Blog of my heart (and dear, welcomed reader), I am here. Committed more than ever to write. O, the quiet moments with hot drink beside and writing my way to peace.
I have a jumble of posts in mind and in drafts… and so much longing to … is it eke out? or unleash? or scribe? or scratch down? I don’t know. So much longing to gather myself to post.
So I begin with some poetry and the way connections can ignite learning. And the gentle way Morning Meeting leads us:
We recently had the wonderful experience of learning new vocabulary words in a vivid and personal way: alms and almoner. (and I thought I knew what these words meant… but it took an inquisitive question from a child to fully unveil meanings) It all started like this:
We read this poem for October by Longfellow:
Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o’er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven’s o’erhanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!
(And O! we were heralded by the rain! Incessant rain. Unending rain. So much rain, the color came late and felt so sparse.
And the greatest riches found in these delicious words- both the poem above and the poem below. Richness, Color, Life. Gentle, un-pressured reading of the beautiful words is life-giving.)
Then a little while later, through a happy circumstance, I happened upon this:
ALMS IN AUTUMN
Spindle-wood, spindle-wood, will you lend me, pray,
A little flaming lantern to guide me on my way?
The fairies all have vanished from the meadow and the glen,
And I would fain go seeking till I find them once again.
Lend me now a lantern that I may bear a light
To find the hidden pathway in the darkness of the night.
Ash-tree, ash-tree, throw me, if you please,
Throw me down a slender branch of russet-gold keys.
I fear the gates of Fairyland may all be shut so fast
That nothing but your magic keys will ever take me past.
I’ll tie them to my girdle, and as I go along
My heart will find a comfort in the tinkle of their song.
Holly-bush, holly-bush, help me in my task,
A pocketful of berries is all the alms I ask :
A pocketful of berries to thread in golden strands
(I would not go a-visiting with nothing in my hands).
So fine will be the rosy chains, so gay, so glossy bright,
They’ll set the realms of Fairyland all dancing with delight.
My young son asked: what is an alm? And so we did a little research and discovered: alms are charity, money, or food given to the needy; gifts given to relieve the poor
and this led to the exploration of almoner: the official chaplain or church officer who distributes the gifts to the poor; also a prince can have an almoner.
And both these poems suddenly came vividly alive to us. And with that wild leap of connection that poetry offers: we are realizing- the wind is our almoner; the alms of autumn are for us:
The wind- scattering the golden leaves to us- the needy ones.
The Alms of Autumn: pocketful of russet berries (and so much more)
(O, how the beauty of Autumn is an alm for the needy heart- and o!the wind as almoner.)
And so– way leads on to way. The poetry way. The most gentle, rich, and textured way to learn poetry is simply to read it every day. I find nuanced meanings become clearer and clearer- writing themselves on mind and heart- until they become a treasure trove of mind and heart… (how we all spout out: O wind a- blowing all day long! O wind who sings so loud a song! on a blustery windy day- just because we spent slow time in those rhythmic words)
Blessings on your school year,