Saturday, May 27, 2017

Slow Spring / Katharine Tynan

Slow Spring

O year, grow slowly. Exquisite, holy,
   The days go on
With almonds showing the pink stars blowing
   And birds in the dawn.

Grow slowly, year, like a child that is dear,
   Or a lamb that is mild,
By little steps, and by little skips,
   Like a lamb or a child.

Katharine Tynan (1861-1931)
from Poems, 1901

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

With a Copy of Herrick / Edmund Gosse

With a Copy of Herrick

Fresh with all airs of woodland brooks
      And scents of showers,
Take to your haunt of holy books
      This saint of flowers.

When meadows burn with budding May,
      And heaven is blue,
Before his shrine our prayers we say,—
      Saint Robin true.

Love crowned with thorns is on his staff,—
      Thorns of sweet briar;  
His benediction is a laugh,
      Birds are his choir.

His sacred robe of white and red
      Unction distils;
He hath a nimbus round his head  
      Of daffodils.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
from Firdausi in Exile, and other poems, 1885

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

Edmund Gosse biography

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beneath Apple Boughs / Lee Wilson Dodd

Beneath Apple Boughs


Cool green and paling blue,
     Leaves patterned on the sky,
Blossoms in pomp of May,
     Stirred as a breeze sifts through
Stealing their souls away.
     Now one by one they fly . . .
     Blossom or butterfly? . . .
Showering me as I lie,
A nympholept of the day.


The sloping orchard leads
     Down to the valley fields;
Far hills are faint in the haze
Of languid light. As I gaze
     The vision wavers and yields
To a flitting dream,
     And I seem to hear
A ripple of voices or else a stream
     That bubbles near.
Then I wake and study the weeds
     A foot from my nose;
     Then I doze
And the ripple of dream succeeds.


Bees are busy above me,
     Droning with sleepy toil ;
From blossom to blossom, from tree to tree
          They slant:
          At my ear a fidgety ant
     Tickles his way till I suddenly foil
     His explorations; the sun like oil,
Clear as amber, drips from the leaves.
A riotous bobolink deceives
With a glory of song, as though a dozen
Warbled together, cousin and cousin!


Cool green and paling blue,
     Blossoms in pomp of May,
Slow sunlight drizzling through
     Dreaming the noon away
I smile to the patterned sky;
Blossom — or butterfly? —
Showering me as I lie
With languid vision that yields to a dream
Of liquid voices and laughing stream.


To-day I have taken ease —
All the antient liberties —
With my brothers the apple-trees!
     I have felt their sap in my veins;
My thoughts like blossoms have been
Lucidly fair — without sin.
I go home with the evening breeze,
     But the calm of noon remains.

Lee Wilson Dodd (1879-1933)
from A Modern Alchemist, and other poems, 1906

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

Lee Wilson Dodd biography

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother o' Mine / Rudyard Kipling

Mother o' Mine

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
from The Light that Failed, 1892

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

Rudyard Kipling biography

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May (A Private View) / J. Ashby-Sterry


A private view? 'Tis plain to you,
'Tis neither "private" nor a "view"!
     And yet for tickets people rush,
     To mingle in the well-dressed crush,
And come and wonder who is who.

The beauties, poets, actors, too,
With patrons, painters — not a few,
     Are elements that help to flush
          A Private View.

The pictures, you can't hope to do;
You're angered by the "precious" crew,
     And pallid maids who flop and gush.
     While carping critics who cry "Tush!"
And wildly wrangle, make you rue
          A Private View.

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A May Song / Violet Fane

A May Song

A little while my love and I,
  Before the mowing of the hay,
Twined daisy-chains and cowslip-balls,
And caroll’d glees and madrigals,
  Before the hay, beneath the may,
My love (who loved me then) and I.

For long years now my love and I
  Tread sever’d paths to varied ends;
We sometimes meet, and sometimes say
The trivial things of every day,      
  And meet as comrades, meet as friends,
My love (who loved me once) and I.

But never more my love and I
  Will wander forth, as once, together,
Or sing the songs we used to sing    
  In spring-time, in the cloudless weather:
Some chord is mute that used to ring,
  Some word forgot we used to say
  Amongst the may, before the hay,
My love (who loves me not) and I.

Violet Fane 
from Collected Verses, 1880

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Violet Fane biography

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Ode / Richard West


Dear Gray, that always in my heart
Posseses far the better part,
What mean these sudden blasts that rise
And drive the Zephyrs from the skies?
O join with mine the tuneful lay,
And invocate the tardy May.

Come, fairest Nymph, resume thy reign!
Bring all the Graces in thy train!
With balmy breath, and flowery tread,
Rise from thy soft ambrosial bed;
Where, in elysian slumber bound,
Embow'ring myrtles veil thee round.

Awake, in all thy glories drest,
Recall the Zephyrs from the west;
Restore th sun, revive the skies,
At mine, and Nature's call, arise!
Great Nature's self upbraids thy stay,
And misses her accustomed May.

See! all her works demand thy aid,
The labours of Pomona fade:
A plaint is heard from ev'ry tree;
Each budding flow'ret calls for thee;
The Birds forget to love and sing;
With storms alone the forests ring.

Come then, with Pleasure at thy side,
Diffuse the vernal spirit wide;
Create, where'er thou turn'st thy eye,
Peace, Plenty, Love, and Harmony;
Till ev'ry being share its part,
And Heav'n and Earth be glad at heart.

Richard West (1716-1742)
(translated from the Greek of Posidippus)
from Poetical Works, 1782

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Monday, May 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / April 2017

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

  1.  Easter Evening, James Church Alvord
  2.  The Branch, AE Reiff
  3.  Easter Ode, Paul Laurence Dunbar
  4.  April Madness, Charles Hanson Towne
  5.  Le Sacre du Printemps, W.J. Turner
  6.  April Fool's Day, Will E. Cowles
  7.  A little madness in the Spring, Emily Dickinson
  8.  To a Fair Young Lady, John Dryden

  9.  Spring Morning, A.E. Housman

10.  March (O Wind of March), J. Ashby-Sterry

11.  I So Liked Spring, Charlotte Mew
Winter Heavens, George Meredith
13.  Awake, Thou Spring, Thomas Campion
14.  Six O'Clock, Trumbull Stickney
15.  Canadian Folk-song, William Wilfred Campbell
16.  The Housewife: Winter Afternoon, Karle Wilson Baker
17.  Dirty Spring, Edward Sapir
18.  March, William Morris
19.  Return of Spring, Pierre de Ronsard
20.  March in Tryon, Florence D. Snelling

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rondeau: An April Day / W.M. MacKeracher

Rondeau: An April Day

An April day, when skies are blue,
And earth rejoices to renew
     Her vernal youth by lawn and lea,
     And sap mounts upward in the tree,
And ruddy buds come bursting through;

When violets of tender hue
And trilliums keep the morning dew
     Through all the sweet forenoon give me
          An April day;

When surly Winter's roystering crew
Have said the last of their adieux,
     And left the fettered river free,
     And buoyant hope and ecstasy
Of life awake, my wants are few:
          An April day.

W.M. MacKeracher
from Sonnets, and other verse, 1909

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

W.M. MacKeracher biography

Saturday, April 29, 2017

April (An April Day) / J. Ashby-Sterry


An April Day, so fresh and bright —
('Twill rain, I'm sure, before the night!)
     We've done with Winter blasts unkind —
     (Don't leave your mackintosh behind,
'Twould be a fatal oversight!)

In Spring-like garb we'll go bedight —
('Tis sure to rain, just out of spite!
     And most perplexing you will find,
          An April Day!)

The sky is blue, the clouds are light —
(I trust your Gamp is water-tight!)
     To sing and laugh we feel inclined —
     (Here comes a storm of rain and wind
And hail, that's quite enough to blight
          An April Day!)

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Morning / A.E. Housman

Spring Morning

Star and coronal and bell
  April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
  Flowers among the morning dews.

Now the old come out to look,
  Winter past and winter's pains,
How the sky in pool and brook
  Glitters on the grassy plains.

Easily the gentle air
  Wafts the turning season on;
Things to comfort them are there,
  Though 'tis true the best are gone.

Now the scorned unlucky lad
  Rousing from his pillow gnawn
Mans his heart and deep and glad
  Drinks the valiant air of dawn.

Half the night he longed to die,
  Now are sown on hill and plain
Pleasures worth his while to try
  Ere he longs to die again.

Blue the sky from east to west
  Arches, and the world is wide,
Though the girl he loves the best
  Rouses from another's side.

A.E. Housman (1859-1936)
from Last Poems, 1922

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

To a Fair Young Lady / John Dryden

To a Fair Young Lady, Going out of Town in the Spring

Ask not the cause why sullen Spring
  So long delays her flowers to bear;
Why warbling birds forget to sing,
  And winter storms invert the year:
Chloris is gone; and fate provides      
To make it Spring where she resides.

Chloris is gone, the cruel fair;
  She cast not back a pitying eye:
But left her lover in despair
To sigh, to languish, and to die:
Ah! how can those fair eyes endure
To give the wounds they will not cure?

Great God of Love, why hast thou made
  A face that can all hearts command,
That all religions can invade,
  And change the laws of every land?
Where thou hadst plac'd such power before,
  Thou shouldst have made her mercy more.

When Chloris to the temple comes,
  Adoring crowds before her fall;
She can restore the dead from tombs
  And every life but mine recall.
I only am by Love design'd
To be the victim for mankind.

John Dryden (1631-1700)
from Examen Poeticum, 1693

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Dryden biography

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Ode / Paul Laurence Dunbar

Easter Ode

To the cold, dark grave they go
Silently and sad and slow,
From the light of happy skies
And the glance of mortal eyes.
In their beds the violets spring,
And the brook flows murmuring;
But at eve the violets die,
And the brook in sand runs dry.

In the rosy, blushing morn,
See, the smiling babe is born;
For a day it lives, and then
Breathes its short life out again.
And anon gaunt-visaged Death,
With his keen and icy breath,
Bloweth out the vital fire
In the hoary-headed sire.

Heeding not the children's wail,
Fathers droop and mothers fail;
Sinking sadly from each other,
Sister parts from loving brother.
All the land is filled with wailing,
Sounds of mourning garments trailing,
With their sad portent imbued,
Making melody subdued.

But in all this depth of woe
This consoling truth we know:
There will come a time of rain,
And the brook will flow again;
Where the violet fell, 'twill grow,
When the sun has chased the snow.
See in this the lesson plain,
Mortal man shall rise again.

Well the prophecy was kept;
Christ "first fruit of them that slept"
Rose with vic'try-circled brow;
So, believing one, shalt thou.
Ah! but there shall come a day
When, unhampered by this clay,
Souls shall rise to life newborn
On that resurrection morn.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
from Oak and Ivy, 1893

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Paul Laurence Dunbar biography

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Evening / James Church Alvord

Easter Evening

Walking through woodlands and oncoming night
I saw His hair stream in the sky-line’s red,
I heard His footsteps on the path which led
Out from the naked trees; while golden light
Shook from His seamless robe, that, rimpling, slight  
As woof of dream-stuff, flamed across the bed
Of some low-gurgling brook. He was not dead —
His risen presence was a world’s delight.

It was the magic of a night too fleet
That filled the valley with a foam of mist;    
The scorch of cloud-banks that the sun still kissed,
And crunch of crinkled leaves beneath my feet.
I’d offer every breath I’ve yet to breathe,
Just to believe, O Master — to believe!

James Church Alvord
from Poetry, April 1917

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

James Church Alvord biography

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Branch / AE Reiff

The Branch

the Lord of All
descended into flesh,
came through the
 million worlds
into the one
of mercy,
unlike the prism that divides the ray,
undiffused, he came into the body's clay,
the Son
of the
the Son, the
Our world
has been
by his being
no extra-
his human body
shaped it to a tree 
that roots in wisdom
but whose beauty's trunk
to the earth sphere a branch extended,
on that tree the Lord Beauteous hung suspended,
and then we were enabled to receive him.

AE Reiff, 2016

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

Encouragements for Planting

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April Madness / Charles Hanson Towne

April Madness

There is a time when the young Year
Goes mad with very ecstasy;
When all the rapture of the world
Is crushed in one wild melody.

It is the hour when April comes
With silver flute and virelay,
With magic pipe and madrigal,
And sings her happy heart away.

The bloom and wonder of the Spring
Are vocal on her golden tongue;
The soul of Music comes to earth,
And life, and love, and joy are young.

Join, O my heart, in this wild song;
The jocund April sets you free.
Drink the old wine of her new days —
Go mad with very ecstasy!

Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949)
from Beyond the Stars, and other poems, 1913

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

Charles Hanson Towne biography

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Le Sacre du Printemps / W.J. Turner

Le Sacre du Printemps

Spring trembles on the hills and though the earth
Is grey and dark with silence and dim rains
Long bands of red and yellow ochre lie
Like corybants enswathed in vivid sashes
Under the soil that's fragrant with their presence.
The Winter widow-stolèd, grey and white,
Leans across hill and valley pensively
Weeping to leave those quiet, sober plains
Where gentle melancholy drapes her robes
In cloud and dripping wood. She is not mute,
But all her soul is gentle; reverie
In tracts of cool rain-washed reflected light
Is more delectable to her than songs
Of any passion. When, dismayed, she hears
That note of longing bubbling to the sky
Shiv'ring she turns, retires with decent train
And leaves the earth all breathless, panting hard.
Quickened with such mad trembling ecstasy
Those corybants arise, yellow and red,
And shake their vivid sashes o'er the land;
The world holds breath a moment; then they dance,
Dance madly, whirling millions springing up
Tossing slim heads, their naked beauty bare
Intoxicating the blue laughing sky
To foam imagination — Cumuli,
Cloud-white creations frothed in empty space,
So insubstantial, of such dream-like weight
That if they moved they'd vanish. Then Desire
That sucks a wraith-like beauty visible
From nothingness, and out of ordure vile
Summons bright Forms to press against the wind
Their all-too-fleeting Symmetry,
Wakes in the hearts of men and scatters seeds
Of poignant loveliness so sweet, so rare
That springing up in some far-distant time
The world will dance in sharper ecstasy,
Flowers will be taller, cities hang like blooms
Upon the breast of earth, and men and women,
Like Gods in dazzling beauty, arm in arm,
White flesh to white flesh, bathe in sapphire seas
And rapturously hunt the spirit's jewel.
Green gleam of mariners that beckons far
More beautiful than purple-furrowed oceans
Or emerald isles — but hidden in their eyes
So that they never find its dwelling-place
Or cry Eureka! resting on their oars.

W.J. Turner (1889-1946)
from The Hunter, and other poems, 1916

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

W.J. Turner biography

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A little Madness in the Spring / Emily Dickinson

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown –
Who ponders this tremendous scene –
This whole Experiment of Green –
As if it were his own!

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
circa 1875

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Fool's Day / Will E. Cowles

April Fool's Day

Talk about yer Chris'masses
Fourth o' Julys and cirkusses —
They ain't in it for the real fun
That's to be had on April one;
Even Hallowe'en is very tame
To April first — that's if yer game.

I think that April first must be
Ind'pendence Day fer kids like me,
When we kin play all sorts of jokes
And not be punished by our folks —
Though pa, he says, in a threat'nin' way:
"Bill, no nonsense from you today!"

When Jim's pants legs are found sewed up;
When ma of coffee takes a sup
And finds the sugar tastes like salt —
I say, quite inn'cent, "Taint my fault."
They frown and say, half-scold, half-laugh,
"This here is some of Willie's chaff."

The teacher has her troubles too
(You know what mischeevous boys can do).
But when I hollered "April Fool!"
She kept me in long after school.
I didn't care much for I knew
She wasn't game — like me or you.

Say, you look as though you might
Know how a boy 'd feel at night,
As though a big day's work was done,
And how he'd fooled 'em all — 'cept one —
For pa, he'd said to me, one side,
"Don't ye fool Me, 'r I'll tan yer hide!"

Will E. Cowles
from The Globe, April 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Penny's Top 20 / March 2017

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

  1.  Winter Heavens, George Meredith
  2.  I So Liked Spring, Charlotte Mew
  3.  Dirty Spring, Edward Sapir
  4.  March, William Morris
  5.  March (O Wind of March), J. Ashby-Sterry
  6.  March in Tryon, Florence D. Snelling
  7.  Return of Spring, Pierre de Ronsard
Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
  9.  Awake, Thou Spring, Thomas Campion

10.  Bird CageHector de Saint-Denys Garneau  

11.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens 
Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
13.  Evil / Le Mal, Arthur Rimbaud
14.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
15.  Spleen, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
16.  The Dwarf, Wallace Stevens
17.  I heard a bird sing, Oliver Hereford
18.  A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence 
19.  Horatian Ode 1.9, Charles Stuart Calverley
20. Autumn, T.E. Hulme

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I So Liked Spring / Charlotte Mew

I So Liked Spring

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;–
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing,–
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928), 1923

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Return of Spring / Pierre de Ronsard

Return of Spring

God shield ye, heralds of the spring!
Ye faithful swallows, fleet of wing,
    Houps, cuckoos, nightingales,
Turtles, and every wilder bird,
That make your hundred chirpings heard    
    Through the green woods and dales.

God shield ye, Easter daisies all,
Fair roses, buds, and blossoms small,
    And he whom erst the gore
Of Ajax and Narciss did print,      
Ye wild thyme, anise, balm, and mint,
    I welcome ye once more!

God shield ye, bright embroidered train
Of butterflies, that on the plain
    Of each sweet herblet sip;      
And ye, new swarms of bees, that go
Where the pink flowers and yellow grow
    To kiss them with your lip!

A hundred thousand times I call
A hearty welcome on ye all!      
    This season how I love —
This merry din on every shore —
For winds and storms, whose sullen roar
    Forbade my steps to rove.

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585)
translated by Henry Francis Cary (1772-1844)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Awake, thou Spring / Thomas Campion

Awake, thou Spring

Awake, thou spring of speaking grace, mute rest becomes not thee!
The fairest women, while they sleep, and pictures, equal be.
O come and dwell in love's discourses,
     Old renewing, new creating.
The words which thy rich tongue discourses,
     Are not of the common rating!

Thy voice is as an Echo clear, which Music doth beget,
Thy speech is as an Oracle, which none can counterfeit:
For thou alone, without offending,
     Hast obtained power of enchanting;
And I could hear thee without ending,
     Other comfort never wanting.

Some little reason brutish lives with human glory share;
But language is our proper grace, from which they sever'd are.
As brutes in reason man surpasses,
     Men in speech excell each other:
If speech be then the best of graces,
     Do it not in slumber smother!

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
from The Third and Fourth Book of Ayres, 1617

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Thomas Campion biography

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dirty Spring / Edward Sapir

Dirty Spring

The streets are filled with muck,
A dirty mess of melting snow and mud,
Splashing recklessly
As heavy-footed horses trot along.
Down from the snow-encrusted roofs
An icy dirty trickle pelts the pavement,
Little splashes mid the universal splash.
And the sky is blotched with dirty-gray cloudlets
Speeding under the sun.
The porches dribble with wet and they gently steam
Where the sun, piercing the dirty cloudlets,
Can cook them.
An irritated wind blows intermittently,
Banging doors, scattering wisps, napping capes and skirts.

The snow-locked beauty of winter is gone,
The rigors are loosening up;
Clean summer's not here yet.
The city moves from cleanly cold to cleanly warmth
Immersed in dirt.

Therefore, my friends, take heart!
You must not despair
When the passage from old to new is dirty;
When you ve left the old realm of glittering cold
And have not yet reached the new realm of glistening warmth;
When dead tradition is back of you,
When the new-born promise is off ahead of you,
And you struggle and splash in a welter of mud.

Edward Sapir (1884-1939)
from Dreams and Gibes, 1917

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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March / William Morris


Slayer of winter, art thou here again?
O welcome, thou that bring’st the summer nigh!
The bitter wind makes not thy victory vain,
Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky.
Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dry
Make April ready for the throstle’s song,
Thou first redresser of the winter’s wrong!

Yea, welcome March! and though I die ere June,
Yet for the hope of life I give thee praise,
Striving to swell the burden of the tune
That even now I hear thy brown birds raise,
Unmindful of the past or coming days;
Who sing, “O joy! a new year is begun!
What happiness to look upon the sun!”

O, what begetteth all this storm of bliss,
But Death himself, who, crying solemnly,
Even from the heart of sweet Forgetfulness,
Bids us, “Rejoice! lest pleasureless ye die.
Within a little time must ye go by.
Stretch forth your open hands, and, while ye live,
Take all the gifts that Death and Life may give.”

William Morris (1834-1896)
from The Earthly Paradise, 1870

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Morris biography

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March (O Wind of March) - J. Ashby-Sterry

from The Social Zodiac:


O Wind of March! O biting breeze!
It nips the nose and nips the trees;
     It whirls with fury down the street,
     It makes us flee in quick retreat,
And gives us cold and makes us sneeze!

It makes us cough and choke and wheeze,
With painful back and aching knees;
     With dire discomfort 'tis replete,
          O Wind of March!

Our hands we're glad enough to squeeze,
In cuffs and muffs and muffatees;
     'Tis charged with blinding, cutting sleet,
     It spoils our temper, chills our feet,
And brings the Doctor lots of fees —
          O Wind of March!

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March in Tryon / Florence D. Snelling

March in Tryon


In the sweet March morning
  On the upland road
Sunshine and Blue Moth
  And I were abroad.

Like a voice the Silence   
  Where old leaves lay dead:
“Make straight a highway
  For the Spring!” it said.


O East, there still are stars (a sign for sleep!)
  Like daffodils in a dark garden springing,
While the white moon slips down that other deep
  Of West, with low clouds clinging.
We wake for day, my armored-pine and I,
But only Watchman Wind goes lightly by,
  His “All’s well!” singing.


I have listened, O wind —
I must go.
The valleys below
Into blossom are breaking,
But snow
I shall find
On the way I am taking,
I know.

Level lands become steep,
Rough with stone.
There goes none
On this journey uncharted,
Save one
Who will keep
To the heights joyous-hearted,

I have felt thee, O wind,
Out of space
Touch my face.
There shall be no returning.
New ways
Feet must find,
And the slow lips be learning
New praise.

Florence D. Snelling 
from Poetry, March 1919

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

Florence D. Snelling biography

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Winter Heavens / George Meredith

Winter Heavens

Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home
More than the nest whereto apace we strive.
Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive,
In swarms outrushing from the golden comb.
They waken waves of thoughts that burst to foam:
The living throb in me, the dead revive.
Yon mantle clothes us: there, past mortal breath,
Life glistens on the river of the death.
It folds us, flesh and dust; and have we knelt,
Or never knelt, or eyed as kine the springs
Of radiance, the radiance enrings:
And this is the soul’s haven to have felt.

George Meredith (1828-1909)
from A Reading of Earth, 1888

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

George Meredith biography

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / February 2017

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

  1.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens 
  2.  Six O'Clock, Trumbull Stickney
  3.  A Game of Chess, Mortimer Collins
  4.  Sonnet for the 14th of February, Thomas Hood
  5.  To the Same (Philoclea), Robert Potter
  6.  February in Rome, Edmund Gosse
  7.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  8.  The Housewife: Winter Afternoon, Karle Wilson Baker

  9.  February, Ralph Hodgson

10.  February (Saint Valentine), J. Ashby-Sterry

11.  Canadian Folk-Song, William Wilfred Campbell
Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
13.  The Journey of the Magi, T.S. Eliot
14.  Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion, Wallace Stevens
15.  Portrait, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
16.  Evil / Le Mal, Arthur Rimbaud
17.  Men Made out of Words, Wallace Stevens
18.  Bird CageHector de Saint-Denys Garneau 
19.  White Sands Meet the Blue/Green Sea, Jeanne Ames
20. Autumn, T.E. Hulme

Source: Blogger, "Stats"

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Canadian Folk-Song / William Wilfred Campbell

Canadian Folk-Song

The doors are shut, the windows fast,
Outside the gust is driving past,
Outside the shivering ivy clings,
While on the hob the kettle sings.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,      
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

The streams are hushed up where they flowed,
The ponds are frozen along the road,
The cattle are housed in shed and byre
While singeth the kettle on the fire.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

The fisherman on the bay in his boat
Shivers and buttons up his coat;
The traveller stops at the tavern door,  
And the kettle answers the chimney’s roar.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

The firelight dances upon the wall,
Footsteps are heard in the outer hall;  
A kiss and a welcome that fill the room,
And the kettle sings in the glimmer and gloom.
    Margery, Margery, make the tea,
    Singeth the kettle merrily.

William Wilfred Campbell (1860-1918)
from Snowflakes and Sunbeams, 1888

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Housewife: Winter Afternoon /
Karle Wilson Baker

The Housewife: Winter Afternoon

The children's cat upon the window-sill,
The little sounds that make the house so still,

That old brown hunting-hat upon the rack,
I give away, and John keeps getting back,

The jonquil blooming in the yellow bowl —
I well believe that each one has a soul,

Each, body to some delicate, rich dream,
As my blue tea-pot to its perfumed steam.

" The shadows of the angels' houses " — so
Said William Blake of houses here below,

And if, at last, they'd set upon my grave,
(As once they furnished forth the red-skinned brave,)

My old blue tea-pot, and a bowl like this,
I think I'd sooner take root in new bliss,

And not come dreaming back, a happy fool,
To wait, like this, till Johnny comes from school.

Karle Wilson Baker (1878-1960)
from Burning Bush, 1922

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

Karle Wilson Baker biography

Sunday, February 19, 2017

To the Same (Philoclea) / Robert Potter

To the Same (Philoclea)

Hark, how the chill north chides among the trees,
Making us shrink and shiver at the sound!
See, how the snow comes beating in the breeze,
And covers with unkindly cold the ground!
Keen cuts the cold with bitter-biting hate,
And sad th' unsightly season's stormy state.

The dainty daisy, and the primrose pale,
The silver'd snow-drop, and the violet blue,
The gorgeous daffodil that decks the dale,
The crocus glitt'ring in his golden hue,
Fold up their silken leaves, and droop their heads,
As they wou'd shrink again into their beds.

Mute is the music of the thrushes' throat;
No more the lively linnet sweetly sings;
Hush'd is the light lark's wildly warbled note,
And the gay goldfinch droops his gaudy wings;
The robin-red-breast, indigent and chill,
Knocks at the casement with familiar bill.

Pierc'd with the eager air the hardy hind,
Wrapt in his coarse-spun duffield bends along;
And hastens homeward from the wintry wind,
Nor chears his journey with one jocund song:
The houseless herds from such a raging sky
For shelter to the friendly hedge-rows fly.

This is the mirror of my mournfull mind,
All there is winter's waste, alas the while!
For thou, my Philoclea, art unkind,
Ah! too unkind to bless me with a smile:
All as the year with wrathfull winter wasted,
The budding blossoms of my joys are blasted.

Mirth, goddess gay, my pensive breast forsakes,
The lightly tripping train of pleasures flies;
Here his sad seat mute melancholy makes,
And dull despair, the god of doleful sighs:
With chiding blasts blow, blow thou winter's wind,
Thy murmurs are meet music for my wind.

But when the genial ruler of the year
Chears the glad vallies with a vernal ray,
Deck'd in their lovely liveries they appear,
With blooming bushes and fresh flowrets gay:
Pruning their painted plumes the sweet birds sing,
The hills, the dales, the woods, the fountains ring.

So, Philoclea, should'st thou sweetly smile
In pity of my painfull pangs of love,
That smile wou'd ev'ry cruel care beguile,
And wastfull winter from my heart remove;
Rose-robed the sprightly spring wou'd revel here,
And own thee for the ruler of my year.

Robert Potter (1721-1804)
from Poems, 1774

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February (Saint Valentine) / J. Ashby-Sterry

from The Social Zodiac:


Saint Valentine! The post is late!
No letters come — 'tis long past Eight!
     But on this bright auspicious day
     Frivolity holds laughing sway,
And sober people have to wait!

The burdened postmen moan their fate,
This Festival they reprobate;
     And often think they'd like to flay
           Saint Valentine!

But in these views you'll find Miss Kate
Does not at all participate;
     And Beryl, Baby, Minnie, May,
     With Gertie, Ethel, Lily, Fay,
Right gleefully commemorate —
           Saint Valentine!

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

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

J. Ashby-Sterry biography

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sonnet for the 14th of February / Thomas Hood

Sonnet for the 14th of February

No popular respect will I omit
To do thee honor on this happy day,
When every loyal lover tasks his wit
His simple truth in studious rhymes to pay,
And to his mistress dear his hopes convey.
Rather thou knowest I would still outrun
All calendars with Love’s — whose date alway
Thy bright eyes govern better than the Sun —
For with thy favor was my life begun;
And still I reckon on from smiles to smiles,
And not by summers, for I thrive on none
But those thy cheerful countenance compiles:
Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine,
Love, thou art every day my Valentine.

Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
from Poems, 1846

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Game of Chess / Mortimer Collins

A Game of Chess

Terrace and lawn are white with frost,
Whose fretwork flowers upon the panes —
A mocking dream of summer, lost
'Mid winter's icy chains.

White-hot, indoors, the great logs gleam,
Veiled by a flickering flame of blue:
I see my love as in a dream —
Her eyes are azure, too

She binds her hair behind her ears
(Each little ear so like a shell),
Touches her ivory Queen, and fears
She is not playing well.

For me, I think of nothing less:
I think how those pure pearls become her —
And which is sweetest, winter chess
Or garden strolls in summer.

O linger, frost, upon the pane!
O faint blue flame, still softly rise!
O, dear one, thus with me remain,
That I may watch thine eyes!

Mortimer Collins (1827-1876)
from The Inn of Strange Meetings, 1871

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Mortimer Collins biography

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February in Rome / Edmund Gosse

February in Rome

When Roman fields are red with cyclamen,
  And in the palace gardens you may find,
  Under great leaves and sheltering briony-bind,
Clusters of cream-white violets, oh then
The ruined city of immortal men      
  Must smile, a little to her fate resigned,
  And through her corridors the slow warm wind
Gush harmonies beyond a mortal ken.
Such soft favonian airs upon a flute,
  Such shadowy censers burning live perfume,    
  Shall lead the mystic city to her tomb;
Nor flowerless springs, nor autumns without fruit,
Nor summer mornings when the winds are mute,
  Trouble her soul till Rome be no more Rome.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
from New Poems, 1879

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

Edmund Gosse biography

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February / Ralph Hodgson


A few tossed thrushes save
That carolled less than cried
Against the dying rave
And moan that never died,
No bird sang then; no thorn,
No tree was green beside
Them only never shorn –
The few by all the winds
And chill mutations born
Of Winter's many minds
Abused and whipt in vain –
Swarth yew and ivy kinds
And iron breeds germane.

Ralph Hodgson (1871-1962)
from Poems, 1917

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

Ralph Hodgson biography

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Six O'Clock / Trumbull Stickney

Six O'Clock

Now burst above the city's cold twilight
The piercing whistles and the tower-clocks:
For day is done. Along the frozen docks
The workmen set their ragged shirts aright.
Thro' factory doors a stream of dingy light
Follows the scrimmage as it quickly flocks
To hut and home among the snow's gray blocks.-
I love you, human labourers. Good-night!
Good-night to all the blackened arms that ache!
Good-night to every sick and sweated brow.
To the poor girl that strength and love forsake.
To the poor boy who can no more! I vow
The victim soon shall shudder at the stake
And fall in blood: we bring him even now.

Trumbull Stickney (1874-1904)
from The Poems of Trumbull Stickney, 1905

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Trumbull Stickney biography

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Penny's Top 20 / January 2017

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

  1.  The Reader, Wallace Stevens 
  2.  Esthetique du Mal, Wallace Stevens
  3.  New Year's Ode to Liberty, James G. Percival
  4.  Blow, blow, thou winter wind, William Shakespeare
  5.  Inaugural Poem, Richard Oakley
  6.  America: A poem, Michael Pendragon
  7.  January, William Carlos Williams
  8.  Snow, Louis MacNeice

  9.  Winter, Samuel Johnson

10.  January (Upon the Ice), J. Ashby-Sterry

11.  Winter: A dirge, Thomas Stott
Lines to the New Year, 1822, Adam Hood Burwell
13.  Evil / Le Mal, Arthur Rimbaud
14.  Penny, or Penny's Hat, George J. Dance  
15.  Long May You Live, George J. Dance
16.  Last Week in October, Thomas Hardy
17.  Autumn Music, George J. Dance
18.  A Fading of the Sun, Wallace Stevens
19.  November, F.W. Harvey
20. A Winter's Tale, D.H. Lawrence 

Source: Blogger, "Stats"