Tag Archive | a calendar of sonnets

A Calendar of Sonnets: January

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS: JANUARY

By Helen Hunt Jackson

.
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.

A Calendar of Sonnets: December

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS: DECEMBER

By Helen Hunt Jackson


The lakes of ice gleam bluer than the lakes
Of water ‘neath the summer sunshine gleamed:
Far fairer than when placidly it streamed,
The brook its frozen architecture makes,
And under bridges white its swift way takes.
Snow comes and goes as messenger who dreamed
Might linger on the road; or one who deemed
His message hostile gently for their sakes
Who listened might reveal it by degrees.
We gird against the cold of winter wind
Our loins now with mighty bands of sleep,
In longest, darkest nights take rest and ease,
And every shortening day, as shadows creep
O’er the brief noontide, fresh surprises find.

A Calendar of Sonnets: August

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS:  AUGUST

By Helen Hunt Jackson

Silence again.  The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects’ aimless industry.

Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge!  Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.

Poor middle-aged summer!  Vain this show!
Whole fields of Golden-Rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;

And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!

A Calendar of Sonnets: July

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS – JULY

By Helen Hunt Jackson

Some flowers are withered and some joys have died;
The garden reeks with an East Indian scent
From beds where gillyflowers stand weak and spent;
The white heat pales the skies from side to side;

But in still lakes and rivers, cool, content,
Like starry blooms on a new firmament,
White lilies float and regally abide.

In vain the cruel skies their hot rays shed;
The lily does not feel their brazen glare.
In vain the pallid clouds refuse to share

Their dews, the lily feels no thirst, no dread.
Unharmed she lifts her queenly face and head;
She drinks of living waters and keeps fair.

A Calendar of Sonnets: June

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS: JUNE

By Helen Hunt Jackson

O month whose promise and fulfilment blend,
And burst in one! it seems the earth can store
In all her roomy house no treasure more;
Of all her wealth no farthing have to spend
On fruit, when once this stintless flowering end.
And yet no tiniest flower shall fall before
It hath made ready at its hidden core
Its tithe of seed, which we may count and tend
Till harvest.  Joy of blossomed love, for thee
Seems it no fairer thing can yet have birth?
No room is left for deeper ecstasy?
Watch well if seeds grow strong, to scatter free
Germs for thy future summers on the earth.
A joy which is but joy soon comes to dearth.

A Calendar of Sonnets: April

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS:  APRIL

By Helen Hunt Jackson

No days such honored days as these!  While yet
Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
For some fair thing which should forever bide
On earth, her beauteous memory to set
In fitting frame that no age could forget,
Her name in lovely April’s name did hide,
And leave it there, eternally allied
To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget.
And when fair Aphrodite passed from earth,
Her shrines forgotten and her feasts of mirth,
A holier symbol still in seal and sign,
Sweet April took, of kingdom most divine,
When Christ ascended, in the time of birth
Of spring anemones, in Palestine.

A Calendar of Sonnets: March

A CALENDAR OF SONNETS:  MARCH

By Helen Hunt Jackson

Month which the warring ancients strangely styled
The month of war,–as if in their fierce ways
Were any month of peace!–in thy rough days
I find no war in Nature, though the wild
Winds clash and clang, and broken boughs are piled
As feet of writhing trees.  The violets raise
Their heads without affright, without amaze,
And sleep through all the din, as sleeps a child.
And he who watches well may well discern
Sweet expectation in each living thing.
Like pregnant mother the sweet earth doth yearn;
In secret joy makes ready for the spring;
And hidden, sacred, in her breast doth bear
Annunciation lilies for the year.