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  October 01, 2014
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Printable Fall poems for kids - children's printable poetry for Autumn


Fall Poems

A Fall Song
by Ellen Robena Field

A Naughty Pumpkin's Fate
Author Unknown

A Song of the Woods
by Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr.
Autumn Fires
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Autumn, Queen of Year
by Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr.

Down to Sleep
by Helen Hunt Jackson

Farewell to the Farm
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Gathering Leaves
by Robert Frost

How the Leaves Came Down
by Susan Coolidge

Jack Frost
by Gabriel Setoun

Jack Frost
by Hannah F. Gould

My Treasures
by Robert Louis Stevenson

November Morning
by Evaleen Stein

November
by Alice Cary

October's Bright Blue Weather
by Helen Hunt Jackson

September
by Helen Hunt Jackson

The Grapevine Swing
by Samuel Minturn Peck

The Hayloft
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Huskers
by John Greenleaf Whittier

The Oak
by Michael Collins

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Children's Fall Literature
Autumn Poetry and Recitals for Teachers

 
 

Home > Holidays > Fall > Kids Poems, Rhymes and Recitals > The Huskers

Autumn Poems for Kids - Children's Fall PoetryThe Huskers

by John Greenleaf Whittier

It was late in mild October, and the long autumnal rain
Had left the summer harvest-fields all green with grass again;
The first sharp frosts had fallen, leaving all the woodlands gay
With the hues of summer's rainbow or the meadow flowers of May.

Through a thin, dry mist, that morning, the sun rose broad and red;
At first a rayless disk of fire, he brightened as he sped;
Yet even his noontide glory fell chastened and subdued
On the cornfields and the orchards and softly pictured wood.

And all that quiet afternoon, slow sloping to the night,
He wove with golden shuttle the haze with yellow light;
Slanting through the tented beeches, he glorified the hill;
And, beneath it, pond and meadow lay brighter, greener still.

And shouting boys in woodland haunts caught glimpses of that sky,
Flecked by the many-tinted leaves, and laughed, they knew not why;
And schoolgirls, gay with aster-flowers, beside the meadow brooks,
Mingled the glow of autumn with the sunshine of sweet looks.

From spire and barn looked westerly the patient weathercocks;
But even the birches on the hill stood motionless as rocks.
No sound was in the woodlands save the squirrel's dropping shell,
And the yellow leaves among the boughs, low rustling as they fell.

The summer grains were harvested; the stubble-fields lay dry,
Where June winds rolled, in light and shade, the pale green waves of rye;
But still, on gentle hill-slopes, in valleys fringed with wood,
ungathered, bleaching in the sun, the heavy corn crop stood.

Bent low by autumn's wind and rain, through husks that, dry and sear,
Unfolded from their ripened charge, shone out the yellow ear;
Beneath, the turnip lay concealed in many a verdant fold,
And glistened in the slanting light the pumpkin's sphere of gold.

There wrought the busy harvester, and many a creaking wain
Bore slowly to the long barn-floor its load of husk and grain;
Till broad and red, as when he rose, the sun sank down at last,
And like a merry guest's farewell the day in brightness passed.

And lo! as through the western pines, on meadow, stream, and pond,
Flamed the red radiance of a sky set all afire beyond,
Slowly o'er the eastern sea-bluffs a milder glory shone,
And the sunset and the moonrise were mingled into one!

As thus into the quiet night the twilight lapsed away,
And deeper in the brightening moon the tranquil shadows lay,
From many a brown old farmhouse and hamlet without name,
Their milking and their home-tasks done, the merry huskers came.

Swung o'er the heaped-up harvest, from pitchforks in the mow,
Shone dimly down the lanterns on the pleasant scene below,
The glowing pile of husks behind, the golden ears before,
And laughing eyes and busy hands and brown cheeks glimmering o'er.

Half hidden in a quiet nook, serene of look and heart,
Talking their old times over, the old men sat apart;
While up and down the unhusked pile, or nestling in its shade,
At hide-and-seek, with laugh and shout, the happy children played.

Urged by the good host's daughter, a maiden young and fair,
Lifting to light her sweet blue eyes and pride of soft brown hair,
The master of the village school, sleek of hair and smooth of tongue,
To the quaint tune of some old psalm, a husking-ballad sung.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS

About the Author

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was born near the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, not far from Hawthorne's birthplace. He had very little opportunity for education beyond what the district school afforded, for his parents were too poor to send him away to school. His two years' attendance at Haverhill Academy was paid for by his own work at making ladies' slippers for twenty-five cents a pair. He began writing verses almost as soon as he learned to write at all, but his father discouraged this ambition as frivolous, saying it would never give him bread. His family were Quakers, sturdy of stature as of character. He is called "The Quaker Poet."

Whittier led the life of a New England farm boy, used to hard work and few pleasures. His library consisted of practically one book, the family Bible. Later, a copy of Burns's poems was loaned to him by the district schoolmaster. Like Burns he had great sympathy with the humble and the poor. In his poems. Whittier described the scenes and told the legends of his own locality. Home Ballads and Songs of Labor, in which "The Huskers" and "The Corn-Song" appear, are among his most widely read books. They picture country life and the scenes of the simple occupations common in his part of the country. Whittier was intensely patriotic and religious by nature. His happiness lay in his association with his friends, with children, animals, and the outdoor world.

In these respects he was like Bryant, a man who found pleasure in simple things. Like Bryant, also, he was interested in public affairs. Any injustice to the poor he opposed passionately. He wrote many poems in protest against slavery. He wrote, also, ballads of early New England history, and some of our most beautiful religious poetry comes from his pen. His life was less filled with business cares than that of Bryant, but it was equally full of interests that made him happy and source of help and joy to others.

Discussion

  1. What is the difference between the sunshine of October and that of May?
  2. Why does it seem to the poet as if the sun wove with golden shuttle the yellow haze?
  3. What had the frost done that made the woodlands gay?
  4. What words in the second stanza make you feel that the wood was some distance away?
  5. To whom does "he" in the third stanza refer?
  6. What words in the second stanza explain the word "haze" in the third stanza?
  7. What gave the beeches the appearance of being painted?
  8. What are the colors of the woods and sky in this poem? What colors are they in the poem "The Yellow Violet"? Find the words and phrases that tell you. How many times, in this poem, does the poet use the words golden and yellow, or speak of things that suggest these colors?
  9. What do you think was the reason the boys laughed when they looked up to the sky?
  10. What "summer grain" is mentioned in line 11, page 304?
  11. What crop was still ungathered?
  12. Where were the harvesters at work?
  13. What was it that set the sky "all afire beyond"?
  14. Where did the husking take place? What tells you this?
  15. How did the old men spend the evening?
  16. What things that we eat depend on the work of the huskers?
  17. Tell what you can about the author.
  18. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: shuttle; spire; sear; verdant; wain; lapsed.
  19. Pronounce: autumnal; chastened; beneath; sphere; wrought; radiance; tranquil; mow; serene; psalm.

Phrases for Study

hues of summer's rainbow, patient weathercocks, rayless disk of fire, ripened charge, brightened as he sped; sphere of gold, glory fell chastened, milder glory shone, softly pictured wood, mingled into one, slow sloping to the night, hamlet without name, glorified the hill, golden ears before, sunshine of sweet looks, glimmering o'er, looked westerly, serene of look and heart.

 

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