Poem of the week

This week's poet, John Brainard, was born in Connecticut in 1796 into a family that had founded one of the first settlements (Siedlungen) in the part of the USA that is now New York. Until he went to college at the age of 15, he was taught (unterrichtet) by his elder brother. It seems that he wasn't a very good pupil and it's not sure if he ever graduated (einen Abschluss machte). He later studied law (Jura) in his brother's office. 

Neither the law office nor his job in a newspaper suited him (lagen him); he was more the sensitive (sensibel) poet type. When he later gave up his job at the newspaper because he suffered from tuberculosis, he still wrote poems for the newspaper. The readers and other poets liked him and his poems very much and when he died in 1828 many poets like John Greenleaf Whittier wrote poems in his memory and a collection of Brainard's poems was published.

The Poem

The Tree Toad 

by John Brainard


I am a jolly tree toad, upon a chestnut     tree;
I chirp, because I know that the night was made for me;
The young bat flies above me, the glow-worm shines below,
And the owlet sits to hear me, and half   forgets his woe.

I'm lighted by the firefly,     in circles wheeling round;
The caty-did is silent,  and listens to the sound;
The jack-o'-lantern leads the              way-worn traveller astray,   To hear the tree toad's melody until the   break of day.

The harvest moon hangs over me,   and smiles upon the streams;
The lights dance upward from the north,  and cheer me with their beams;
The dew of heaven, it comes to me   as sweet as beauty's tear;
The stars themselves shoot down to see what music we have here.

The winds around me whisper   to ev'ry flower that blows,
To droop their heads, call in their sweets, and every leaf to close;
The whip-poor-will sings to his mate   the mellow melody:
"O! hark, and hear the notes that flow   from yonder chestnut tree."

Ye caty-dids and whip-poor-wills,   come listen to me now;
I am a jolly tree toad upon a chestnut  bough;
I chirp because I know   that the night was made for me —
And I close my proposition with a Q. E. D.

Quelle: https://discoverpoetry.com/poems/frog-poems/

Helpful Vocabulary


Ich bin eine vergnügte Baumkröte auf einem Kastanienbaum;

Ich zwitschere, weil ich weiß, dass die Nacht für mich gemacht wurde;

über mir fliegt die junge Fledermaus, unter mir leuchtet der Leuchtkäfer,

und das Eulenjunge setzt sich, um mich zu hören, und vergsst dabei halb seinen Kummer.


Ich werde vom Glühwürmchen beleuchtet, dass in Kreisen herumschwirrt; die Buschgrille ist still und hört auf das Geräusch; 

die Irrlichter bringen den vom Weg müden Reisenden vom Pfad ab, um bis zum Tagesanbruch der Melodie der Kröte zuzuhören. 


Der Erntemond hängt über mir und lächelt auf die Bäche nieder; die Lichter tanzen vom Norden herauf und erfreuen mich mit ihren Strahlen;

der Himmelstau kommt zu mir, süß wie die Träne der Schönheit; 

die Sterne selber schießen herab, um zu sehen, was wir hier für eine Musik haben.


Die Winde um mich herum flüstern allen blühenden Blumen zu, dass sie ihre Köpfe neigen, ihre Süße hereinrufen und jedes Blatt schließen sollen;

die Nachtschwalbe singt ihrem Gefährten die sanfte Melodie vor: 

"Oh! Lausche und höre die Töne, die von dem Kastanienbaum dort drüben kommen."


Kommt jetzt ihr Buschgrillen und Nachtschwalben und hört mir zu;

ich bin eine vergnügte Baumgrille auf einem Kastanienast;

Ich zwitschere, weil ich weiß, dass die Nacht für mich gemacht wurde - 

und ich beende meine These mit einem Q.E.D. (= quod erat demonstrandum, was zu beweisen war, Bemerkung am Ende einer wissenschaftlichen Beweisführung). 

Now You


Sit back and relax and let yourself be transported to a summer evening at the frog pond with this video (made at the Wasserbacher See near Leonberg Silberberg) - turn the volume up to hear the frogs!


Afterwards, read the poem again (aloud).

Annette Wynne was an American poet who wrote poetry for children for every month and season. Her bestknown collections of poem are "For Days and Days: A Year Round Treasury of Child Verse" (published in 1919) and "Treasure Things" (published in 1922).

Her poems are popular with teachers because they can be easily used in class and also be memorized (auswendig gelernt). 

The Poem

Why was June Made ?

by Annette Wynne


Why was June made?—Can you guess?
June was made for happiness!
Even the trees
Know this, and the breeze
That loves to play
Outside all day,
And never is too bold or rough,
Like March's wind, but just a tiny blow's enough;
And all the fields know
This is so—
June was not made for wind and stress,
June was made for happiness;
Little happy daisy faces
Show it in the meadow places,
And they call out when I pass,
"Stay and play here in the grass."
June was made for happy things,
Boats and flowers, stars and wings,
Not for wind and stress,
June was made for happiness!

Helpful Vocabulary




guess= raten

even= sogar

breeze= sanfter Wind

bold= schroff; kühn

rough= grob

tiny= winzig

blow= Schlag; hier Blasen

daisy= Gänseblümchen

meadow= Wiese, Weise

pass= vorbei gehen


Now You




Go to Penny's Poetry Pages to learn a little bit more about Annette Wynne and to listen to little Jacob who has learned her poem "Indian Children" by heart.

Why not learn "Why was June Made?" by heart? 

On this page you can type the poem, then fill in some gaps (Lücken) and then try to learn it all. 

Poet and translator Jane Kenyon was born in 1947 in Michigan. She grew up in the Midwest and many of her poems describe nature.

Later married Donald Hall and moved with him to his farm in New Hampshire where she became the poet laureate ("Hofdichterin", von der Region besonders ausgezeichnete und für die Region schreibende Lyrikerin). She published a few volumes of poems in a simple but emotional language. Sadly she died in 1995 from leukemia.

The Poem

Heavy Summer Rain

The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now absent, animal must have passed the night. The hay will right itself if the day
turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams’s letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.
Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn.
Poem taken from www.poetryfoundation.org:
from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Helpful Vocabulary

Heavy Summer Rain

by Jane Kenyon



topple= umkippen

in places= an manchen Orten

hay= Heu

to right= sich aufrichten

steadily= ununterbrochen

blustering= stürmisch

entrance= Eintritt

exit= Abgang

hinge= Türangel

huge= riesig

unconscious= unbewusst

Henry Adams= amerikanischer Historiker (1838-1918)

Clover= Klee; Spitzname von Adams' Frau, die Selbstmord beging

bow down= sich hinunter beugen

iris= Iris

peony= Pfingstrose

poppy= Mohn


lawn= Rasen

Now You

Heavy Summer Rain

by Jane Kenyon



Have you ever tried to sing the words of a poem? 

Can you hear the rain, the sadness, the longing (Sehnsucht) in this poem? 

Read it aloud, then try to sing it and / or listen to this sung version in the video


This poem is from Shakespeare's comedy play "A Midsummer Night's Dream (Act 2, Scene 1)  


If you're interested in an interpretation have a look at this page

The Poem

William Shakespeare, A Fairy Song


Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough brier,

Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire!

I do wander everywhere,

Swifter than the moon's  sphere;

And I serve the fairy queen,

To dew her orbs upon the green;

The cowslips tall her pensioners be;

In their gold coats spots you see;

Those be rubies, fairy favours,

In those freckles live their savours:

I must go seek some dewdrops here,

And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.

Helpful Vocabulary



thorough= through

brier= Dornenstrauch


swift= flink

serve someone= jemandem dienen

to dew= betauen

orb= Kugel, Himmelskörper

green= Grünfläche


pensioners= hier: Untertanen, Nachfolger

favour= Gefallen, Liebesdienst

spot= Fleck

ruby= Rubin

freckle= Sommersprosse, kleiner Fleck

savour= Geschmack, Aroma, Genuss

Now You

Take a morning stroll (Spaziergang) and think about what the fairies could have done in the landscape that surrounds you.


Today's poem is only the first part of the poem "In May" by William Henry Davies, chosen to let you enjoy how nature really is so full of life this month. 

Davies (1871-1940) is a fascinating person. After a poor life in Wales he emigrated to the USA aged 22 where he lived as a tramp, sailor and occasional worker until he lost a leg when he tried to jump on a train. He went to England then and became a writer . His "Autobiography of a Super-Tramp" inspired the pop band Supertramp to choose this name. Find more about William Henry Davies in our creative writing corner.

The Poem

William Henry Davies, In May


Yes, I will spend the livelong day
With Nature in this month of May;
And sit beneath the trees, and share
My bread with birds whose homes are there;
While cows lie down to eat, and sheep
Stand to their necks in grass so deep;
While birds do sing with all their might,
As though they felt the earth in flight.

Helpful Vocabulary



the livelong day: den lieben langen Tag

beneath: unter

neck: Hals, Nacken

as though: so als ob

Now You



When did you last spend the "liveling day" in and with nature? How did you feel about it? Were there any animals? Does it inspire and relax you to be surrounded by plants and animals? What kind of natural surroundings do you like best and why?

Cassandra Anouthay is a young poet and high school teacher from Michigan. I found her poem online, and also a poem about her by Justin Riemer. The first lines are

"A woman of vast curiosity,
She explores what there is to see
Around her as she reads, writes, and inquires.
Philosophical questions intrigue her,
And literature inspires her in
Everything that she does."

The Poem

First name Cassandra, middle name Remebrance by Cassandra Anouthay

The other day, my birth father told me

my middle name means remembrance.
And I wonder why he chose that
since he forgot me two years later.
And I wonder if I’m something to forget,
like an umbrella or a cup of coffee.
And I wonder—does my middle name
explain why I remember everything?
Moonlit trees in a second story window,
dirty knees, eating uncooked ramen on
back balconies, baby hairs on the nape,
curled, sweaty, and morning breath kisses.


And I wonder if he had a list of words
scribbled on a napkin or maybe his arm,
the ink-black dragon on it breathing
love and peace and flower and elephant
(my mother thought it was elephant),
and if he scratched out each one until
all that was left was remembrance.
And I’m telling you now,
with a warm heart and a clenched fist:
all that is left is remembrance.

Helpful Vocabulary

Remembrance: Gedenken, Erinnerung

birth father: Leiblicher Vater

middle name: zweiter Vorname

second story: zweiter Stock

nape: Nacken

curled: gelockt

sweaty: verschwitzt

scribbled: gekritzelt

napkin: Serviette

ink-black dragon: tintenschwarzer Drache

scratch out: durchstreichen

clenched fist: geballte Faust

Remembrance: Gedenken, Erinnerung

birth father: Leiblicher Vater

middle name: zweiter Vorname

second story: zweiter Stock

nape: Nacken

curled: gelockt

sweaty: verschwitzt

scribbled: gekritzelt

napkin: Serviette

ink-black dragon: tintenschwarzer Drache

scratch out: durchstreichen

clenched fist: geballte Faust

Now You

Who gave you your name?

Do you know the reasons for that name? Has your name a special meaning? Do you like your name? Why (not)? Has your name played a role in your life and personal history? 

James Mercer Langston Hughes (1901-1967) was an American poet from Missouri. He was also a novelist, playwright and columnist, but he is most famous for his poems in which he innovated the „Jazz Poetry“ (poetry about jazz or in a jazz-like rhythm) and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance (a revival of Afro-American culture in New York in the 20ies and 30ies). Throughout his work, one finds Hughes's loyalty, freindship and fight for the working class and his Afro-American people.  





The Poem

„Chant for May Day“ by Langston Hughes


To be read by a worker with, for background, the rhythmic waves of rising and re-rising mass voices, multiplying like the roar of the sea.


WORKER: The first of May;

When the flowers break through the earth,

When the sap rises in the trees,

When the birds come back from the South.

Workers: Be like the flowers,


10 VOICES: Bloom in the strength of your unknown power,


20 VOICES: Grow out of the passive earth,


40 VOICES: Grow strong with UNION,

All hands together,

to beautify this hour, this spring,

And all the springs to come


50VOICES: Forever the workers!


WORKER: Workers!


10 VOICES: Be like the sap, rising in the trees,


20 VOICES: Strengthening each branch,


40 VOICES: No part neglected -


50 VOICES: Reaching all the world.


WORKER: All workers:


10 VOICES: White workers,


10 OTHERS: Black workers,


10 OTHERS: Yellow workers,


10 OTHERS: Workers in the islands of the sea -


50 VOICES: Life is everywhere for you,


WORKER: When the sap of your own strenght rises


50 VOICES: Life is everywhere.


10 VOICES: May Day!

20 VOICES: May Day!


40 VOICES: May Day!


50 VOICES: When the earth is new.


WORKER: Proletarians of the world:


20 VOICES: Arise,


40 VOICES: Grow strong,


60 VOICES: Take power,


80 VOICES: Till the forces of the earth are yours



100 VOICES: From this hour.

Helpful Vocabulary

chant= (Sprech) Gesang

rising= Ansteigen, Anschwellen


roar= das Brüllen

sap=Pflanzensaft, Mark






arise=sich erheben

Now You

Think about what terms like "work" and "solidarity mean for you.

The Poem

Julia Donaldson, I Opened a Book

I opened a book and in I strode      Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.

I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.

I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

(Taken from:  http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/)

The Poem

Elizabeth II

In today's correspondence a poetry book
detailing the lives of British Queens—
with a note enclosed and a question:
what does it mean to be a Queen?
I could reply and say
this precious stone set in a silver sea:
a symbol, like a banner, for mens' love.
But these are not my words.
I could reply and say—
glorying in the glories of my people,
sorrowing with the sorrows of the lowest.
But these are not my words.
I could declare—
that each Queen is tissue paper thin,
transluscent but combined, are my flesh.
But I will not solidify my words,
instead I will command my secretary to write,
with many kind thanks for the little book etc,
but to say my thoughts on Queenship
can only be ascertained by my actions. 
Ruth Stacey, "Elizabeth II" from Queen, Jewel, Mistress. Copyright © 2015 by Ruth Stacey.  Reprinted by permission of Eyewear Publishing. Found on poetryfoundation.org


Helful Vocabulary

Julia Donaldson, I Opened a Book

stride, strode, stridden=schreiten, stiefeln

cloak= Umhang


magic potion=Zaubertrank

dive, dove, dived=tauchen




(They lived) happily ever after= Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind, dann leben sie noch heute

hide, hid, hidden=verbergen












Helpful Vocabulary

Ruth Stacey, Elizabeth II


In der heutigen Korrespondenz war ein Gedichtband, der das Leben von britischen Königinnen beschreibt - mit einer beigefügten Nachricht und einer Frage: Was bedeutet es, eine Königin zu sein?


Ich könnte antworten und sagen - dieser kostbare Stein in einem Meer aus Silber: ein Symbol, wie ein Banner, für die Liebe der Menschen. Aber das sind nicht meine Worte.


Ich könnte antworten und sagen - die Ehre meines Volkes auskosten und die Sorgen der Geringsten teilen. Aber das sind nicht meine Worte.



Ich könnte verkünden - dass jede Königin dünn wie Seidenpapier ist, durchscheinend, aber alle zusammen sind mein Leib. Aber ich werde diese Wörter sich nicht verfestigen lassen,

stattdessen werde ich meinen Sekretär beauftragen zu schreiben, mit freundlichem Dank für das Büchlein usw., aber um zu sagen dass meine Gedanken über die Bedeutung des Königin-Seins  nur anhand meiner Taten herausgefunden werden können.

Now You

Julia Donaldson, I Opened a Book


How do you like Julia Donaldson's poem? What were your reading experiences as a child? Can you remember your first/ favourite book? Did you sometimes play/ act out the stories or imagine to be the hero of the story?


Tell us about it in the forum
















Now You



What do you think about this poem?

What characteristics do you think of when you think about queenship or kingship?


Do you know any actions by kings or queens that you find "worthy of a king or queen" (eines Königs/ einer Königin angemessen)? Which ones and why? 


Wenn Du Lust hast, erzähl uns im Forum davon! 

William Wordsworth, Daffodils



I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.



The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
   And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
   Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.
found on poetryfoundation.org
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, A March Snow
Let the old snow be covered with
the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled,
and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view
By pure white flakes, all trackless
and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet
Spring's feet
Let him be mantled in a clean,
white sheet.
Let the old life be covered by the new:
The old past life so full of sad
Let it be wholly hidden from the view
By deeds as white and silent as
Ere this earth life melts in the eternal
Let the white mantle of repentance
Soft drapery about it, fold on fold,
Even as the new snow covers up
the old.







Edward Lear, two limericks


There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a raven;
But they said, 'It's absurd
To encourage this bird!'
So they smashed that Old Man of Whitehaven.


There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, 'I'm afloat, I'm afloat!'
When they said, 'No! you ain't!'
He was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.



Robert Louis Stevenson, Singing


Of speckled eggs the birdie sings

And nests among the trees;

The sailor sings of ropes and things

In ships upon the seas.


The children sing in far Japan,

The children sing in Spain;

The organ with the organ man

Is singing in the rain.



Robert Browning, All's Right With the World


The year's at the spring, 

And the day's at the morn;

Morning's at seven;

The hillside's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;

The snail's on the thorn;

God's in His heaven - 

All's right with the world! 


William Wordsworth, Daffodils






host= hier: eine Menge




milky way= Milchstraße

stretch= sich erstrecken

margin= Rand

bay= Bucht

at a glance= auf einen Blick

toss=werfen, schütteln


out-do in glee=an Freude übertreffen

gay=hier: fröhlich




vacant=leer, abwesend


flash upon that inward eye=vor diesem inneren Auge aufblitzen

bliss= Glückseligkeit



G.K. Chesterton, The Donkey



Als Fische flogen und Wälder herumliefen

Und Feigen am Dornbusch wuchsen

Als der Mond ein Blutmond war

 - so ein Moment war es sicher, an dem ich geboren wurde.


Mit einem riesigen Kopf und einem widerlichen Schrei

und Ohren wie verirrten Flügeln

bin ich wie eine vom Teufel geschaffene wandelnde Parodie aller Vierfüßler.


Nach uraltem krummen Willen der zerlumpte Geächtete der Erde;

lass mich hungern, peitsche mich aus, verspotte mich: Ich bleibe stumm,

Ich bewahre mein Geheimnis.


Narren! Denn auch ich hatte meinen Moment, eine weit zurückliegende, leidenschaftliche, süße Stunde:

Ein Schrei drang zu meinen Ohren

und Palmzweige lagen vor meinen Hufen.


Ella Wheeler Wilcox, A March Snow









fold= Falte


















Edward Lear, two limericks





to be afloat=schwimmen

to be ready to faint= kurz davor sein, in Ohnmacht zu fallen




Robert Louis Stevenson, Singing





rope=Seil, Tau

organ man=Drehorgelspieler







Robert Browning, All's Right With the World



dew-pearled=mit Tau beperlt



thorn=Dorn oder Spitze

William Wordsworth, Daffodils


In diesem Gedicht geht es darum, dass Wordsworth in dem Moment, als er das Meer von Osterglocken sah, noch gar nicht wusste, welcher Reichtum in der Erinnerung an diesen Moment lag, und wie oft ihn das Bild noch glücklich machen würde. 

Hast Du auch solche Momente/ Erinnerungen, die Dich immer wieder froh machen?


Tauchen diese Bilder oft auch dann auf, wenn Du alleine bist? Einsamkeit wird hier in der ersten und letzten Strophe als etwas sehr Positives beschrieben. Was sind Deiner Meinung nach die Vorteile daran, Zeit allein zu verbringen? 

Wenn Du Lust hast, erzähl uns im Forum davon! 








G.K. Chesterton, The Donkey


Do you like Donkeys? What do you think about the poem? 

Think of an animal that you especially like or dislike or that played a role in history, religion, art.... and try to write a text from it's perspective.

Would you like to share your text in the forum




















Ella Wheeler Wilcox, A March Snow


Have you ever thought of march snow as something positive?

Do you think it's good to cover what's old to be able to start something new?

Do you feel differently about snow in winter and snow in spring? If so, in what way and why?

If you want to talk about in the forum, visit it here.
















Edward Lear, two limericks


Why not try and write a limerick yourself? 

Here are a few places that you might easily find rhyming words for:

France, Derry, Kent, York, Hull...

Share it in our Forum

For more inspiration you'll find tons of limericks on the internet, for the ones by Edward Lear are click here.


 Robert Louis Stevenson, Singing


Bei welchen Gelegenheiten singst Du oder hörst andere singen? Hast Du ein Lieblingslied? Wovon handelt es? Wenn Du willst, erzähl davon im Forum







Robert Browning, All's Right With the World


Hast Du das raffinierte Reimschema entdeckt? Dein Gedicht muss sich ja nicht unbedingt reimen, aber schreib doch mal ein paar Zeilen, die für Dich das Gefühl ausdrücken, das die Welt gerade rundum in Ordnung ist.