An Autumn Poem for Copywork

I believe that Charlotte Mason‘s method for teaching language arts provides an excellent foundation for future language arts learning. Copywork is the step that begins the process of learning to write. First, read the entire poem aloud, using appropriate inflection. Practice ahead of time, if necessary!

Students of any age can use copywork to practice the mechanics of writing and to internalize the sound and rhythm of the written word. For young students, copy up to four lines of the poem on wide-ruled paper, skipping a line between each line you use. Be sure to use your best handwriting style, whether printing or cursive, and space the letters evenly. This will be your student’s model, so make it as beautiful as you can.*

The autumn poem I’ve provided below offers short lines and stanzas, with clear, evocative language and vivid word pictures. It would be lovely copied in calligraphy and illustrated with pressed leaves or other autumnal images.



October’s Bright Blue Weather

by Helen Hunt Jackson (1831-1885)

O sun 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 goldenrod 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 burs
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 haunt
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers hour by hour
October’s bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.


*If you need help teaching or using beautiful handwriting, be sure to look at the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting system. It’s the non-consumable curriculum (one book with a CD) I used to teach our boys a clear, simple italic hand that transitions seamlessly into cursive. I recommend it highly!

Quote for this week:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury.”

(This quote has been attributed to everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Alexander Tytler, but its origin is actually unknown. It’s worth thinking about, though.)

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