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SPRING POEMS: 60 Best Spring Poems and Spring Poems for Kids

Spring Poems

Spring Poems

Read 60 spring poems, with the best new and famous poems about spring, spring poems for kids, spring haikus, spring poem videos, and spring season illustrations.

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Spring poems, a celebration of the season, are written by poets in every generation. Spring is when the earth itself writes poetry and the very air becomes the poet's muse. It is no coincidence that America's National Poetry Month is in April.

This poetry collection contains the best new poems as well as the most-loved poems from previous generations. There is also a section of spring poems for kids. You can use the Table of Contents to find the section you want, or just scroll down the page to read them all.

Table of Contents

– jump to section

Spring Poems

Spring Poems by Robert Frost

Famous Spring Poems

Spring Haikus

Poems about the Meaning of Spring

Spring Poems for Kids

spring-poems

Spring Poems

The poems in this section are from modern poets. All of these poets have won significant writing awards and many were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Spring in Keukenhof Garden of Europe, the Netherlands

Spring in Keukenhof Garden of Europe, the Netherlands

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967) is a favorite American poet who won two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He is also known for his monumental studies of President Abraham Lincoln, winning an additional Pulitzer for his biography of the President.


Three Spring Notations on Bipeds

an excerpt from the poem by Carl Sandburg

The down drop of the blackbird,
The wing catch of arrested flight,
The stop midway and then off: off for triangles, circles, loops of new hieroglyphs—
This is April’s way: a woman:
“O yes, I’m here again and your heart
knows I was coming.”


Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin (1922 – 1985) was a British poet who was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Larkin's three poems about spring below are excerpted from The Complete Poems, his life's work with Larkin's added commentary published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Coming

by Philip Larkin

Scroll to Continue

On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
Laurel-surrounded
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon —
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.


Springtime

Springtime

Spring (by Larkin)

by Philip Larkin

Green-shadowed people sit, or walk in rings,
Their children finger the awakened grass,
Calmly a cloud stands, calmly a bird sings,
And, flashing like a dangled looking-glass,
Sun lights the balls that bounce, the dogs that bark,
The branch-arrested mist of leaf, and me,
Threading my pursed-up way across the park,
An indigestible sterility.
Spring, of all seasons most gratuitous,
Is fold of untaught flower, is race of water,
Is earth’s most multiple, excited daughter;
And those she has least use for see her best,
Their visions mountain-clear, their needs immodest.


Spring

Spring

The Trees

by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.


Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins is a former Poet Laureate of the United States. He is a Professor of English at Lehman College in New York.

The poem below is an excerpt from his new book, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems.

Today

by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

"the cool brick paths"

"the cool brick paths"

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden sprouting tulips

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.


Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. Her poem, Spring Azures, is an excerpt from her book New and Selected Poems, Volume One.

Spring Azures

by Mary Oliver

In spring the blue azures bow down
at the edges of shallow puddles
to drink the black rainwater.
Then they rise and float away into the fields.

Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy,
and all the tricks my body knows—
the opposable thumbs, the kneecaps,
and the mind clicking and clicking—

don't seem enough to carry me through this world
and I think: how I would like

Blue Bird

Blue Bird

to have wings—
blue ones—
ribbons of flame.

How I would like to open them, and rise
from the black rain water.

And then I think of Blake1, in the dirt and sweat of London—a boy
staring through the window, when God came
fluttering up.

Of course, he screamed,
seeing the bobbin of God's blue body
leaning on the sill,
and the thousand-faceted eyes.

Well, who knows.
Who knows what hung, fluttering, at the window
between him and the darkness.

Anyway, Blake the hosier’s son stood up
and turned away from the sooty sill and the dark city—
turned away forever
from the factories, the personal strivings,

to a life of the imagination.

1This is a reference to poet William Blake who experienced visions beginning in early childhood.


Blue Bird

Blue Bird

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

by Mary Oliver

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky— all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then— open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.


Black Bear in Spring Flowers

Black Bear in Spring Flowers

A Black Bear:  "...staring down the mountain..."

A Black Bear: "...staring down the mountain..."

Spring (by Oliver)

by Mary Oliver

Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.


Morning in a Pine Forest

Morning in a Pine Forest

James Arlington Wright

James Arlington Wright (1927 – 1980) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1972 and was a recipient of a Rockefeller grant.

The poem below is an excerpt from his complete works, highlighted to the right.


March

by James Wright

A bear under the snow,
Turns over to yawn.
It's been a long, hard rest.

Once, as she lay asleep, her cubs fell
Out of her hair,
And she did not know them.

It's hard to breathe
In a tight grave:

So she roars,
And the roof breaks.
Dark rivers and leaves
Pour down.

When the wind opens its doors
In its own good time,
The cubs follow that relaxed and beautiful woman
Outside to the unfamiliar cities
Of moss.


John Koethe

John Koethe

John Koethe

John Koethe is a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. He is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

His poem below was the title poem of his collection published in 1984 by the University of Wisconsin Press. The poem is included in his new volume, North Point North: New and Selected Poems.


The Late Wisconsin Spring

by John Koethe

Snow melts into the earth and a gentle breeze
Loosens the damp gum wrappers, the stale leaves
Left over from autumn, and the dead brown grass.
The sky shakes itself out. And the invisible birds
Winter put away somewhere return, the air relaxes,
People start to circulate again in twos and threes.
The dominant feelings are the blue sky, and the year.
—Memories of other seasons and the billowing wind;
The light gradually altering from difficult to clear
As a page melts and a photograph develops in the backyard.
When some men came to tear down the garage across the way
The light was still clear, but the salt intoxication
Was already dissipating into the atmosphere of constant day
April brings, between the isolation and the flowers.
Now the clouds are lighter, the branches are frosted green,
And suddenly the season that had seemed so tentative before
Becomes immediate, so clear the heart breaks and the vibrant
Air is laced with crystal wires leading back from hell.
Only the distraction, and the exaggerated sense of care
Here at the heart of spring—all year long these feelings
Alternately wither and bloom, while a dense abstraction
Hides them. But now the mental dance of solitude resumes,
And life seems smaller, placed against the background
Of this story with the empty, moral quality of an expansive
Gesture made up out of trees and clouds and air.

The loneliness comes and goes, but the blue holds,
Permeating the early leaves that flutter in the sunlight
As the air dances up and down the street. Some kids yell.
A white dog rolls over on the grass and barks once. And
Although the incidents vary and the principal figures change,
Once established, the essential tone and character of a season
Stays inwardly the same day after day, like a person’s.
The clouds are frantic. Shadows sweep across the lawn
And up the side of the house. A dappled sky, a mild blue
Watercolor light that floats the tense particulars away
As the distraction starts. Spring here is at first so wary,
And then so spare that even the birds act like strangers,
Trying out the strange air with a hesitant chirp or two,
And then subsiding. But the season intensifies by degrees,
Imperceptibly, while the colors deepen out of memory,
The flowers bloom and the thick leaves gleam in the sunlight
Of another city, in a past which has almost faded into heaven.
And even though memory always gives back so much more of
What was there than the mind initially thought it could hold,
Where will the separation and the ache between the isolated
Moments go when summer comes and turns this all into a garden?
Spring here is too subdued: the air is clear with anticipation,
But its real strength lies in the quiet tension of isolation
And living patiently, without atonement or regret,
In the eternity of the plain moments, the nest of care
—Until suddenly, all alone, the mind is lifted upward into
Light and air and the nothingness of the sky,
Held there in that vacant, circumstantial blue until,
In the vehemence of a landscape where all the colors disappear,
The quiet absolution of the spirit quickens into fact,
And then, into death. But the wind is cool.
The buds are starting to open on the trees.
Somewhere up in the sky an airplane drones.


E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings (1894 – 1962) was an American poet and author. During his lifetime he was a favorite poet, second only to Robert Frost in popularity.

He wrote thousands of poems which are now collected in a single book, featured at the right. The collection contains all of Cummings' published poetry as well as 164 unpublished poems. The spring poem below is an excerpt from this volume.


Almond Tree in Bloom

Almond Tree in Bloom

Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand

by E. E. Cummings

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.


Lawrence Raab

Lawrence Raab

Lawrence Raab

Lawrence Raab is an American playwright and poet. He is a professor at Williams College.

He received the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine and the Academy of American Poets’ Prize.


Cold Spring

by Lawrence Raab

The last few gray sheets of snow are gone,
winter’s scraps and leavings lowered
to a common level. A sudden jolt
of weather pushed us outside, and now
this larger world once again belongs to us.
I stand at the edge of it, beside the house,
listening to the stream we haven’t heard
since fall, and I imagine one day thinking
back to this hour and blaming myself
for my worries, my foolishness, today’s choices
having become the accomplished
facts of change, accepted
or forgotten. The woods are a mangle
of lines, yet delicate, yet precise,
when I take the time to look closely.
If I’m not happy it must be my own fault.
At the edge of the lawn my wife
bends down to uncover a flower, then another.
The first splurge of crocuses.
And for a moment the sweep and shudder
of the wind seems indistinguishable
from the steady furl of water
just beyond her.

Lambing Time

Lambing Time

Ewe with Spring Lamb

Ewe with Spring Lamb

Lambing, Upstate New York

by John Jackson

He wore his bloody birth-sac like old clothes
Out-at-elbows from six month's journeying
Through love's unhaunted darkness. In blinking snows
His first uncertain earth-walk stamped a ring.

Around the ewe who turned into the weather
To make sure his first lesson would be hunger.
Where mountains bent their crests down to the river
Like so many enormous horses, we stopped in wonder.

We were tramping through the paddock, ruining
Winter's last haphazard, perfect drifts.
The truth of how we get here is more amazing,
More improbably than any school-yard myth

So we jumped the ditch, leaving them alone.
Imagine, on spring's cusp, discovering that country,
Fallen from the heaven between your mother's bones,
Still steaming, like a rocket on re-entry.


Spring Planting Landscape

Spring Planting Landscape

Writer Fox

The following is an excerpt from the author's poem, Clearly Chaos, a poem about the seasons.


Spring (by Writer Fox™)

by Writer Fox™

Immigrant season, empty hands
looking for work,
finding promise in pockets of dust,
bringing back the birds,
competitive as pretty sisters
bickering in birdsong, speaking of seeds.
Spring, wetting itself,
wipes muddy feet at the door
then passes through without notice.

spring-poems

Spring Poems by Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874 – 1963) was a master of the spring poem. He is, without a doubt, American's most-loved poet. During his lifetime, he received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Frost is known for his naturalist poems, many of which were written on his farm in New England.

All of the Frost poems about spring on this page are excerpts from the collection at the right. This belongs in your personal library. It will touch your soul.

Spring Trees

Spring Trees

The Woodland Pool

The Woodland Pool

Spring Pools

by Robert Frost

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods---
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.


The Pear Orchard

The Pear Orchard

A Prayer in Spring

by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.


Crocus Rising Through the Snow

Crocus Rising Through the Snow

To the Thawing Wind

by Robert Frost

Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snow-bank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate'er you do to-night,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit's crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o'er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.


Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay.


Blue Butterfly on Yellow Lily

Blue Butterfly on Yellow Lily

Blue-Butterfly Day

by Robert Frost

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.


(The photo is from this collection of butterfly pictures.)

spring-poems

Famous Spring Poems

The famous poems in this section are from familiar poets and are poems most people will remember from their school years.

There is poetry from Millay, Nash, Lawrence, Shakespeare, Whitman, Wordsworth, Shelley, Dickinson, Herrick, Brine, Blake, Stevenson, and Lowell. You are sure to find your favorite spring poem here.

May Afternoon

May Afternoon

Edna St. Vincent Millay in the Spring of 1914

Edna St. Vincent Millay in the Spring of 1914

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950) was an American playwright and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

The photograph of Millay at the right was used as the cover of her collected works of poetry, published in 2010. Her poem, Spring, is an excerpt from this collection.

April in Algonquin Park

April in Algonquin Park

Spring (by Millay)

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.


It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.


The Best of Ogden Nash Poetry

The Best of Ogden Nash Poetry

Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971) published his first poem in 1930 in The New Yorker, where he was employed. The poem was 'Spring Comes to Murray Hill' and was the first of many funny poems about spring which he would write in his lifetime.

The poems below are collected in a new book, edited by his daughters. You can view inside the book from the link below:

Spring Comes to Murray Hill

by Ogden Nash

I sit in an office at 244 Madison Avenue
And say to myself You have a responsible job havenue?
Why then do you fritter away your time on this doggerel?
If you have a sore throat you can cure it by using a good goggeral,
If you have a sore foot you can get it fixed by a chiropodist,
And you can get your original sin removed by St. John the Bopodist,
Why then should this flocculent lassitude be incurable?
Kansas City, Kansas, proves that even Kansas City needn't always be Missourible.
Up up my soul! This inaction is abominable.
Perhaps it is the result of disturbances abdominable.
The pilgrims settled Massachusetts in 1620 when they landed on a stone hummock.
Maybe if they were here now they would settle my stomach.
Oh, if I only had the wings of a bird
I could soar in a jiffy to Second or Third.


Narcissus

Narcissus

Always Marry an April Girl

by Ogden Nash

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true —
I love April, I love you.


Spring Song (by Nash)

by Ogden Nash

Listen, buds, it’s March twenty-first;
Don’t you know enough to burst?
Come on, birds, unlock your throats!
Come on, gardeners, shed your coats!
Come on zephyrs, come on flowers,
Come on grass, and violet showers!
And come on, lambs, in frisking flocks!
Salute the vernal equinox!
Twang the cheerful lute and zither!
Spring is absolutely hither!
Yester eve was dark despair,
With winter, winter, everywhere;
Today, upon the other hand,
“Tis spring throughout this happy land.
Oh, such is Nature’s chiaroscuro,
According to the Weather Bureau.

Then giddy-ap, Napoleon! Giddy-ap, Gideon!
The sun has crossed the right meridian!
What though the blasts of Winter sting?
Officially, at least, it’s Spring,
And be it far from our desire
To make the Weather Man a liar!

So, blossom, ye parks, with cozy benches,
Occupied by blushing wenches!
Pipe, ye frogs, while swains are sighing,
And furnaces unwept are dying!
Crow, ye cocks, a little bit louder!
Mount, ye sales of paint and powder!
Croon, ye crooner, yet more croonishly!
Shine, ye moon, a lot more moonishly!
And oh ye brooklets, burst your channels!
And oh ye camphor, greet ye flannels!
And bloom, ye clothesline, bloom with wash,
Where erstwhile trudged the grim galosh!
Ye transit lines, abet our follies
By turning loose your open trolleys!
And ye, ye waking hibernators,
Drain anti-freeze from your radiators!
While ye, ye otherwise useless dove,
Remember, please, to rhyme with love.

Then giddy-ap, Napoleon! Giddy-ap, Gideon!
The sun has crossed the right meridian!
What though the blasts of Winter sting?
Officially, at least, it’s Spring!


D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) was an English novelist and poet. After controversies surrounding his novels (such as Lady Chatterley's Lover) and his political beliefs, he left England and lived in the United States, Mexico and France.


The Enkindled Spring

by D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930)

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.
And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.


William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) is considered the best English-language poet and he is certainly the most famous. Even his plays were written as poetry with poetic meter and measured poetic feet (iambic pentameter).

His plays and sonnets contain some of the world's most quoted lines.


Two Lovers Lying in a Cornfield

Two Lovers Lying in a Cornfield

It Was a Lover and His Lass

from As You Like It, Act 5 Scene 3, by William Shakespeare


It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green cornfield did pass,
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
Those pretty country folks would lie,
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
And therefore take the present time,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownèd with the prime
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.


Sonnet 98

by William Shakespeare

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight
Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.


Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) was an American poet who popularized the free-verse movement in American poetry. He was primarily a journalist and typesetter. Unable to write in established poetic forms, he more or less invented free verse as a method of collecting random thoughts that had no outlet in journalism. He published his first volume of free verse, Leaves of Grass, anonymously and paid for the first print-run from his own pocket.

Barely 100 years old, the free-verse movement owes its flourishing to this man – much to the gratitude of university professors who must produce under the 'publish-or-perish' theory of tenure and do not possess the talent to write classical poetry, having neither the soul for rhyme nor the heartbeat for meter.


Fishing in the Spring

Fishing in the Spring

By Broad Potomac's Shore

By Walt Whitman

By broad Potomac's shore, again old tongue,
(Still uttering, still ejaculating, canst never cease this babble?)
Again old heart so gay, again to you, your sense, the full flush
spring returning,
Again the freshness and the odors, again Virginia's summer sky,
pellucid blue and silver,
Again the forenoon purple of the hills,
Again the deathless grass, so noiseless soft and green,
Again the blood-red roses blooming.

Perfume this book of mine O blood-red roses!
Lave subtly with your waters every line Potomac!
Give me of you O spring, before I close, to put between its pages!
O forenoon purple of the hills, before I close, of you!
O deathless grass, of you!


William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) was a British poet noted for his lyrical poetry. His poem The Daffodils is one of his most widely known.

He wrote the poem in 1804 after discovering a field of wild daffodils while on a walk with his sister near Ullswater Lake. It was first published in 1807.

Daffodils in South East Cornwall

Daffodils in South East Cornwall

The Daffodils

by William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

I wander'd 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 stretch'd 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
Outdid 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.


Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) was one of England's most influential lyric poets. The last line of the poem below is one of the most famous in English literature.


Ode to the West Wind V

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) is a beloved American poet who lived most of her life as a recluse on the family estate in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her family was unaware of the vast number of poems she was writing and hundreds of them were discovered after her death by her sister.

Almost all of her poetry was published posthumously.


A Little Madness in the Spring

by Emily Dickinson

Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown --
Who ponders this tremendous scene --
This whole Experiment of Green --
As if it were his own!


Lilac in the Park

Lilac in the Park

A Light Exists in Spring

by Emily Dickinson

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.


Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick (1591–1674) was a prolific poet and thousands of his poems are preserved. He was a professional cleric.


Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

(To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time)

By Robert Herrick
.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
.
The glorious lamp of Heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run.
And nearer he's to setting.
.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.


Peach Tree in Bloom

Peach Tree in Bloom

Mary Dow Brine

Mary Dow Brine (1816 – 1913) was an American poet and novelist.


April

by Mary Dow Brine

Full of moods, and full of pranks,
Who on earth can trust thy face?
Thy promises, however fair,
Thou dost at any time forswear,
Spite of all thine artless grace.
Blue thine eyes, and bright thy face.
What of that? Thou art not true!
Smiles one moment, tears the next;
One day pleased, the other--vexed:
No one knows what thou wilt do.
Oh, we know thee thro' and thro',
Wayward, saucy child of Spring!
Thy very birth makes fools of men.
And all throughout thy careless reign,
Cloud and sunshine dost thou bring.


William Blake

William Blake

William Blake

William Blake (1757 – 1827) was an artist and poet from London, England. He is known for his religious works which often portrayed visions he experienced since childhood.


To Spring

by William Blake

O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!
The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn'd
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!
Come o'er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.
O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish'd head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee.


Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894) was a Scotsman who wrote the well-known novels Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

He was also a poet and generations of children were raised on the poetry in his book of poems, A Child's Garden of Verses, which has been in continuous publication since 1885.


Lovers

Lovers

Spring Song (by Stevenson)

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.

The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.

In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together –
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?


Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925) was an American poet who transitioned from formal verse to free verse, under the influence of more popular contemporary poets. She was also among the first poets to write poetic prose as a form of poetry.

A year after her death, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.


Mount Monadnock (New Hampshire, U.S.)

Mount Monadnock (New Hampshire, U.S.)

Monadnock in Early Spring

by Amy Lowell (1875 – 1925)

Cloud-topped and splendid, dominating all
The little lesser hills which compass thee,
Thou standest, bright with April's buoyancy,
Yet holding Winter in some shaded wall
Of stern, steep rock; and startled by the call
Of Spring, thy trees flush with expectancy
And cast a cloud of crimson, silently,
Above thy snowy crevices where fall
Pale shrivelled oak leaves, while the snow beneath
Melts at their phantom touch. Another year
Is quick with import. Such each year has been.
Unmoved thou watchest all, and all bequeath
Some jewel to thy diadem of power,
Thou pledge of greater majesty unseen.


spring-poems