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How The Leaves Came Down: A Poem On Changing Seasons

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A Bedtime Poem for Kids: How The Leaves Came Down

Have you seen any bare trees during winter? Do you know where the leaves go? Well, the trees shed leaves in winter so as to have some more water and energy to themselves. But what’s more interesting is that the leaves change colours before they come off the branches. Yes! Have you watched green leaves turn yellow, then brown, and then red? Do you feel sad about the leaves falling off? What if we tell you that they go to sleep every winter and come back afresh in the spring?

Let us read the poem ‘How The Leaves Came Down’ and see how beautifully a great tree shed its leaves putting them to sleep.

yellow, brown, and red leaves coming off a tree

Image of yellow, brown, and red leaves coming off a tree 

“How The Leaves Came Down” Poem

“I’ll tell you how the leaves came down,”

The great Tree to his children said:

“You’re getting sleepy, Yellow, and Brown,

Yes, very sleepy, little Red.

It is quite time to go to bed.”

“Ah!” begged each silly, pouting leaf,

“Let us a little longer stay;

Dear Father Tree, behold our grief!

‘Tis such a very pleasant day,

We do not want to go away.”

So, for just one more merry day

To the great Tree, the leaflets clung,

Frolicked and danced, and had their way,

Upon the autumn breezes swung,

Whispering all their sports among-

“Perhaps the great Tree will forget,

And let us stay until the spring,

If we all beg, and coax, and fret.”

But the great Tree did no such thing;

He smiled to hear their whispering.

“Come children, all to bed,” he cried;

And ere the leaves could urge their prayer,

He shook his head, and far and wide,

Fluttering and rustling everywhere,

Down sped the leaflets through the air.

I saw them; on the ground they lay,

Golden and red, a huddled swarm,

Waiting till one from far away,

White bedclothes heaped upon her arm,

Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

The great bare Tree looked down and smiled.

“Good-night, dear little leaves,” he said.

And from below each sleepy child

Replied, “Good-night,” and murmured,

“It is so nice to go to bed!” 


- Susan Coolidge

Summary and Analysis of the Poem

The poem ‘How The Leaves Came Down’ beautifully narrates the leaves coming off a tree in the fall season. There are seven stanzas, each comprising five lines, in this poem. The setting of the poem signifies the onset of winter, expressed with various images. The tree, the leaves, and the changing colours of the leaves are idyllically personified in the poem. It gives us a vivid glimpse of the tree leaves at the beginning of fall. The central purpose of the poem revolves around the leaves insisting to stay a little longer on the tree.

The great tree is personified as a father and its leaves are personified as children. The father tree asks his children (leaves) to go to bed. He identifies the leaves turning yellow and brown to be getting sleepy while he infers the leaves that had turned red, to be very sleepy, indeed. In other words, the leaves that were growing yellow and brown were about to wither away, and the red leaves were on the verge of falling off the tree. 

The leaves begged of the tree to allow them to stay a little longer, just like children plead with their father to let them play a little longer on a pleasant warm day. The leaves insisted the tree let them stay as it is a pleasant day. 

The leaves got to cling to the tree for another merry day. The poet personifies the leaves as children playing, frolicking, and dancing. As the autumn breeze blew upon the leaves, they whispered, if all of them pleaded, coaxed, and fretted with the tree, it would forget about pressing them to bed and let them stay till the spring. 

However, the great tree heard what they say and before they could urge their prayer, the tree shook its head. It rustled here and there, hence the leaflets fell off the tree right through the air.

The golden and red leaves heaped on the ground just under the great bare tree. The poet says it seemed like the leaves were huddled together in a swarm on the ground. It looked like they were waiting for someone to come from afar with impeccable white bedclothes hung around her arm, to put them to sleep just like mothers put kids to bed warm and safe.

The great tree, that lost all its leaves, stood tall as if it looked down to find its leaves and smiled at them, to wish good night. The leaves seemed to murmur a sweet goodnight in reply to their great tree. Finally, the leaves knew how good it was to sleep, just the way the great tree wanted them to taste the beautiful slumber.


The poem ‘How The Leaves Came Down’ paints an amazing picture of a tree shedding leaves in winter. As a matter of fact, it is a natural phenomenon that helps trees to survive during the chilly winters. Young kids who are yet unaware of the various inevitable natural phenomena will get an understanding of why leaves are shed in winter. Poems on changing seasons are meant to bring young kids close to nature in the disguise of easy figures of speech. So, let your child read more poems on nature and cherish the beautiful nuances of seasons. 

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FAQs on How The Leaves Came Down: A Poem On Changing Seasons

1. How does the shedding of leaves help trees in the winter season?

The shedding of leaves mainly occurs due to the production of a plant hormone called auxin. When the leaves are shed, the trees are able to retain more water and energy. It is perhaps the only way for the trees to survive in the dry and cold winter season.

2. Give one figure of speech used in the poem ‘How The Leaves Came Down’.

Personification is one of the figures of speech used in the poem ‘How The Leaves Came Down’. It attributes a human characteristic to a non-human object. The tree is personified as a man in the poem who is the father to the leaves. At the same time, the leaves are personified as his children.