Today is the first day of spring! After a long winter, I’m always filled with wonder when the earth turns green again. The first bright purple crocuses push up from the ground, and the daffodils dance in the warm breeze. Birds sing again louder than ever, and the frogs scream in the ponds. Sunshine melts the frozen world and life is renewed.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a hopeless literature-obsessed romantic, but every spring I try once again to capture feelings into words in poetry. Of course, I’m not the only one to “wax poetic” in the springtime. Here are some spring-inspired poems from my favorite poets. And if you have the patience to stick with me, I’ve added one of my own at the end. Happy first day of spring!
“812” 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 Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
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.
“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.
“Three Spring Notations on Bipeds” 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.”
White pigeons rush at the sun,
A marathon of wing feats is on:
“Who most loves danger? Who most loves wings? Who somersaults for God’s sake in the name of wing power in the sun and blue on an April Thursday.”
So ten winged heads, ten winged feet, race their white forms over Elmhurst.
They go fast: once the ten together were a feather of foam bubble, a chrysanthemum whirl speaking to silver and azure.
The child is on my shoulders.
In the prairie moonlight the child’s legs hang over my shoulders.
She sits on my neck and I hear her calling me a good horse.
She slides down—and into the moon silver of a prairie stream
She throws a stone and laughs at the clug-clug.
“The Enkindled Spring” by D.H. Lawrence
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.
“Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
“Storm Silencer” by Meagan Gunn
Nerves are buzzing and zinging from the sudden awakening.
Rumbling is the echo left over from thunder’s explosion.
My eyes blink rapidly in the darkest blackness that comes
Rain is pounding holes in the ground outside my window. If I focus
I can smell the sopping wet mud. It wrinkles my nose.
Noises roar louder and the rain tries to outdo the thunder, but I
hear one small voice.
Alone but unafraid.
Three high notes ring out from a tree and put the chaos to shame because
those three notes are pure and true and will always
be heard above darkness and fear.
Do you have any favorite springtime poems?