The New Domesticity: The Poetry of the Season
“October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths. Anne reveled in the world of colour about her. ‘Oh, Marilla . . . I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.’”
October is a beautiful month in the Pacific Northwest, too, and I believe Anne of Green Gables, although a fictional heroine who hailed from Prince Edward Island, would heartily approve of our seasonal display. The autumn sunlight is slanted and gentle now, while the landscape fairly shocks the senses with its exquisite hues of crimson and orange. As “autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods,” we, like poet William Allingham, have nature’s vivid reminders to pause and delight in the poetry of the season.
Autumn is a wonderful time of year to introduce and encourage a love of poetry in our children, simply because children are naturally so in tune to the changes around them: the stunning leaves, whirling winds, pelting rains, dancing whirlybirds, chirring squirrels, and plump pumpkins serve as visual cues which beg for poetic commentary. But, perhaps you’re wondering how to go about slipping poetry in between the laundry and the potty training? Let’s consider reading, writing, and listening as we glean a few simple ideas for adding lilting lyrics to our homes, on even the most prosaic of days.
When your children are ready for a bit more meat in their poetical diet, I recommend listening to “The Daily Poem.” These brief podcast episodes, hosted by David Kern, feature readings of “the best poetry ever written,” along with a few helpful comments about the structure of the poem, the poet’s life, and other pertinent commentary.