Spring Poems I Oxford Open Learning


    Spring Poems

    Spring has sprung! Let’s get into the spirit of the season by highlighting some of the nation’s favourite springtime poems.

    Spring – by Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 89) is most known for his sonnets ‘The Windhover’ and ‘God’s Grandeur’ but this springtime poem perfectly encapsulates the beauty of nature in spring as he compares it to the Garden of Eden.

    Sonnet 98 – William Shakespeare

    Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) wrote 154 sonnets, with this one explaining his disappointment at not being able to appreciate the beauty of spring because his beloved is absent. Shakespeare’s depiction of spring in this sonnet was described by Lord Tennyson as “bittersweet”.

    Lines Written in Early Spring – William Wordsworth

    Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) was one of the most important figures in English literature, his work launching the Romantic period. In this poem, he describes his enjoyment of the season, though it is tinged with a hint of inner sadness.

    Spring – Christina Rossetti

    Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) is perhaps most well-known for writing the words to the popular Christmas carol, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’. In her poem ‘Spring’ she celebrates the new life that comes into being during the season.

    The Trees – Philip Larkin

    Written towards the end of Larkin’s (1922 – 1985) career as a writer, ‘The Trees’ describes the cycle of the seasons, explaining that whilst spring brings rebirth, it is also a reminder of death.

    Young Lambs – John Clare

    The son of a farm labourer, John Clare (1793 – 1864) wrote much about rural England and despaired at the destruction of nature. ‘Young Lambs’ is one example of this, in which Clare creates a picture of the countryside in the springtime using simple yet evocative language.

    Today – Billy Collins

    In this poem, American poet Billy Collins (born 1941) explains how the spring makes him feel and invites the reader to join him in celebrating the uplifting mood that a glorious spring day inspires.

    Loveliest of trees, the cherry now – A. E. Housman

    Alfred Edward Housman (1859 – 1936) puts himself into the shoes of a twenty-year-old in this poem as he reflects on the years gone by and the twenty springs that have come and gone during his lifetime so far. The poem is a rather melancholy one for this time of year as the young man also contemplates how he will probably see fifty more springs before his death.

    O were my Love yon Lilac fair – Robert Burns

    Scotland’s most famous poet Robert, or Rabbie, Burns (1759 – 1796) wrote this springtime poem as an expression of his love for his beloved. In the poem, Burns imagines himself as a little bird cocooned amidst the petals of a lilac (his lover).

    The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

    ‘The Canterbury Tales’ is Chaucer’s (c.1340s – 1400) most well-known work, in which a group of pilgrims tell each other stories during their journey to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury. The prologue to the work presents a cheery and uplifting description of April.

    See more by