It's the first weekend of fall. We'll be outside, watching the kids play field hockey and football. Now that the children are older, I gauge the seasons as much by what sport they're doing as I do by what the weather's doing.
Today, I'm sharing a poem about experiencing the seasons, but not through the weather. For Donald Hall's "Ox Cart Man," the seasons are intertwined with work.
Hall is speaking at Howard Community College next weekend, October 4. Information on the program (sponsored by HoCoPoLitSo) is here: http://www.hocopolitso.org/pdf/Hall.pdf
Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall
In October of the year, he counts potatoes dug from the brown field, counting the seed, counting the cellar's portion out, and bags the rest on the cart's floor.
He packs wool sheared in April, honey in combs, linen, leather tanned from deerhide, and vinegar in a barrel hoped by hand at the forge's fire.
He walks by his ox's head, ten days to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes, and the bag that carried potatoes, flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose feathers, yarn.
When the cart is empty he sells the cart. When the cart is sold he sells the ox
The rest of the poem is here. Or, check out the Caldecott winning picture book from 1980.
I prefer Hall's children's book, I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat. When I do elementary school poetry residencies, teachers fall in love with Hall's contrasting cat and dog voices. The language is juicy, fun and kid friendly. Are your younger students learning the 6+ 1 Writing Traits? I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat is a must read-aloud.
Our hospitable Poetry Friday host is Susan Taylor Brown this week. Enjoy!