The Children’s Hour – My own Post # 264

What 5 books have influenced you the most?  I have written before about books that have influenced me. Among the top ones are: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, Gone With the Wind, many of Shakespeare’s plays, The Old Man and the Sea, and of course the Bible. Today, however, I am thinking about poetry. That had such a strong influence on me as well. My parents were always reciting poetry to us. We didn’t own a lot of books but we always had piles of library books around. When my parents were in school they often had to memorize poems to recite–and they remember them to this day. One of my dad’s favorites was The Cremation of Sam McGee. He was also a huge fan of Shakespeare, Jack London, Poe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—oh and Louis L’Amour. He and I would frequently read Shakespeare’s plays aloud together. He or mom would read aloud to us after dinner…way beyond our years of being too little to read….Oh it was so fabulous to be exposed to such rich literature!

My mom’s favorite poetry included everything from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (if you read it aloud the metre is like a galloping horse), The Song of Hiawatha, (by Longfellow), If  (or anything else–like Gunga Din) by Rudyard Kipling, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Children’s Hour. She would often recite The Children’s Hour while she was preparing dinner and we were setting the table (or after dinner when we were doing the dishes). As a result, of course, I know the poem as well… and if I meet someone named Allegra (which is very rare) i try to discover if she is a girl of laughter…..I think it is a lot of fun and a real joy to read poetry aloud—especially if it has a terrific metre and rhyming pattern. For your edification i am posting The Children’s Hour below…..enjoy!! {This poem makes me long for the olden days–with big old homes with wide wooden staircases and hidden rooms ;-)}


The Children’s Hour–by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I thing of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away.


Gosh can’t you just picture his sweet daughters jumping all over him in the midst of his writing? Probably right before dinner or right before bed all freshly scrubbed and in their pajamas….Sigh..Sometimes I still think it is a wonderful, rich experience to read aloud. I do it even if no one is around…..poetry is meant to be read and heard….passages from wonderful books, too….I mean seriously, can you REALLY content yourself just reading the Gettysburg address to yourself? Nope, I can’t either…..I think I will post that another day!

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
This entry was posted in Writing and Literature and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Children’s Hour – My own Post # 264

  1. hugmamma says:

    You’ve a wonderful imagination…and a “joie de vivre” for life! We seem connected by our love for the written word…and living in the moment. Together…

    let’s spread the word… 😉

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