Spring has finally sprung (at least a little), and with it comes all the things we started to forget with the seemingly endless chilly days. Grass is turning greener, flowers are slowly sprouting, and the world feels alive again instead of sleepy and grey. What better way is there to celebrate the sentiments of spring than with poems that capture some of these feelings? Besides getting out and enjoying the fresh air, I can’t think of much. These five poems are some of my favorites to remind me of this wistful season.
1. Robert Duncan, “Often I am permitted to return to a meadow”
as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,
that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein
that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.
Wherefrom fall all architectures I am
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady.
She it is Queen Under The Hill
whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words
that is a field folded.
It is only a dream of the grass blowing
east against the source of the sun
in an hour before the sun’s going down
whose secret we see in a children’s game
of ring a round of roses told.
Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,
that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.
I love poems that might be about poetry, and this one grows on me more each time I read it. And any time I read lines about meadows or grass blowing in the sun, I instantly feel a cool spring breeze.
2. e.e. cummings, “95/ if up’s the word”
I’ll be honest, e.e. cummings’ poems make me scratch my head a little, but I love them because they are what they are and you will take from them whatever you choose. I latch onto the world that’s growing greener day by day, the bright blue skies, and a little bit of love.
3. Christian Bok, “Crystals”
A crystal makes a lense through which a Cubist
painter might see the world as it really is.
A crystal photographs springwater
as if it splashes into natural glass
so frigid that no furnaces can
melt it, or so thinks the Sophist
who decides to drink from alpine
creeks where he mistakes a flint
of quartz for ice, only to admire
that it does not chill his touch
But despite his warmth defies him.
A crystal is the flashpoint of a dream intense
enough to purge the eye of its infection, sight.
A chance fragment of unblemished quartz
polished in a riverbed by a flowing mixture
of sand and rain may have let Neanderthals
study shadows cast by craters on the moon.
A yardstick inserted into an aquarium
bends in conformity with a localized
curvature of space; however, educated
observers, their senses easily deceived
by evidence of sensory deception, call
this phenomenon an optical illusion.
A word (like love) has a high refractive index.
This poem is not your traditional poem, but I love it all the same. Crystals are such a pure and vivid form of nature that I couldn’t leave one of these poems off this list. There are plenty of other images that invoke spring, but for me it’s the science paired with nature that places this piece on this list.
4. Robert Frost, “Spring Pools”
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.
Robert Frost has a poem for every season (and probably every feeling too). This one makes me want to take a walk outside or stumble upon an enchanted forest and then never leave. It also reminds me of the Midwest’s temperamental weather, since snow could literally have melted the day before spring pops up (and it has in many cases).
5. Billy Collins, “Today”
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,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
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.
This poem sums itself up—it is a perfectly packaged spring day that I want to jump into and live in for the next two months. The language is simple, clean, and easy to latch on to, but leaves plenty for the imagination. Even non-poetry lovers can enjoy the sentiments in this one.
Do you have a favorite spring poem? Share it with us @litdarling!