Oct 11, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: A Favorite Autumn Poem and WORDLE Fun

Thanks so much to Laura at Writing the World for Kids for hosting Poetry Friday today!
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Sometimes when I am researching something I’m working on, I stumble upon little gems of information that give me a deep down thrill. Today I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite poems, a short and sweet bit of poetry that I memorized long ago, written by British poet Eleanor Farjeon. Here it is:

Down, Down
By Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)
Down, down
Yellow and brown
The leaves are falling
Over the town.
Simple, but perfect.
Every autumn when I taught third grade, I’d carefully print these lines on chart paper and decorate the edges with colorful autumn leaves. Then I’d display it in my classroom, surrounded by garlands of fall leaves and a few strategically placed pumpkins (where we lived near Tampa, FL, this was sometimes all the “autumn” I saw!). There were other poems I used over the years, but this is the one I always came back to each fall.

Since I am always curious about the authors behind my favorite poems, I researched Eleanor Farjeon yesterday afternoon. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she also wrote the words to one of my favorite hymns, “Morning Has Broken,” as well as a beautiful Advent carol titled “People, Look East!” Besides poetry, Ms. Farjeon also wrote novels, non-fiction, and children’s plays, and enjoyed a career that spanned 50 years.  Every year, an award in her honor is given by the Children’s Book Circle of Britain.
Here are the details of this award, from the CBC website:
The CBC is proud to host the annual Eleanor Farjeon Award, which recognises an outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books by an individual or organisation. Librarians, authors, publishers, teachers, reviewers and others who have given exceptional service to our industry are eligible for nomination. CBC members nominate suitable candidates and then vote for the winner. The award ceremony itself is an enjoyable evening, with the winner’s acceptance speech being a particular highlight.
I had not ever heard of this award, but what a wonderful memorial—there are so many people who are essential to the business of writing for children who deserved to be recognized!
One of the books by Ms. Farjeon that I am particularly interested in is her Tales from Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales Done in Prose (1930) which I ordered from Amazon yesterday. There are lots of prose translations of Chaucer out there, and I am eager to read this author’s version. (I have been reading and researching Chaucer lately, and am so excited to get this book—I have no idea where this “thought train” is headed, but I am enjoying the journey!)  
I also wanted to post an autumn poem of my own today, so when one of my sons showed me a fabulous website that he learned about at school, I had to share! Wordle is a unique website that generates “cloud poems” from word lists that you provide. Once you have entered your word choices, you can play around with and edit your creations. You can check out this great resource for writers, teachers, parents, and kids here.
Here is the autumn “cloud poem” that Will and I came up with:

Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Writing! 


  1. Wordles are such fun! And it was interesting to hear more about Farjeon's life. "Down Down" is indeed an autumn gem. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Jama! I was so happy to learn about the Wordles site! = )

  2. How cool. I have to check out Wordle. And I'm curious to see what you think about the Chaucer book when you finish it. I'm curious about Eleanor Farjeon now too. Thanks.

    1. I will definitely do a post about Chaucer down the road, Johnell. I am so excited to get the book, hopefully this week! = )

  3. Lovely fall poem, Becky. Simple is best.

  4. Your Wordle works wonderfully! And I really enjoyed your background on Eleanor Farjeon.

  5. The poem is great! I've been repeating it to myself over and over again.

  6. What a word-perfect Farjeon poem :>) And I love Wordles! I use them often with students to give them a word cloud of words they might want to use in poems. If we're describing, I might put up my Wordle full of color names from Crayola, etc. Happy weekend!

    1. That is a great idea, Laura! I bet the sky's the limit when it comes to Wordle...I will definitely have to do more with it.

  7. The Eleanor Farjeon award sounds like a wonderful honor!

    I haven't heard this cd, but if you're checking out various versions of Chaucer, you might be want to listen to The Rap Canterbury Tales: http://www.bababrinkman.com/rap-guides/the-rap-canterbury-tales/

  8. I need to check out Wordle. It looks like a lot of fun.

    (I taught the Canterbury Tales while I was student teaching.)

  9. It will be interesting to see where your Chaucer research takes you. It's hard to imagine a 50-year career in writing for children, much less attaining such success. Thanks for sharing the poem and your pursuit of information on the author!

  10. That poem is perfect for Autumn. Love the brown leaves falling over town. And the maker of cloud poems ... that looks mighty interesting!


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