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AO Poems January AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Year 1 Poetry Anthology January

Compiled and arranged by the AmblesideOnline Advisory, April, 2005 with revisions made Oct, 2011

     01 A Serenade for New Year's Eve, Author unknown
     02 New Year Snow, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
     03 The First Snowfall, by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891
     04 Topsy-Turvy World, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882
     05 On the Bridge, by Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901
     06 Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     07 Velvet Shoes, by Elinor Wylie, 1885-1928
     08 A Calendar, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852
     09 Chickadee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
     10 White Fields, by James Stephens published, 1909
     11 The Yak, by Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953
     12 The Little Artist; unknown
     13 Moon Folly (The Song of Conn the Fool), by Fannie Stearns Gifford 1884-?
     14 Certainty, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
     15 Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898
     16 Little Pussy, by Jane Taylor, 1783-1824
     17 Song for a Little House, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
     18 O Wind, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     19 The Cupboard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     20 On Another's Sorrow, by William Blake, 1757-1827


01 A Serenade for New Year's Eve, author unknown

The old year departed, how swiftly it flew,
'Tis gone, and with rapture we welcome the new;--
We trust a bright morning will dawn on your eyes,--
And sun beams unclouded illumine the skies.
Then wake from your slumbers, our serenade hear,--
We wish you a happy, a happy New Year!


02 New Year Snow, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924

The white snow falls on hill and dale,
 The snow falls white by square and street,
Falls on the town, a bridal veil,
 And on the fields a winding-sheet.

A winding-sheet for last year's flowers,
 For last year's love, and last year's tear,
A bridal veil for the New Hours,
 For the New Love and the New Year.

Soft snow, spread out his winding-sheet!
 Spin fine her veil, O bridal snow!
Cover the print of her dancing feet,
 And the place where he lies low.


03 The First Snowfall, by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.


04 Topsy-Turvy World, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882

If the butterfly courted the bee,
And the owl the porcupine;
If churches were built in the sea,
And three times one was nine;
If the pony rode his master,
If the buttercups ate the cows,
If the cats had the dire disaster
To be worried, sir, by the mouse;
If mamma, sir, sold the baby
To a gypsy for half a crown;
If a gentleman, sir, was a lady,--
The world would be Upside-down!
If any or all of these wonders
Should ever come about,
I should not consider them blunders,
For I should be Inside-out!

Ba-ba, black wool,
Have you any sheep?
Yes, sir, a packfull,
Creep, mouse, creep!
Four-and-twenty little maids
Hanging out the pie,
Out jump'd the honey-pot,
Guy Fawkes, Guy!
Cross latch, cross latch,
Sit and spin the fire;
When the pie was open'd,
The bird was on the brier!


05 On the Bridge, by Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901

If I could see a little fish--
That is what I just now wish!
I want to see his great round eyes
Always open in surprise.

I wish a water-rat would glide
Slowly to the other side;
Or a dancing spider sit
On the yellow flags a bit.

I think I'll get some stones to throw,
And watch the pretty circles show.
Or shall we sail a flower boat,
And watch it slowly--slowly float?

That's nice--because you never know
How far away it means to go;
And when tomorrow comes, you see,
It may be in the great wide sea.


06 Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849--1916

Inscribed, with All Faith and Affection:
To all the little children:--the happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones--Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other children, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!

Wunst they wuz a little boy woudn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputter, an' the wind goes woo--oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' cherish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!


07 Velvet Shoes, by Elinor Wylie 1885--1928
    from Nets to Catch the Wind, 1921

Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as a white cow's milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.


08 A Calendar, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm Septemper brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.


09 Chickadee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

Then piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
"Chick-a-dee-dee!" a saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat
As if it said, "Good day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places
Where January brings few faces."


10 White Fields, by James Stephens published, 1909

In the winter time we go
Walking in the fields of snow;
Where there is no grass at all;
Where the top of every wall,
Every fence and every tree,
Is as white, as white can be.

Pointing out the way we came,
Everyone of them the same--
All across the fields there be
Prints in silver filigree;
And our mothers always know,
By our footprints in the snow,
Where the children go.


11 The Yak, by Hillaire Belloc, 1870-1953
      from The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, 1897

As a friend to the children
Commend me the Yak.
You will find it exactly the thing:
It will carry and fetch, you can ride on its back,
Or lead it about with a string.

The Tartar who dwells on the plains of Thibet
(A desolate region of snow)
Has for centuries made it a nursery pet,
And surely the Tartar should know!
Then tell your papa where the Yak can be got,
And if he is awfully rich
He will buy you the creature--
or else
     he will not.
(I cannot be positive which.)


12 The Little Artist, unknown

Oh, there is a little artist
     Who paints in the cold night hours
Pictures for wee, wee children,
     Of wondrous trees and flowers,--

Pictures of snow-capped mountains
     Touching the snow-white sky;
Pictures of distant oceans,
     Where pigmy ships sail by.

Pictures of rushing rivers,
     By fairy bridges spanned;
Bits of beautiful landscapes,
     Copied from elfin land.

The moon is the lamp he paints by,
     His canvas the window-pane,
His brush is a frozen snowflake;
     Jack Frost is the artist's name.


13 Moon Folly (The Song of Conn the Fool), by Fannie Stearns Gifford 1884-?
      included in Rainbow Gold, edited by Sara Teasdale, 1922

I will go up the mountain after the Moon:
She is caught in dead fir-tree.
Like a great pale apple of silver and pearl,
Like a great pale apple is she.

I will leap and will catch her with quick cold hands
And carry her home in my sack.
I will set her down safe on the oaken bench
That stands at the chimney-back.

And then I will sit by the fire all night,
And sit by the fire all day.
I will gnaw at the Moon to my heart's delight
Till I gnaw her slowly away.

And while I grow mad with the Moon's cold taste
The World will beat at my door,
Crying "Come out!" and crying "Make haste,
And give us the Moon once more!"

But I shall not answer them ever at all.
I shall laugh, as I count and hide
The great black beautiful Seeds of the Moon
In a flower-pot deep and wide.

Then I shall lie down and go fast asleep,
Drunken with flame and aswoon.
But the seeds will sprout and the seeds will leap,
The subtle swift seeds of the Moon.

And some day, all of the World that cries
And beats at my door shall see
A thousand moon-leaves spring from my thatch
On a wonderful white Moon-tree!

Then each shall have Moons to his heart's desire:
Apples of silver and pearl;
Apples of orange and copper fire
Setting his five wits aswirl!

And then they will thank me, who mock me now,
"Wanting the Moon is he,"--
Oh, I'm off the mountain after the Moon,
Ere she falls from the dead fir-tree!


14 Certainty, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.


15 Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
he went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


16 Little Pussy, by Jane Taylor, 1783-1824

I like little pussy, her coat is so warm;
And if I don't hurt her, she'll do me no harm.
So I'll not pull her tail, nor drive her away,
But Pussy and I very gently will play.
She shall sit by my side, and I'll give her some food;
And she'll love me because I am gentle and good.

I'll pat little Pussy, and then she will purr;
And thus show her thanks for my kindness to her.
I'll not pinch her ears, nor tread on her paw,
Lest I should provoke her to use her sharp claw.
I never will vex her, nor make her displeased--
For Pussy can't bear to be worried or teased.


17 Song for a Little House, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
      from Chimneysmoke, 1923

I'm glad our house is a little house,
Not too tall nor too wide:
I'm glad the hovering butterflies
Feel free to come inside.

Our little house is a friendly house.
It is not shy or vain;
It gossips with the talking trees,
And makes friends with the rain.

And quick leaves cast a shimmer of green
Against our whited walls,
And in the phlox, the dutious bees
Are paying duty calls.


18 O wind, why do you never rest, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

O wind, why do you never rest
Wandering, whistling to and fro,
Bringing rain out of the west,
From the dim north bringing snow?


19 The Cupboard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

I know a little cupboard,
With a teeny tiny key,
And there's a jar of Lollypops
     For me, me, me.

It has a little shelf, my dear,
As dark as dark can be,
And there's a dish of Banbury Cakes
     For me, me, me.

I have a small fat grandmamma,
With a very slippery knee,
And she's the Keeper of the Cupboard
     With the key, key, key.

And when I'm very good, my dear,
As good as good can be,
There's Banbury Cakes, and Lollypops
     For me, me, me.


20 On Another's Sorrow, by William Blake, 1757-1827

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear --

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.