Archived Poems of the Month 2007 - 2008

Archived Poems for 2001-2002
Archived Poems for 2003-2004
Archived Poems for 2005-2006
Archived Poems for 2007-2008
Archived Poems for 2009-2010
January '07Calendar of Sonnets: January February '07Yellow Jessamine
March '07Earliest Spring April '07Blue Squills
May '07May Night June '07Ballade of Midsummer Days and Nights
July '07Flags of Freedom August '07August, 1842
with a remembrance of August, 1807
September '07Calendar of Sonnets: September October '07October Arriving
November '07November Night December '07Flame-Heart
January '08Happy New Year February '08The Mockingbird
March '08More forest, and more April '081 VII from Withered Leaves
May '08Faith and Fate June '08Hyla Brook
July '08Francis Ledwidge August '08There Will Come Soft Rains
September '08September in Austrailia October '08The Wild Swans at Coole
November '08(it snowed the day her daughter died) December '08Bring, in this timeless grave to throw

Poem of the Month: January 2007

 A Calendar of Sonnets: January
snow on outer drive O winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire
Her roses to forego the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire
In vain to build.
                       O Heart, when Love's sun goes
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter's own release.
    —Helen Jackson

Poem of the Month: February 2007

 Yellow Jessamine
yellow jessamine
In tangled wreaths, in clustered gleaming stars,
    In floating, curling sprays,
The golden flower comes shining through the woods
    These February days;
Forth go all hearts, all hands, from out the town,
    To bring her gayly in,
This wild, sweet Princess of far Florida—
    The yellow jessamine.

The live-oaks smile to see her lovely face
    Peep from the thickets; shy,
She hides behind the leaves her golden buds
    Till, bolder grown, on high
She curls a tendril, throws a spray, then flings
    Herself aloft in glee,
And, bursting into thousand blossoms swings
    In wreaths from tree to tree.
yellow jessamine The dwarf-palmetto on his knees adores
    This Princess of the air;
The lone pine-barren broods afar and sighs,
    “Ah! come, lest I despair;”
The myrtle-thickets and ill-tempered thorns
    Quiver and thrill within,
As through their leaves they feel the dainty touch
    Of yellow jessamine.
yellow jessamine
The garden-roses wonder as they see
    The wreaths of golden bloom,
Brought in from the far woods with eager haste
    To deck the poorest room,
The rich man’s house, alike; the loaded hands
    Give sprays to all they meet,
Till, gay with flowers, the people come and go,
    And all the air is sweet.

The Southern land, well weary of its green
    Which may not fall nor fade,
Bestirs itself to greet the lovely flower
    With leaves of fresher shade;
The pine has tassels, and the orange-trees
    Their fragrant work begin:
The spring has come—has come to Florida,
   With yellow jessamine.
    —Constance Fenimore Woolson

Poem of the Month: March 2007

 Earliest Spring
Brier in winter Tossing his mane of snows in wildest eddies and tangles,
Lion-like March cometh in, hoarse, with tempestuous breath,
Through all the moaning chimneys, and 'thwart all the hollows and angles
Round the shuddering house, threating of winter and death.

But in my heart I feel the life of the wood and the meadow
Thrilling the pulses that own kindred with fibres that lift
Bud and blade to the sunward, within the inscrutable shadow,
Deep in the oak's chill core, under the gathering drift.

Nay, to earth's life in mine some prescience, or dream, or desire
(How shall I name it aright?) comes for a moment and goes—
Rapture of life ineffable, perfect—as if in the brier,
Leafless there by my door, trembled a sense of the rose.
    —William Dean Howells

Poem of the Month: April 2007

 Blue Squills
How many million Aprils came
     Before I ever knew
How white a cherry bough could be,
     A bed of squills, how blue.

And many a dancing April
     When life is done with me,
Will lift the blue flame of the flower
     And the white flame of the tree.

Oh, burn me with your beauty, then,
     Oh, hurt me, tree and flower,
Lest in the end death try to take
     Even this glistening hour.

O shaken flowers, O shimmering trees,
     O sunlit white and blue,
Wound me, that I through endless sleep
      May bear the scar of you.
--Sara Teasdale

Poem of the Month: May 2007

May Night
moon THE spring is fresh and fearless
    And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
    The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the moving shadows
    I catch my breath and sing--
My heart is fresh and fearless
    And over-brimmed with spring.
    —Sara Teasdale

Poem of the Month: June 2007

Ballade (Double Refrain) of Midsummer Days and Nights - to W.H.
day With a ripple of leaves and a tinkle of streams
The full world rolls in a rhythm of praise,
And the winds are one with the clouds and beams -
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
The dusk grows vast; in a purple haze,
While the West from a rapture of sunset rights,
Faint stars their exquisite lamps upraise -
Midsummer nights! O midsummer nights!

The wood's green heart is a nest of dreams,
The lush grass thickens and springs and sways,
The rathe wheat rustles, the landscape gleams -
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
In the stilly fields, in the stilly ways,
All secret shadows and mystic lights,
Late lovers murmur and linger and gaze -
Midsummer nights! O midsummer nights!
night There's a music of bells from the trampling teams,
Wild skylarks hover, the gorses blaze,
The rich, ripe rose as with incense steams -
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
A soul from the honeysuckle strays,
And the nightingale as from prophet heights
Sings to the Earth of her million Mays -
Midsummer nights! O midsummer nights!

Envoy

And it's O, for my dear and the charm that stays -
Midsummer days! Midsummer days!
It's O, for my Love and the dark that plights -
Midsummer nights! O midsummer nights!
    —William E. Henley

Poem of the Month: July 2007

Flags of Freedom
flag Today's the day our younger son
Is going off to war,
We've sometimes won before.
Flags that line old main street
Are blowin' in the wind:
These must be the flags of freedom flyin'

Church bells are ringin'
As the families stand and wave.
Some of them are cryin'
But the soldiers look so brave,
Lookin' straight ahead
Like they know just where they're goin'
Past the flags of freedom flyin'
flag Sister has her headphones on,
She hears the music blasting;
She sees her brother marchin' by -
Their bond is everlasting -
Listening to Bob Dylan singin' in 1963
Watching the flags of freedom flyin'

She sees the president speakin'
On a flat-screen TV
In the window of the old appliance store.
She turns to see her brother again
But he's already walkin' past
The flags of freedom flyin'
flag Have you seen the flags of freedom?
What color are they now?
Do you think that you believe in yours
More than they do theirs somehow
When you see the flags of freedom flyin'?

Today's the day our younger son
Is goin' off to war
Fightin' in the age old battle
We've sometimes won before.
Flags that line old main street
Are blowin' in the wind
These must be the flags of freedom flyin'
    —Neil Young

Poem of the Month: August 2007

August, 1842
with a remembrance of August, 1807
Newark Abbey I gaze, where August's sunbeam falls
Along these grey and lonely walls,
Till in its light absorbed appears
The lapse of five-and-thirty years.

If change there be, I trace it not
In all this consecrated spot:
No new imprint of Ruin's march
On roofless wall and frameless arch:
The hills, the woods, the fields, the stream,
Are basking in the self-same beam:
The fall, that turns the unseen mill
As then it murmured, murmurs still:
It seems, as if in one were cast
The present and the imaged past,
Spanning, as with bridge sublime,
That awful lapse of human time,
That gulph, unfathomably spread
Between the living and the dead.
  For all too well my spirit feels The only change this place reveals:
The sunbeams play, the breezes stir,
Unseen, unfelt, unheard by her,
Who, on that long-past August day,
First saw with me those ruins grey.

Whatever span the fates allow,
Ere I shall be as she is now,
Still in my bosom's inmost cell
Shall that deep-treasured memory dwell:
That, more than language can express,
Pure miracle of loveliness,
Whose voice so sweet, whose eyes so bright,
Were my soul's music, and its light,
In those blest days, when life was new,
And hope was false, but love was true
    —Thomas Love Peacock

Poem of the Month: September 2007

A Calendar of Sonnets: September
golden leaves O golden month! How high thy gold is heaped!
The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
On wands; the chestnut's yellow pennons tongue
To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped;
And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among
The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung
Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped
grapes The purple grape,--last thing to ripen, late
By very reason of its precious cost.
O Heart, remember, vintages are lost
If grapes do not for freezing night-dews wait.
Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy's estate,
Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!
    —Helen Jackson

Poem of the Month: October 2007

October Arriving
ant on wall I only have a measly ant
To think with today.
Others have pictures of saints,
Others have clouds in the sky.

The winter might be at the door,
For he’s all alone
And in a hurry to hide.
Nevertheless, unable to decide
shadow on wall He retraces his steps
Several times and finds himself
On a huge blank wall
That has no window.

Dark masses of trees
Cast their mazes before him,
Only to erase them next
With a sly, sea-surging sound.
    —Charles Simic

Poem of the Month: November 2007

November Night
crow at dawn Listen...
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.
    —Adelaide Crapsey

Poem of the Month: December 2007

Flame-Heart
poinsettia So much have I forgotten in ten years,
  So much in ten brief years; I have forgot
What time the purple apples come to juice
  And what month brings the shy forget-me-not;
Forgotten is the special, startling season
  Of some beloved tree’s flowering and fruiting,
What time of year the ground doves brown the fields
  And fill the noonday with their curious fluting:
I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.
poinsettia I still recall the honey-fever grass,
  But I cannot bring back to mind just when
We rooted them out of the ping-wing path
  To stop the mad bees in the rabbit pen.
I often try to think in what sweet month
  The languid painted ladies used to dapple
The yellow bye road mazing from the main,
  Sweet with the golden threads of the rose-apple:
I have forgotten, strange, but quite remember
The poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December.
poinsettia What weeks, what months, what time o’ the mild year
  We cheated school to have our fling at tops?
What days our wine-thrilled bodies pulsed with joy
  Feasting upon blackberries in the copse?
Oh, some I know! I have embalmed the days,
  Even the sacred moments, when we played,
All innocent of passion uncorrupt,
  At noon and evening in the flame-heart’s shade:
We were so happy, happy,—I remember
Beneath the poinsettia’s red in warm December.
      —Claude McKay

Poem of the Month: Janurary 2008

Happy New Year
solstice How beautiful the turning of the year!
A moment artificial yet profound:
Point upon an arbitrary chart
Passing like a breath upon the heart,
Yearning with anticipation wound,
New hope new harbored in old-fashioned cheer.
Even when the boundary line is clear,
We recognize the oneness of the ground.
Years, like circles, do not end or start
Except we lay across their truth our art,
Adjusting dates as they go round and round
Revolving to a tune long sung and dear.
      —Nicholas Gordon

Poem of the Month: February 2008

The Mockingbird
Mockingbird Superb and sole, upon a plumed spray
That o'er the general leafage boldly grew,
He summ'd the woods in song; or typic drew
The watch of hungry hawks, the lone dismay
Of languid doves when long their lovers stray,
And all birds' passion-plays that sprinkle dew
At morn in brake or bosky avenue.
Whate'er birds did or dreamed, this bird could say.
Then down he shot, bounced airily along
sward, twitched in a grasshopper, made song
Midflight, perched, prinked, and to his art again.
Sweet Science, this large riddle read me plain:
How may the death of that dull insect be
The life of yon trim Shakespeare on the tree?
      —Sidney Lanier

Poem of the Month: March 2008

More forest and more
sun More forest, and more. The day darkens,
Blue grows beneath, and in the meadows grass
With frosty dew grows pale...
The gray owl awakens.

To the west the line of pines
Stretches like an army of guards,
And the sun, smoldering like the Firebird,
Burns their ancient wilderness.
      —Ivan Bunin (tr me)

Poem of the Month: April 2008

1 VII from Withered Leaves
moon over sea Your eyes are like the sea
peaceful, shining:
the ancient grief of my heart
sinks in them, as into dust

Your eyes are like a spring
clean and pearl-bottomed;
and hope, like summer lightning
flashes at me from them.
      —Ivan Franko (tr me)

Poem of the Month: May 2008

Faith and Fate
rider at night To horse, my dear, and out into the night!
Stirrup and saddle and away, away!
Into the darkness, into the affright,
Into the unknown on our trackless way!
Past bridge and town missiled with flying feet, 5
Into the wilderness our riding thrills;
The gallop echoes through the startled street,
And shrieks like laughter in the demoned hills;
Things come to meet us with fantastic frown,
And hurry past with maniac despair; 10
Death from the stars looks ominously down—
Ho, ho, the dauntless riding that we dare!
    East, to the dawn, or west or south or north!
    Loose rein upon the neck of Fate—and forth!
      —Richard Hovey

Poem of the Month: June 2008

Hyla Brook
Hyla Brook By June our brook’s run out of song and speed.
Sought for much after that, it will be found
Either to have gone groping underground
(And taken with it all the Hyla breed
That shouted in the mist a month ago,
Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow)—
Or flourished and come up in jewel-weed,
Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent
Even against the way its waters went.
Its bed is left a faded paper sheet
Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat—
A brook to none but who remember long.
This as it will be seen is other far
Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.
We love the things we love for what they are
      —Robert Frost

Poem of the Month: July 2008

Francis Ledwidge
hedgerow and moon
linnet
blackbird
(Killed in action July 31, 1917)

Nevermore singing
Will you go now,
Wearing wild moonlight
On your brow.
The moon’s white mood
In your silver mind
Is all forgotten.
Words of wind
From off the hedgerow
After rain,
You do not hear them;
They are vain.
There is a linnet
Craves a song,
And you returning
Before long.
Now who will tell her,
Who can say
On what great errand
You are away?
You whose kindred
Were hills of Meath,
Who sang the lane-rose
From her sheath,
What voice will cry them
The grief at dawn
Or say to the blackbird
You are gone?
      —Grace Hazard Conkling

Poem of the Month: August 2008

There Will Come Soft Rains
plum There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
      —Sara Teasdale

Poem of the Month: September 2008

September in Australia
spring Gray Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
  And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West
  And the Spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
 While the forest discovers
Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,
 And a music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift silver feet!
  She glides, and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
  With her blossomy traces;
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
  She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
  Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips
  In a darling old fashion;
And the day goeth down with a song on its lips
  Whose key-note is passion;
Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea
  I stand, and remember
Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,
  Resplendent September.

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon
  And beats on the beaches,
So filled with a tender and tremulous tune
  That touches and teaches;
The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,
  And the death of Devotion,
Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme
  In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,
  In the cool mountain-mosses,
May whisper together, September, alone
  Of our loves and our losses.
One word for her beauty, and one for the place
  She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
  To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white
  On the forehead of Morning
Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night
  Are heavy with warning!
Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud
  Through its echoing gorges;
She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,
  And her feet in the surges!

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones—
  Chief temples of thunder—
The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,
  Gliding over and under.
The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,
  Leapeth wild at the forelands;
And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,
  Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes—of shadow and shine—
  September the splendid!
My song hath no music to mingle with thine,
  And its burden is ended;
But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,
  By mountain, by river,
May lighten and listen, and loiter and run,
  With thy voices forever.
      —Henry Clarence Kendall

Poem of the Month: October 2008

The Wild Swans at Coole
wild swans The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
wild swans I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
      —William Butler Yeats

Poem of the Month: November 2008

(it snowed the day her daughter died)
snow Why did you vanish
into empty sky?
Even the fragile snow,
when it falls,
falls in this world.
      —Izumi Shikibu [974?-1034?]
tr. by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani

Bring, in this timeless grave to throw
graveyard in snow    Bring, in this timeless grave to throw
No cypress, sombre on the snow;
Snap not from the bitter yew
His leaves that live December through;
Break no rosemary, bright with rime
And sparkling to the cruel crime;
Nor plod the winter land to look
For willows in the icy brook
To cast them leafless round him: bring
To spray that ever buds in spring.

   But if the Christmas field has kept
Awns the last gleaner overstept,
Or shrivelled flax, whose flower is blue
A single season, never two;
Or if one haulm whose year is o’er
Shivers on the upland frore,
—Oh, bring from hill and stream and plain
Whatever will not flower again,
To give him comfort: he and those
Shall bide eternal bedfellows
Where low upon the couch he lies
Whence he never shall arise.
      —A.E. Housman

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