Year 1 Poetry Anthology: October

Compiled and arranged by the AmblesideOnline Advisory, April, 2005 with revisions made August, 2021

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     01 October's Party, by George Cooper, 1840-1927
     02 Hunter's Song, by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832
     03 The Cricket and the Ant Adapted from Aesop, author unknown
     04 The City of Falling Leaves, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
     05 Lucy Gray, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850
     06 God's World, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950
     07 The Pin, by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866
     08 The Old Hen Cackled, adapted from the folk collection of Thomas W. Talley, 1870-1952
     09 Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     10 The Wind and the Moon, by George Macdonald, 1824-1905
     11 Fable, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
     12 Playgrounds, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1864-1940
     13 When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     14 The Kind Moon, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     15 Envy, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     16 An Evening Hymn, by Thomas Ken, 1637-1711
     17 The Rainbow, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     18 Trees, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852
     19 Young and Old, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875
     20 Wishing, by William Allingham, 1824-1889
     21 Shapes, by Marie Effie Lee, 1885-1979

Click here to view an Index of Poets included in AO's Year 1 Anthology.

01 October's Party, by George Cooper, 1840-1927
      included in "School Record: Volume 6, Issue 2," 1897

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came--
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

02 Hunter's Song, by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

The toils are pitched, and the stakes are set,
      Ever sing merrily, merrily;
The bows they bend, and the knives they whet,
      Hunters live so cheerily.

It was a stag, a stag of ten,
      Bearing its branches sturdily;
He came silently down the glen,
      Ever sing hardily, hardily.

It was there he met with a wounded doe,
      She was bleeding deathfully;
She warned him of the toils below,
      O so faithfully, faithfully!

He had an eye, and he could heed,
      Ever sing so warily, warily;
He had a foot, and he could speed--
      Hunters watch so narrowly.

03 The Cricket and the Ant, adapted from Aesop, author unknown

A silly young cricket accustomed to sing
Through the warm sunny months of gay summer and spring,
Began to complain, when he found that at home
His cupboard was empty, and winter was come.

Not a crumb to be found
On the snow-covered ground;
Not a flower could he see,
Not a leaf on the tree;
"Oh, what will become," says the cricket, "of me?"

At last, by starvation and famine made bold,
All dripping with wet, and all trembling with cold,
Away he set off to a miserly ant,
To see if, to keep him alive, he would grant
Him shelter from rain,
And a mouthful of grain.
He wished only to borrow,
He'd repay it to-morrow:
If not, he must die of starvation and sorrow.

Says the ant to the cricket, "I'm your servant and friend,
But we ants never borrow; we ants never lend.
But tell me, dear cricket, did you lay nothing by
When the weather was warm?" Quoth the cricket, "Not I!
My heart was so light
That I sang day and night,
For all nature looked gay."
"You sang, sir, you say?
Go, then," says the ant, "and dance winter away!"

Thus ending, he hastily lifted the wicket,
And out of the door turned the poor little cricket.
Folks call this a fable. I'll warrant it true:
Some crickets have four legs, and some have but two.

04 The City of Falling Leaves, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
      from Men, Women and Ghosts, 1916

Leaves fall,
Brown leaves,
Yellow leaves streaked with brown.
They fall,
Fall again.
The brown leaves,
And the streaked yellow leaves,
Loosen on their branches
And drift slowly downwards.
One, two, three,
One, two, five.
All Venice is a falling of Autumn leaves--
And yellow streaked with brown.

05 Lucy Gray, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

Oft had I heard of Lucy Gray,
And when I crossed the Wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary Child.

No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide Moor,
The sweetest Thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the Fawn at play,
The Hare upon the Green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.

'To-night will be a stormy night,
You to the Town must go,
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your Mother thro' the snow.'

'That, Father! will I gladly do;
'Tis scarcely afternoon--
The Minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the Moon.'

At this the Father raised his hook
And snapped a faggot-band;
He plied his work, and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.

Not blither is the mountain roe,
With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powd'ry snow
That rises up like smoke.

The storm came on before its time,
She wandered up and down,
And many a hill did Lucy climb
But never reached the Town.

The wretched Parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.

At day-break on a hill they stood
That overlooked the Moor;
And thence they saw the Bridge of Wood
A furlong from their door.

And now they homeward turned, and cried
'In Heaven we all shall meet!'
When in the snow the Mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.

Then downward from the steep hill's edge
They tracked the footmarks small;
And through the broken hawthorn-hedge,
And by the long stone-wall;

And then an open field they crossed,
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost,
And to the Bridge they came.

They followed from the snowy bank
The footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank,
And further there were none.

Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living Child,
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome Wild.

O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.

06 God's World, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950
      from Renascence and Other Poems, 1917

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

07 The Pin, by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866

"Dear me! what signifies a pin!
I'll leave it on the floor;
My pincushion has others in,
Mamma has plenty more:
     A miser will I never be,"
     Said little heedless Emily.

So tripping on to giddy play,
She left the pin behind,
For Betty's broom to whisk away,
Or some one else to find;
     She never gave a thought, indeed,
     To what she might to-morrow need.

Next day a party was to ride,
To see an air-balloon!
And all the company beside
Were dress'd and ready soon:
     But she, poor girl, she could not stir,
     For just a pin to finish her.

'Twas vainly now, with eye and hand,
She did to search begin;
There was not one--not one, the band
Of her pelisse to pin!
     She cut her pincushion in two,
     But not a pin had slidden through!

At last, as hunting on the floor,
Over a crack she lay,
The carriage rattled to the door,
Then rattled fast away.
     Poor Emily! she was not in,
     For want of just--a single pin!

There's hardly anything so small,
So trifling or so mean,
That we may never want at all,
For service unforseen:
     And those who venture wilful waste,
     May woeful want expect to taste.

08 The Old Hen Cackled
from Negro Folk Rhymes, 1922, adapted from the folk collection of Thomas W. Talley, 1870-1952

The old hen she cackled,
And stayed down in the barn.
She got fat and sassy,
Eating up the corn.

The old hen she cackled,
(she's got long yellow legs).
She swallows up my oats,
But I don't get any eggs.

The old hen she cackled,
She cackled, as she ate my garden plot,
But next time she cackled,
She cackled in the pot.

09 Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

In the other gardens
     And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
     See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
     And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
     The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
     Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
     Fires in the fall!

10 The Wind and the Moon, by George Macdonald, 1824-1905

Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out.
           You stare
           In the air
       Like a ghost in a chair,
Always looking what I am about;
I hate to be watched--I'll blow you out."

The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon.
           So deep,
           On a heap
       Of clouds, to sleep,
Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon--
Muttering low, "I've done for that Moon."

He turned in his bed; she was there again!
           On high
           In the sky
       With her one ghost eye,
The Moon shone white and alive and plain.
Said the Wind--"I will blow you out again."

The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim.
           "With my sledge
           And my wedge
       I have knocked off her edge!
If only I blow right fierce and grim,
The creature will soon be dimmer than dim."

He blew and he blew, and she thinned to a thread.
           "One puff
           More's enough
       To blow her to snuff!
One good puff more where the last was bred,
And glimmer, glimmer, glum will go the thread!"

He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone;
           In the air
       Was a moonbeam bare;
Far off and harmless the shy stars shone;
Sure and certain the Moon was gone.

The Wind, he took to his revels once more;
           On down
           In town,
       Like a merry-mad clown,
He leaped and hallooed with whistle and roar,
"What's that?" The glimmering thread once more!

He flew in a rage--he danced and blew;
           But in vain
           Was the pain
       Of his bursting brain;
For still the broader the Moon-scrap grew,
The broader he swelled his big cheeks and blew.

Slowly she grew--till she filled the night,
           And shone
           On her throne
       In the sky alone,
A matchless, wonderful, silvery light,
Radiant and lovely, the Queen of the night.

Said the Wind--"What a marvel of power am I!
           With my breath,
           Good faith!
       I blew her to death--
First blew her away right out of the sky--
Then blew her in; what strength have I!"

But the Moon, she knew nothing about the affair,
         For high
         In the sky,
      With her one white eye,
Motionless, miles above the air,
She had never heard the great Wind blare.

11 Fable, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter "Little Prig."

Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year
And a sphere.

And I think it's no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.

I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ: all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."

12 Playgrounds, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1864-1940

Laurence Alma-Tadema was daughter and namesake of the well-known pre-Raphaelite Dutch English painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

In summer I am very glad
      We children are so small,
For we can see a thousand things
      That men can't see at all.

They don't know much about the moss
      And all the stones they pass:
They never lie and play among
      The forests in the grass:

They walk about a long way off;
      And, when we're at the sea,
Let father stoop as best he can
      He can't find things like me.

But, when the snow is on the ground
      And all the puddles freeze,
I wish that I were very tall,
      High up above the trees.

13 When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawsack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover overhead!--
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin, and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angles wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

14 The Kind Moon, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Helen of Troy and Other Poems, 1911

I think the moon is very kind
     To take such trouble just for me.
He came along with me from home
     To keep me company.

He went as fast as I could run;
     I wonder how he crossed the sky?
I'm sure he hasn't legs and feet
     Or any wings to fly.

Yet here he is above their roof;
     Perhaps he thinks it isn't right
For me to go so far alone,
     Though mother said I might.

15 Envy, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
          Nor the sweet mignonette:
And if this tree were discontent,
Or wished to change its natural bent,
          It all in vain would fret.

And should it fret, you would suppose
It ne'er had seen its own red rose,
          Nor after gentle shower
Had ever smelled its rose's scent,
Or it could ne'er be discontent
          With its own pretty flower.

Like such a blind and senseless tree
As I've imagined this to be,
          All envious persons are:
With care and culture all may find
Some pretty flower in their own mind,
          Some talent that is rare.

16 An Evening Hymn, by Thomas Ken, 1637-1711

All praise to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O keep me, King of Kings,
Beneath thy own almighty wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

O may my soul on Thee repose,
And may sweet sleep my eyelids close:
Sleep that may me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake.

17 The Rainbow, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Boats sail on the rivers,
     And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
     Are prettier than these.

There are bridges on the rivers,
     As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
     And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
     Is prettier far than these.

18 Trees, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852

The Oak is called the king of trees,
The Aspen quivers in the breeze,
The Poplar grows up straight and tall,
The Peach tree spreads along the wall,
The Sycamore gives pleasant shade,
The Willow droops in watery glade,
The Fir tree useful in timber gives,
The Beech amid the forest lives.

19 Young and Old, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875
From The Water-Babies, 1863

When all the world is young, lad,
     And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
     And every lass a queen;
Then heigh for boot and horse, lad,
     And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
     And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
     And all the trees are brown;
When all the sport is stale, lad,
     And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
     The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
     You loved when all was young.

20 Wishing, by William Allingham, 1824-1889

Ring--ting! I wish I were a Primrose,
A bright yellow Primrose, blowing in the spring!
     The stooping bough above me,
          The wandering bee to love me,
     The fern and moss to creep across,
          And the Elm-tree for our king!

Nay,--stay! I wish I were an Elm-tree,
A great lofty Elm-tree, with green leaves gay!
     The winds would set them dancing,
     The sun and moonshine glance in,
     And birds would house among the boughs,
          And sweetly sing.

Oh,--no! I wish I were a Robin,--
A Robin, or a little Wren, everywhere to go,
     Through forest, field or garden,
     And ask no leave or pardon,
     Till winter comes with icy thumbs
          To ruffle up our wing!

Well,--tell! where should I fly to,
Where to sleep, in the dark wood or dell?
Before the day was over,
Home must come the rover,
For mother's kiss,--sweeter this
     Than any other thing.

21 Shapes, by Marie Effie Lee, later Effie Lee Newsome, 1885-1979Effie Lee Newsome, 1885-1979
from The Brownies' Book, July 1920

Oh, yes, I watch nurse hang them there--
My cap and apron on the chair--
But when she goes and takes the light,
My clothes turn witches, every night!

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