A Poem for Fall: “The Fieldmouse”

Oct 05, 2020 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Now that fall is firmly here at least in most of the United States, we thought we’d share a poem that reminds us of the season. This speaker in the poem, composed by Cecil Frances Alexander, describes a field mouse and counsels the creature to find its food in suitable spots to avoid any potential harm. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Mrs. Alexander lived from 1818 to 1895 and was a hymn writer and poet.


The Fieldmouse

by Cecil Frances Alexander

Where the acorn tumbles down,

Where the ash tree sheds its berry,

With your fur so soft and brown,

With your eye so round and merry,

Scarcely moving the long grass,

Fieldmouse, I can see you pass.

Little thing, in what dark den,

Lie you all the winter sleeping?

Till warm weather comes again,

Then once more I see you peeping

Round about the tall tree roots,

Nibbling at their fallen fruits.

Fieldmouse, fieldmouse, do not go,

Where the farmer stacks his treasure,

Find the nut that falls below,

Eat the acorn at your pleasure,

But you must not steal the grain

He has stacked with so much pain.

Make your hole where mosses spring,

Underneath the tall oak's shadow,

Pretty, quiet harmless thing,

Play about the sunny meadow.

Keep away from corn and house,

None will harm you, little mouse.


When you share the poem with your students, be sure to define any vocabulary they may not know. Share a photo of what ash and oak trees look like. If you have acorns near you, bring a few to show your students. Don’t allow your students to taste them! Raw acorns contain tannins that can be toxic to humans although mice devour them quite happily. Most of the poem uses simple language, but you might consider highlighting and defining the words “peeping,” “nibbling,” and “scarcely.” Ask your students why the speaker would tell the field mouse to avoid the farmer’s house and crops. Why would the farmer not want the animal in those areas? Sharing poetry with your students is a great way to build their comprehension and vocabulary. Did you know that IEW offers a poetry memorization course that’s filled with classic poems and famous speeches? Check out Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization, a fun and fabulous way to build your students’ linguistic database.

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