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Celebrate April with Hopkins, Frost, Eliot, and Rossetti

I’ve been stricken with spring fever and could not resist sharing the beauty of a few of my favorite spring poems. I’ll offer them without comment, as I believe they are best savored quietly. If you wish to learn more about the poet or the poem, I suggest browsing through Bartleby.com, as well as your own encyclopedia.

Spring
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.


A Tiny Excerpt from “The Waste Land”
by T. S. EliotApril is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.


A Prayer in Spring
Robert Frost (1915)Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.


Spring Quiet
Christina Rossetti (1847)Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing.Where in the whitethom
Singeth a thrush,
And a robin sings
In the holly-bush.Full of fresh scents
Are the budding boughs
Arching high over
A cool green house:

Full of sweet scents,
And whispering air
Which sayeth softly:
“We spread no snare;

“Here dwell in safety,
Here dwell alone,
With a clear stream
And a mossy stone.

“Here the sun shineth
Most shadily;
Here is heard an echo
Of the far sea,
Though far off it be.”

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And finally, here’s a special guest article from my friend Cindy:

It’s Spring! Time for Nature Studies!
By Cindy Rushton

Spring is here!

Anybody else having Spring Fever? Ready to get outside to soak up the beauty and fresh air? Oh! This is the perfect time to make up any excuse to get outside. But, what if we call it “school” as we enjoy this gorgeous Spring?

Yep! It is Spring and and time for Spring themed Nature Studies. Yep! Time for that weekly Nature Walk! Time to pull out those Nature Notebooks and begin a fresh new study. NO pressure. Just with atmosphere of fun and delight! Want some ideas that are EASY? How about some of our favorites? Let’s dig in…

Trees…
• Hunt for new leaves (buds!). Mark the date for each tree.
• Look for blossoms on your tree. Describe and draw.
• Mark the date that your tree is in full foliage.
• Measure the height of your tree.
• Determine the age of the tree. Measure 5 feet from the ground around the tree trunk. Divide this measurement by 1 inch to get the approximate age in years.
• Collect and press leaves. Mount some in your nature notebook.
• Sketch your tree in watercolor or crayon for your nature notebook.
• Hunt for spring poetry about trees! Copy into your nature notebook.
• Look up Scripture verses about trees. Copy into your nature notebook.

Flowers…
• Each week take a walk to collect new wildflowers around your neighborhood. Press into a scrapbook/nature notebook.
• Sketch and label flower parts.
• Hunt for poetry about the flowers that are blooming each week.
• Find Scripture verses to copy into your nature notebook about all flowers.
• Plant some flowers outside in your yard.

Birds…
• Set out a bird feeder for birds around your home. Put one right outside of a big window so the children can watch the birds up close.
• Listen for early birds…they should be coming soon.
• Set out nesting materials for birds common to your area.
• Try building your own nest.
• Learn birdcalls and songs.
• Watch the birds as they gather materials for their nests…maybe you can see where they are building their nests and watch them as they feed their young.
• Hunt for nature poetry about the birds native to your yard. Copy into nature notebooks.
• Hunt for Scripture verses about the birds native to your yard. Copy into nature notebooks.

Insects…
• Start an ant farm.
• Begin your bug collection.

Animals…
• Hunt for animal tracks.
• Go on a night hunt for salamanders. You may want to make a home for one as a pet.
• Set up an aquarium for a frog home. Go to a local pond to collect some frog eggs—watch their life cycle! Be sure to document in your nature notebook!
• Make a chart of animal characteristics. Study how animals are classified.

Plants…
• Hunt for woodland flowers.
• Choose seeds or plants for spring planting. Start seeds now to have an early bloom.
• Grow plants from pits. (see Ideas Section)
• Gather samples from the woods of plants without flowers. (Good resource is Plants That Never Ever Bloom)
• Go on a hike through the woods. Look for tree seedlings.
• Hunt for spring mushrooms.

Astronomy…
• Keep a chart of the moon phases for a month—try March.
• Take an evening to spend stargazing.

Weather…
• Keep weather chart for the first two weeks of the season—begin March.
• Find out how rain is formed.
• Find any poems about rain for nature notebook.
• Find out about lightning. Add information to nature notebook.
• Hunt for rainbows.

Collections…
• Take a day for each of your collections to maintain. (Rocks… shells… feathers… so on.)

Seasonal Table Ideas…
• Budding branches
• Tulips
• Bird’s nest
• Fresh flowers
• Potted Wild Violets
• Dyed eggs
• Tissue Paper Butterflies
• Colors…pastels and jewel tones

Need MORE Help?

How about MORE help? Yep! Check out our Ultimate Homeschool Expo! If you missed the live recording of the workshops, no problem! You can now hear ALL of the workshops at your convenience. They are CERTAIN to give you step-by-step help to make homeschooling FUN and EASY! Get your ticket at Cindy’s site.

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Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention. She is recording Preview Chats for the Ultimate Homeschool Convention RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE for the next weeks as they count down to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo (April 28-May 3, 2008–BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE Convention!). Get your ticket NOW and receive her awesome A Quick Start for Notebooking Mini-Set FREE today!

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