Friday, October 3, 2008

Poetry Friday--Do Teachers Today Have Time ...

to let children memorize poems? Probably not. My days as a classroom teacher are not that far away but I know my curriculum was pretty well monitored. I remember filling out forms that showed exactly how many minutes I planned to have my students learning math, social studies, science, etc.

Sister Jeanne, my third grade teacher at Saint Jean Baptiste School, believed children should memorize and perform poetry. I must have been a bit of a ham, because I remember volunteering to stand at the front of the class and recite. Sister's desk was set on a wooden platform. We were allowed to stand on the edge of the platform and speak--good facial expressions, hand gestures, and expressive voices were a requirement.

Of course, Sister Jeanne did not have to deal with all the interruptions that today's teachers must take into account. We did not have school picture day, lice checks, school nurses monitoring ing our weight, or intercoms interrupting with announcements (yeah, I'm THAT old...). Our school did not have music, gym, or art classes. We just went to class and learned stuff.

Kids today have so much more to learn than we did. It's no wonder that memorizing poetry had to go by the wayside. Still, all these years later, I cannot wake on the first day of October without reciting the title of this particular poem. So, Sister Jeanne, this one's for you:

October's Bright Blue Weather

by Helen Hunt Jackson

O suns and skies and clouds of June,

And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather.

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,

And Golden Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight,
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie

In piles like jewels shining,

And redder still on old stone walls

Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things

Their white-winged seeds are sowing,

And in the fields, still green and fair,

Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,

In idle golden freighting,

Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush

Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts

By twos and twos together,

And count like misers, hour by hour,

Octobers' bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,

Count all your boasts together,

Love loveth best of all the year

October's bright blue weather.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Lots of good poetry to check out!

1 comment:


The bright blue autumn sky is truly a treasure. Thanks for sharing this poem from that fabulous woman, Helen Hunt Jackson!