Evening Poetry, October 31

Hallowe’en

by Harry Behn

Tonight is the night

When dead leaves fly

Like witches on switches

Across the sky,

When elf and sprite

Flit through the night

On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night

When leaves make a sound

Like a gnome in his home

Under the ground,

When spooks and trolls

Creep out of holes

Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night

When pumpkins stare

Through sheaves and leaves

Everywhere,

When the ghoul and ghost

And goblin host

Dance round their queen.

It’s Hallowe’en.

You can find this poem in Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, October 29

The Last Corn Shock

by Glenn Ward Dresbech

I remember how we stood

In the field, while far away

Blue hazes drifted on from hill to hill

And curled like smoke from many a sunset wood,

And the loaded wagon creaked while standing still…

I heard my father say,

“The last corn shock can stay.”

We had seen a pheasant there

In the sun; he went inside

As if he claimed the shock, as if he meant

To show us, with the field so nearly bare,

We had no right to take his rustic tent.

And so we circled wide

For home, and let him hide.

The first wild ducks flashed by

Where the pasture brook could hold

The sunset at the curve, and drifting floss

Escaped the wind and clung. The shocks were dry

And rustled on the wagon. Far across

The field, against the cold,

The last shock turned to gold.

You can find this poem in Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, September 18

My kids enjoyed Ogden Nash’s silly poetry when they were small. Here are two for the kids in your life or the kid in you.

The Lama

by Ogden Nash

The one-l lama,

He’s a priest.

The two-l llama,

He’s a beast.

And I will bet

A silk pajama

There isn’t any

Three-l lllama.

The Fly

The Lord in His wisdom made the fly

And then forgot to tell us why.

You can find these poems in Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, September 3

The Little Turtle

By Vachel Lindsay

There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn’t catch me.

This was a favorite poem of both of my kids when they were little. You can find it in Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young.

Evening Poetry, August 14

(Happy Birthday to my daughter, Ella, who is 16 today!)

The Birthday Child

by Rose Fyleman

Everything’s been different

All the day long,

Lovely things have happened,

Nothing has gone wrong.

Nobody has scolded me,

Everyone has smiled,

Isn’t it delicious

To be a birthday child?

You can find this poem in the collection Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, June 23

This sweet, old poem was a favorite of both of my children when they were little. My daughter especially loved it and would recite it in her lisping baby voice along with me. Happy memories are wrapped up in this poem!

My Shadow

by Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, 
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. 
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; 
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed. 

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow— 
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow; 
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, 
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all. 

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play, 
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. 
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see; 
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me! 

One morning, very early, before the sun was up, 
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; 
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, 
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

This was the picture book version of My Shadow that I read to my kids; the illustrations are absolutely charming. Although it’s no longer in print, you can read it as a Kindle book or get a used copy.

Evening Poetry, July 12

The Willows

by Walter Prichard Eaton

By the little river,

Still and deep and brown,

Grow the graceful willows,

Gently dipping down.

Dipping down and brushing

Everything that floats–

Leaves and logs and fishes,

And the passing boats.

Were they water maidens

In the long ago,

That they lean out sadly

Looking down below?

In the misty twilight

You can see their hair,

Weeping water maidens

That were once so fair.

You can find this poem in the collection Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, July 9

Vegetables

by Eleanor Farjeon

The country vegetables scorn

To lie about in shops,

They stand upright as they were born

In neatly-patterned crops;

And when you want your dinner you

Don’t buy it from a shelf,

You find lettuce fresh with dew

And pull it for yourself;

You pick an apronful of peas

And shell them on the spot.

You cut a cabbage, if you please,

To pop into the pot.

The folk who their potatoes buy

From sacks before they sup,

Miss half of the potato’s joy,

And that’s to dig it up.

You can find this in Favorite Poems Old and New.

Evening Poetry, June 10

The Swing

by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside–

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown–

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

You can find this poem in the collection Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young, illustrated by Josette Frank.

Evening Poetry, May 30

Setting The Table

by Dorothy Aldis

Evenings

When the house is quiet

I delight

To spread the white

Smooth cloth and put the flower on the table.

I place the knives and forks around

Without a sound.

I light the candles.

I love to see

Their small reflected torches shine

Against the greenness of the vine

And garden.

Is that the mignonette, I wonder,

Smells so sweet?

And then I call them in to eat.

You can find this poem in Favorite Poems Old and New.