Come Little Leaves

by George Cooper

“Come, little leaves” said the wind one day,
“Come over the meadows with me, and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold.”

Soon as the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all;
Over the brown fields they danced and flew,
Singing the soft little songs they knew.

“Cricket, good-bye, we’ve been friends so long;
Little brook, sing us your farewell song-
Say you’re sorry to see us go;
Ah! you are sorry, right well we know.

“Dear little lambs, in your fleecy fold,
Mother will keep you from harm and cold;
Fondly we’ve watched you in vale and glade;
Say, will you dream of our loving shade?”

Dancing and whirling the little leaves went;
Winter had called them and they were content-
Soon fast asleep in their earthly beds,
The snow laid a soft mantle over their heads.

From Child’s Calendar Beautiful, compiled by Rebecca Katharine Beeson
First Year, October
The orange, italicized verses (verses 3 and 4) were not included in the book, but came from this online site.
While researching the poem online, I found this lovely blog post about it over at sugarfused. Take a few moments to read the comments and see how many people remember their aunts, grandmothers, and great grandparents reciting this poem to them. It’s very touching to see how much it means to people to share memorized poetry with their loved ones. Are you including poetry memorization in your homeschool? I hope so.
This one is also a song- you can hear the midi file at this site.

And if you like this poem, you may wish to look at some of our other poetry posts- click on the poetry label below.

And if you appreciate this post…would you consider signing up for swagbucks with our referral link?

This entry was posted in Child's Calendar Beautiful (nature and other seasonal poems from the book), poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Kip Gibson
    Posted September 2, 2006 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I am 55 years old, and I remember being sung to sleep with this song by my mother, father, grandmother, sister and aunt’s when I was a child. I am ecstatic to have located the lyric/poem and the information regarding it’s origin so easily here at your site. Thank you for coloring my memories.

  2. Headmistress, zookeeper
    Posted September 2, 2006 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank-you for sharing your memories with us!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    My grandmother taught me this poem when I was 5 (1966). She had learned it when she was little and was 76 at the time she taught me. I embroidered a wallhanging with this on for my mom as a tribute to my grandmother. Childhood memories are such wonderful things.

  4. Frances Sonnabend
    Posted November 6, 2006 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I learned this poem as a song from my mother more than 70 years ago. Her version varied a little from the one posted. The song had a chorus: Winter is coming, ho, ho, ho ho, Winter is coming, with ice and snow. Winter is coming, ho, ho, ho ho, Winter is coming and we must go.

    Then the final verse. Does anyone else remember this verson?

  5. Janet
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    As a young girl, my mother taught me this song and we would sing it and sing it as we did chores around the house.

    My mother passed away May 1st and I find myself singing this song and feeling very close to her.

  6. Louisa210
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts were on my mama this morning when this little song popped into my head. It was almost as if she were saying,”Daughter, do you remember me teaching this to you when you were a little girl?” “Yes, Mama, I do!” She and I sang it a lot. She died in 2005 at the age of 99 1/2 years. She still had a sharp mind and clear memory.

    Thank you for publishing this little song. I couldn’t remember the exact words of the last verse.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    I am 61 years old and lost my mother just six months ago at age 94. This is the first year I will not hear her saying this poem to me that her mother taught her! It is surprising and comforting that so many others know this poem.

  8. Jackie
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I googled this poem after having posted about it n my blog. Thank you for the information.

  9. Viva
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    My Auntie has just sent this link on the anniversary of my Grandmothers death…she would sing this to me, just reading this song has brought back all of the wonderful memories of my childhood with her. It's amazing to know that so many other people had the same such memories and that I was truelly blessed as a child.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I am so pleasantly surprised and moved by such a common bond we share in having learned this poem at a young age from a parent or grandparent. My grandfather taught it to me before I started school in 1957. When he passed in 1961, not a Fall season went by with out my mother (his daughter)reciting the poem to me. Even in adulthood, on the first fall day either she or I would make a phone call and recite it to each other. I've been reciting it alone since 2006 when she passed, but like the rest of you, I feel closer to her and my grandfather each Autumn on that one day that makes you feel like fall is making its way into our lives and out pops the poem!

  11. dhmca
    Posted September 20, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    My mother's mother sang it to us, and it came back to me this morning when the first few oak-leaves sailed through the sky onto the lawn. My husband and I are hoping to become grandparents in the next few months. If we are so lucky, our grandchildren will learn this song as I did, from their grandmother.

  12. Patruski1
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I have been in love with the poem "come little leaves for such a long time . lately thinking about it I am so pleased to find it here

  13. Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I awoke this morning with the sound of my mother's voice singing this to me. I, too, was taught this song in the fifties by my dear mother. What a treasure to find it online and so many others who have sweet memories of it like me.

  14. Tina
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I were walking in the woods enjoying the Autumn day as I began to recite the poem. He had never heard it and I got to share how my mother had taught it to us when we were young and she would always recite it each year as the leaves began to turn and fall. She has now passed but I will always have those memories. So glad I was able to find this site.

  15. Michelle
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I just lost my mom to Parkinson's Disease at 87 yrs. old one month ago. One month before that she lost the ability to talk, but two things we said back and forth to each other one day when she could sort of mouth the words back then were "I love you too" after I told her I loved her, and then I whispered in her ear "come little leaves said the wind one day" into her ear and she retorted as best she could "come over the meadows with me and play". The wind was blowing the leaves all around outside her window at the nursing home. I am so lucky to have had her say it to me as a child, and over the years when fall came, and then go back to it during her last weeks. I couldn't remember it all, so thanks for posting it. I will treasure it forever. All who posted have helped me with my grief, so thanks.

  16. Headmistress, zookeeper
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Oh, Michelle,
    I am so sorry for your loss, but so glad you had these special moments to share.
    Thank-you for sharing them with us, too.

  17. stephany
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    My grandmother used to read me this little poem as a child. I fondly remembered most of the words and googled the poem on your website.

    Now, me and my baby girl enjoy "Come Little Leaves" everynight before she goes to bed.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    My mother recited this poem often to me throughout my life. She learned it as a child in a glee club she belonged to. She and her mother sang in glee clubs and choirs for many years through the depression and beyond. She only sang the first two verses. I never knew there were others. She passed away a few years ago at the age of 85. I am doing a cross stitch and was glad to find the words again. Thank you.

    • Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Same thing happend to me when i was young my mother recited this to me many times and i did not know that there was more than what my mother told me to this lovely poem, My mother recited it differently to how it should go my mother recited it as come said the wind to the leaves one day, Come over the meadows and we will play, Put on your bonnets of green and gold the nights grow dark and the winds blow cold, soon as the leaves heard the winds loud call down they come fluttering one and all, Even though my mother recited it wrongly i must admit i like my moms version to, When i saw the original i could not believe it for fifity eight years i thought this was how it read, what a delight two versions of the poem for the price of one

      • Lori Timm
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        That’s just how my mother used to recite the poem. If she were alive now, she’d be 111 years old. She learned it in grade school from the McGuffey reader.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I was so surprised to find this poem when I googled it. I was SURE it would be a wild goose chase. Thank you so much. I was remembering this poem today as the leaves were falling like a heavy rain storm from our and our neighbors' giant oak trees where the trees were left as the houses went up.

    Mother taught me this poem when I was pre-school and I got lots of attention from people when I recited it. This was back around 1950. As I was remembering it, I couldn't quite remember the last verse. Am so glad I didn't have to go to the library.

    However when I learned it, the last line was,"For the days grow short and the nights grow cold." Loved all the comments some of which brought tears to my eyes. Thank God for loving moms and all the memories they leave us.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    My grandma's been gone for 13 years now, but I still remember all the times she would quote this poem to me and my kids. It's so wonderful to read the whole thing. Never knew it was a song!

  21. Paula Campbell
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I can remember so well curling up with mom on the couch and her reciting this poem to me every fall. I am55 years old,and she babysat my children,and I would come home from a hard shift as a nurse, and catch her reciting it to my daughter and son. Mom has been gone almost two years now, and the leaves are flying here in Wva. I posted on my FB wall, “come little leaves said the wind one day”, and my daughter, who is at Marshall University, wrote back…”over the meadows with me to play”. We live our life making memories, and this is a special one. Thank you, I have finally found the complete poem.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted October 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Comments like these put a smile on my face.=)

      • Lovie Hundley Ruloff
        Posted November 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        I am 68 years old learned this poem as a child. Today I was outside swinging my four-year-old granddaughter. We have a Maple tree near the swing set and the wind started blowing, whirling the leaves around and it brought this poem to mind, amazingly I remembered most of it. I plan on sharing it with my other grandchildren. I did not remember the author.
        Thank you so much for posting it.

  22. Pauline Carter
    Posted December 8, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    My Granfather used to sing this to me. I always wondered where it came from. I can still hear him singing it now in my mind after almost 60 years

  23. Darrell Powell
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I remember my grandmother reciting me this poem even after her mind had been ravaged by several strokes and her not even knowing who I was. She’s been gone since 2000 and this poem holds a very special place in my heart and I can still hear my grandmother with all of her grace and charm saying this poem to me whenever I asked. Thanks for making me shed a tear and I mean that with all of my heart, it’s the best tear I’ve shed in years.

  24. judy leach
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I remember that my mom and my aunt would recite this poem and others to us as young children, I guess I was about three (3) years old at the time. we as childen memorized this poem and I still remember some parts to this day. It’s been 61 years since I first heard that poem. I am delighted that it has brought back such wonderful memories. Thank you for publication.

  25. Mischa
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    My grandmother sang this to me when I was little, probably 5 or younger. She was born in 1911 and died in 1991. Thank you for having all the lyrics on your site.

  26. Posted October 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    You reposted this at such a perfect time. My aunt passed away this afternoon and I saw this poem a few moments after finding out. I’ve shared it with my dad’s family already. She loved fall. Thanks.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad the poem was meaningful to you.

  27. Katherine Colburn
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    As the leaves “flew” yesterday, I again sang to my daughter and we sang together, as we worked in the yard. My mother (who died in 2003 at 102) sang this song to me when I was a little girl in the 1920’s and ’30’s. (I was born in 1927.) Fall has been my favorite season all my life and this song has always been precious to me. My daughter has sung this song to HER daughter and she now singer it to HER daughter(my four year old GREAT granddaughter) …..I am certain this family tradition will continue for another century,.

    It has been heartwarming to read the various comments. How wonderful to realize this poem/song has touched so many lives!!!

  28. Virginia Hanna
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I am 81 and can remember my brother and I sitting on my dad’s lap and he would bounce us and sing this song. I am going to try and write it out on material , embrodery it ,put it in a frame for my great grandaughter who is two. I also have given them the little rocking chair that my daughter [ her grandmother] had when she was a little girl. The other song was something about “some one stole my old hound dog, I wish they’d bring him back, he chased the big pigs over the fence ,the little pigs through the cracks. Wonder what the childrens memories will be 80 years from now ?

    • pat
      Posted March 17, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Virginia: My grandmother sang The old hen flew over the fence, the little ones through the cracks, The last word I heard her say: I’m never coming back. Does anyone know if there is more to that song? My mother recited the Little Leaves poem to me many times in the 30s (I’m 85). Never knew it was a song until today!

      • Headmistress, zookeeper
        Posted March 17, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Found some varians:

        Raccoon’s Got a Bushy Tale

        From Paul G. Brewster, Ballads and Songs of Indiana, p. 334.
        Collected in 1935 from Edith Dell Hopkins of Boonville, Indiana.

        Raccoon’s got a bush tail;
        Possum’s tail is bare;
        Rabbit’s got no tail at all —
        Nothing but a little bunch of hair.


        Get along home, home, home;
        Get along home, home, home;
        Get along home, home, home;
        Down the riverside.

        Someone stole my old ‘coon dog;
        They’d better bring him back.
        Chased the raccoon over the fence,
        And the rabbit through the crack.
        Far in the Mountains : Volumes 1 & 2

        of Mike Yates’ 1979-83 Appalachian Collection
        16. Western Country
        (Played on the fiddle by Sam Connor and the banjo by Dent Wimmer at Dent’s home in Floyd, Floyd County, 8.8.79)

        Sam called this Little Pigee from his verse:Dent Wimmer and Sam Connor

        Run the old hog over the fence
        And the little pigs through the cracks.

        whilst Dent uses the title Western Country from the verse:

        When I was in the western country,
        Where the weather was so dry.
        The sun came out and froze me,
        Suzannah don’t you cry.

        Other Appalachian musicians call it either Fly Around My Pretty Little Pink or Blue Eyes Run Me Crazy because of another common verse:

        Fly around my pretty little pink,
        Fly around my daisy.
        Fly around my pretty little pink,
        Your blue eyes run me crazy.

        Kentucky banjo player Lee Sexton plays a good, if short, version on the album Mountain Music of Kentucky (Smithsonian Folkways SFCD 40077), and the North Carolina banjo-player and singer Frank Proffitt can be heard on Appleseed APR CD 1036; while Hobart Smith of Virginia played a stunning version on the piano (Rounder CD 1702). The Bogtrotters from Galax, VA, recorded it for the Library of Congress and The Hillbillies, a ’20s stringband also from the area around Galax, called it Blue-Eyed Girl on their 1926 recording (Vocalion 5017) which has been reissued on Document DOCD-8039. They also included the ‘little pigee’ verse in their 1925 recording of Whoa’ Mule (Okeh 40376) which is available on the same Document CD. A fine version from Frank Blevins and his Pilot Mountaineers has been reissued on Yazoo CD 2028, while Bradley Kincaid’s Pretty Little Pink, reissued on Yazoo CD 2051, contains a number of similar verses.

        I used to have an old coon dog, blind as blind could be
        But every night at supper time I believe that dog could see
        I used to love that old coon dog, wish I could bring him back
        He’d run the big deer over the fence and the little ones through the cracks
        Is this the tune?

  29. Jennifer
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I am 42 years old and remember my great grand mother teaching me this verse. She learned it when she was a child. Mom mom was born in 1899 and passed away at the age of 98. I have searched for this verse for a long time and am so thrilled to have found it!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

  30. Marlene
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    My mom sang this as a song to all 9 of us as babies and I sang it to my siblings when she went to work. It was a little different wording and she only sang the first 2 and last verses. I sang it to my daughter and still sing it to this day. Thank you for making sure it is still out there to share with all our future generations.

  31. Sherry Whitworth
    Posted April 8, 2014 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    I learned this when I was in the first grade in 1962. I’ve always loved it. When I think of it it brings back memories of my teacher. She was the best teacher I ever had. She gave me the thirst for learning!! Thank you so much for giving us all the poem we remember so fondly!!

  32. Eileen Cameron
    Posted July 26, 2014 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    My mother died in 1985 aged 88. She sang this song a lot and so her children all knew it well. Her two sons , my elder brothers, both now also dead, used to tease her about it. She had learned it when a little girl at school in Northern Ireland. I am delighted to find the song here. The words here are just as she sang them. Happy memories because she was happy when she sang the song.

  33. Jane Cross Norman
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I am 71 years of age, and remember so very lovingly, my mother quoting this as a poem. Just to read it again I hear her voice saying the words. She left us on May 6th, 2009, at the age of 99, only 3 months more and she would have been 100. But she is still very present when I have opportunities like this to read the poems she quoted all her life. Thank you for making this possible! This is truly a tribute to that wonderful generation of people! We all need to continue passing these wonderful poems down to our grandchildren.

    Jane Cross Norman

  34. Lori J
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    My 8-year old son had his first poetry recital at school last week and in preparation, we had to pick a poem suitable for his age. I googled various poems and randomly picked “The Wind and the Leaves/Come Little Leaves”. I thought it was a perfect poem to get him started and of all the seasons, he loves autumn the most. For special effects, I sewed him a tree costume and he dropped leaves as he recited the poem. He did really well and got an A+ for it. We thoroughly enjoyed working on this project together. I plan for us to continue reciting it together. Hopefully, someday when I’m old and grey that he will have the same fond memory of me the way you all do of your parents and grandparents.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      How lovely!

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