Poems for Autumn

Last week, we took a virtual walk in the park, taking in the beautiful autumn colours. I set some of my photographs, taken in parks around Sheffield, to Vivaldi’s Autumn, and we enjoyed watching the trees and woodland views.

You can watch my little film here.

We read Keats’ Ode to Autumn, and a contemporary autumn poem. I brought in leaves I’d collected in woods and parks, and we identified the species. In each ward, we finished off the session by writing a poem inspired by our armchair ramble.

I think you’ll like them. They’re all very different. In Chesterfield we imagined we were an animal getting ready for a long winter hibernation. In Buxton, our rhyming poem about autumn was interrupted by a magpie who appeared at the window to say hello (so we had to put him in the poem!) In Bakewell, we recalled the time when every child at this time of year would be absolutely obsessed with playing conquers – and I learned lots of things about this fascinating game. Sadly, it’s true that many schools have now banned conkers on Health and Safety grounds!

Hibernation

If I was getting ready for hibernation, I’d need:
Warm clothes
A cosy nest lined with soft feathers
Lots of food buried under tree roots
A banquet to fill my belly
And soak up the last drops of sunshine
Before going back to bed.
When the leaves are dropping,
Changing to yellow and gold,
And even on a sunny day,
There’s a nip in the air.
When the wind blows, and the rain pours,
It’s good to be indoors,
Curled up tight,
With my fluffy tail as my coat,
Tucked around my neck.
I close my eyes and dream of spring,
And warmer days.
And my heartbeat slows,
As winter grows,
And I’ll wake up to the birds that sing.

Autumn Leaves

The movement of leaves in the trees
Swirling around in the breeze.
Red, orange, yellow and brown.
Admiring the colours, we walk through the town.

Kicking the leaves so crunchy and crisp,
Gathering conkers in a fine autumn mist.
Having a leaf-fight on a golden day.
Strolling through gardens as the children play.

Magpie flies up to say hello,
Heron stands to attention as we go.
The swallows’ farewell as they go on their way,
On their long African holiday.

The orchard trees are bent with fruit.
We brush the mud from our walking boots.
Watching the trees as the wind blows higher,
Enjoying hot chocolate by the fire.

Conkers

Throwing a stick into a tree
Watch the conkers fall, feeling glee.
Smash the shell so we can see,
How big our champion conkers will be.

To harden the shell, in the oven they go,
So tough, they can withstand the blow.
Let them cool down for a while,
Then drill a hole with a crafty smile.

Take lengths of string and knot them tight.
Make sure the conker’s hanging right.
Our family was quite poor.
So I’d sell my conkers door-to-door.

The best one I would keep myself.
And not give it away to anyone else.
A match with friends, the best one remains.
If you lose, you’re out of the game.

I stand poised with my conker aimed,
To smash my opponents for a good game.
I watch the conker split and fall.
I’m the champion – the winner takes all!

Shake their hand to say “hard luck”!
Off home for tea, to see what Mum’s cooked.

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