Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - For the Season

Fall is my favorite season. I'm so grateful I still live in an area where the leaves change color. Fall poetry inspires me almost as much as the season. I could live on a steady diet of Frost during these months. I've read and re-read October, Gathering Leaves, After Apple-picking, and Nothing Gold Can Stay. I've also spent time perusing Keats and Ode to Autumn.

So, now that you're thinking fall, let's write about that. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results here later this week.


  1. I'm contemplating a line from a poem posted by Jama last Friday: "all these golden losses." For children this season is one of plenty, of chills, thrills and anticipation, but we adults can’t help but sense the daily dying. Maybe that’s why so many of us worship at the Halloween altar–-it takes our minds off the inevitable. So here, my middle-aging eye on autumn...


    even the fig tree
    drops its leaves in naked knowing:
    slowly the world burns
    to cold dry ash

  2. Love that, Heidi.

    Here's mine:

    Five Thoughts About Autumn


    Leaves crisp from the edges in,
    curling up like a baby’s fist
    as he sleeps.


    Orange is the vanguard, then red,
    maples and sumac take the point,
    then yellows hold the rear.


    Soon the leaf peepers will arrive,
    noisy flocks of them in long buses,
    windows tinted blue.


    Like celebrities, the geese
    leave the party before the final course,
    off to somewhere tonier.

    Poets write elegies about the season
    but I thrive in its presents,
    unwrapping winter, then spring.

    ©2011 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

  3. Those are wonderful! Fall is my favorite season, too, Tricia.

    Here's an offering from my neck of the woods.

    Late Fall in Appalachia


    shell-shaped hills.

    Marmalade glaze,
    gaps and valleys
    with amber light.

    Ginger douses
    honey flames
    lemony embers
    cinnamon sticks.

    shift with
    burnished copper,
    in stolen sunsets.

    ©2011 Robyn Hood Black
    all rights reserved

  4. Among all the beauty, I must write this time about the pumpkins I have so faithfully nurtured this summer, through drought and so on. They were small, but they were beautiful to watch grow and flourish. Ah, nature!

    I had planned to make a beautiful pie,
    and even the jack o’ lantern will have to wait.
    Although the net said to leave them long
    my pumpkins have suffered a terrible fate.

    The fault is those animals that live out of doors,
    and although we’ve been know to feed them
    peanuts and corn and all manner of fruit,
    they’ve taken my pumpkins and eaten ‘em.

  5. New to Autumn

    The sun curls up on the horizon like a squirrel
    as the wind swings her skirts, walking through leaves.

    In the backyard, deer eat crab apples and lounge around
    as if they were tourists. The biggest buck stares

    his disdain, tilting his antler crown higher.
    I'm not sure I belong in a crisp season that calls

    of dying and death while composing an orange craze
    of life like fire and fire like life. I empty the sprinklers

    and buy boots, feeling stodgy beside this pirate
    of a landscape with his gold teeth and red scarves.

    --Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

  6. Greetings, All--Some of you have already read this poem...


    is coming—
    I feel it
    in the air—
    pumpkins tumbling,
    dry leaves
    apples everywhere.

    Windy days,
    frigid nights,
    shadows on
    the bog—
    soon the sky
    will tuck
    the sun
    inside a
    wintry fog.

    Stalks of corn
    without their cobs—
    just rows and rows
    of straw—
    pumpkins tumbling
    dry leaves
    tell me
    it is fall!

  7. Wonderful stuff, ladies!


    We are leaves.
    Let us lie.
    Put away the gathering rake
    and the green plastic grave.
    We are neither dead,
    nor dying.
    There is worth in us yet.
    See how we nourish the soil,
    the worms and the beetles,
    how we warm the grass
    and cast a pleasing view
    to the observer's eye.
    We are neither dead,
    nor dying.
    We are leaves.
    Let us lie.

    c2011 Barbara J. Turner, all rights reserved

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  9. So many things to observe during fall. Thank you for sharing, everyone. My students will be reading your work!

    Every year I take my students on a fall walk. We observe the meadow, field, and woods along our school boundary. We note our observations in our writer’s notebooks. When we come back, I ask my students to look through their notebook, then capture the essence of fall in a single sentence.

    In subsequent lessons, authors revisit their sentences and discuss the power of action verbs, how to extend ideas with details, personification, analogies, etc. We revise the order over and over to see if there is some way that sounds more poetic. Below are some samples collected through the years from students aged 8 to 11.

    A brownish oak leaf lies on the ground with white frost outlining it like lace.

    The giant oak tree with the shape of a moon in it waits for fall to be over.

    Stepped-on leaves sound like potato chips being eaten.

    Dead branches reach out for someone to comfort them.

    Fall is a picture no artist can draw.

    The berries on the bare bushes look like little red marbles.

    A few tiny purple flowers still dot a meadow of brown.

    In the half-leafed tree, an abandon bird nest sits.

    The leaves are different shapes today than they were yesterday.

    The tip of one small leaf is all that remains green on this plant.

    This deer that sprinted into the meadow senses us.

    In the fallen leaves, a large stump lays, struck by lightning, quiet and still.

    As if the muscular wind tore off the leaves, the poor tree looks rippled.

    Trees stand very still because that is what trees do sometimes.

    This year’s class is writing sentences at this time. I’d be honored, and so would the young authors, if we could present them here and receive your comments. If this thread is not an avenue for this pursuit, my apologies in advance.

  10. John, the sentences lend themselves to creating a class poem! Such beautiful, strong images. Of course, each sentence could also grow into an individual poem. I am experiencing my first fall in many years here in a new state, and your class has captured the experience really well. Thank you!


    Fingernails on trees



    without a sound.

    (c) Charles Waters 2011 all rights reserved.