with permission]

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I Like Canadians / Ernest Hemingway

I Like Canadians

By A Foreigner

I like Canadians.
They are so unlike Americans.
They go home at night.
Their cigarets don't smell bad.
Their hats fit.
They really believe that they won the war.
They don't believe in Literature.
They think Art has been exaggerated.
But they are wonderful on ice skates.
A few of them are very rich.
But when they are rich they buy more horses
Than motor cars.
Chicago calls Toronto a puritan town.
But both boxing and horse-racing are illegal
In Chicago.
Nobody works on Sunday.
That doesn't make me mad.
There is only one Woodbine.
But were you ever at Blue Bonnets?
If you kill somebody with a motor car in Ontario
You are liable to go to jail.
So it isn't done.
There have been over 500 people killed by motor cars
In Chicago
So far this year.
It is hard to get rich in Canada.
But it is easy to make money.
There are too many tea rooms.
But, then, there are no cabarets.
If you tip a waiter a quarter
He says "Thank you."
Instead of calling the bouncer.
They let women stand up in the street cars.
Even if they are good-looking.
They are all in a hurry to get home to supper
And their radio sets.
They are a fine people.
I like them.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

Penny's Top 20 / June 2017

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

  1.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  2.  Dusk in June, Sara Teasdale
  3.  June in the City, John Reed
  4.  June, Margaret Deland
  5.  June (In Rotten Row), J. Ashby-Sterry
  6.  Only a Dad, Edgar Guest
  7.  A Vision of June, Alexander Posey
  8.  Spring Day, Marion Strobel
  9.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens

10.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance

11.  Evil, Arthur Rimbaud
12.  A Song for Spring, F.S. Flint
13.  Card Game, Frank Prewitt

14.  The River, Frederick George Scott
15.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
16.  The Blue Heron, Theodore Goodrich Roberts
17.  Autumn, T.E. Hulme
18.  For the Fallen, Lawrence Binyan
19.  The voice of the leaves, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
20.  A Madrigal, Jane Elizabeth MacDonald

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June / Margaret Deland


Upon the breast of smiling June
     Roses and lilies lie,
And round her yet is faint perfume
     Of violets, just gone by;

Green is her gown, with 'broidery
     Of blossoming meadow grass,
That ripples like a flowing sea
     When winds and shadows pass.

Her breast is belted by the blue
     Of succory, like the sky,
And purple heart's-ease clasp her too,
     And larkspur growing high;

Laced is her bodice green with vines,
     And dew the sun has kissed,
Jewels her scarf that faintly shines,
     In folds of morning mist!

The buttercups are fringes fair
     Around her small white feet,
And on the radiance of her hair
     Fall cherry-blossoms sweet;

The dark laburnum's chains of gold
     She twists about her throat:
Perched on her shoulder, blithe and bold,
     The brown thrush sounds his note!

And blue of the far dappled sky
     That shows at warm, still noon,
Shines in her softly smiling eye.
     Oh! who's so sweet as June ?

Margaret Deland (1857-1945)
from The Old Garden, and other verses, 1889

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

Margaret Deland biography

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Spring Day / Marion Strobel

Spring Day

I felt a fool
When you caught me smiling at myself
In the oval mirror;
But later in the day
A six-legged bug,      
Taking ten minutes to climb across
The muscles of my arm,
Convinced me of my greatness.

Marion Strobel (1895-1967)
from Poetry, March 1920

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

Marion Strobel biography

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Only a Dad / Edgar Guest

Only a Dad

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Edgar Guest (1881-1959)
from A Heap o' Livin', 1916

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

Edgar Guest biography

Friday, June 16, 2017

June in the City / John Reed

June in the City

This rock-rimmed Northern land is ringed with bloom;
Each night the warm sky hovers soft and low
Above young strolling lovers — and I know
That on far beaches drives the sea-salt spume.

Oh for a strength of flowering to thrust
Green leaves up through this iron city street!
Brown thrushes in the twilight, and a sweet
Clean wind to sweep the dim stars free from dust!

John Reed (1887-1920)
from Tamberlane, and other verses, 1917

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

John Reed biography

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dusk in June / Sara Teasdale

Dusk in June

Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.

The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,–
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
from Rivers to the Sea, 1915

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

Sara Teasdale biography

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June (In Rotten Row) / J. Ashby-Sterry


In Rotten Row, 'tis nice, you know,
To see the tide of Fashion flow!
     Though hopeless cynics carp and croon —
     I do not care one macaroon —
But love to watch the passing show!

You'll find it anything but slow,
To laugh and chaff with those you know;
     And pleasant then to sit at noon,
          In Rotten Row!

When Summer breezes whisper low,
And countless riders come and go;
     Beneath the trees in leafy June,
     I love to sit and muse and moon —
While beauties canter to and fro —
          In Rotten Row!

J. Ashby-Sterry (1836-1917)
from The Lazy Minstrel, 1886

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Song for Spring / F.S. Flint

A Song for Spring 

Out of the verdure of my heart
Has broken the bloom.

The Spring has come from her house of gloom,
In her robes of green with the purfled hem
Of all the flowers, and on her hair
Of all the flowers a diadem.
She has wrought with ardour and dainty craft
Blossom of apple, blossom of pear,–
With warp of the moon and weft of the sun
She has spun the flowers,
And dipped them every one
In vats of radiant delicate dye,–
She has spun in the loom of earth and sky,
With a spindle of rain, to the song of the wind.

I have seen her with her sheaf pass by
And scatter my garden with narcissi;
I have seen her fling her daffodils
In a burning cirque about the hills;
And as I lay and watched she stooped
And blew with her breath the buds apart
That hid in the verdure of my heart.

I think of all the covered roots;
I think of the boughs and the leaves on them;
I think of the day when first she came
With a song along the alley of laurels,
A girl with hair of amber flame,
Who woke the blossom in my heart.

F.S. Flint (1885-1960)
from In the Net of the Stars, 1909

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Vision of June / Alexander Posey

A Vision of June

At last, my white Narcissus is in bloom;
     Each blossom sheds a wondrous fragrance. Lo!
     From over bleak December's waste of snow,
In summer garments, lightly thro' the gloom,
Comes June to claim the truant in my room;
     With her the airs of sunny meadows come,
     And in the apple boughs I hear the hum
Of bees; in all the valleys, brooks resume,
'Twixt greening banks, their mumurous melody;
The sunlight bursts in splendor in the blue,
And soon the narrow walls confining me
Recede into the distance from my view;
     My spirit in the summer's largeness grows,
     And every thorn is hidden by the rose.

Alexander Posey (1873-1908)
from Poems, 1910

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Alexander Posey biography

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / May 2017

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

  1.  Rondeau: An April Day, W.M. McKeracher
  2.  April (An April Day), J. Ashby-Sterry
  3.  A May Song, Violet Fane
  4.  Spring Morning, A.E. Housman
  5.  April Madness, Charles Hanson Towne
  6.  Le Sacre du Printemps, W.J. Turner
  7.  April Fool's Day, Will E. Cowles
A little madness in the Spring, Emily Dickinson
  9.  Ode, Richard West

10.  To the Same (Philoclea), Robert Potter

11.  Easter Evening, James Church Alvord
Return of Spring, Pierre de Ronsard
13.  May (A Private View), J. Ashby-Sterry
14.  Mother o' Mine, Rudyard Kipling
15.  With a Copy of Herrick, Edmund Gosse
16.  shanghai, David Rutkowski
17.  Slow Spring, Katharine Tynan
18.  Beneath Apple Boughs, Lee Wilson Dodd
19.  A sweet exhaustion seems to hold, Aubrey de Vere
20.  May, Christina Rossetti

Source: Blogger, "Stats"