We’re pretty much over winter at this point. It’s been a rough one. Bitterly cold, stealing our precious, precious heat with negative billion wind chill (idk exact numbers, that’s what it feels like), slicking the sidewalks with ice, bringing a Polar Vortex no one even invited.
Enough of that.
Let’s look forward to what’s coming. Spring is around the corner and bringing with it soft rains, blooming flowers, jacket weather, and the smell of growing things. Let this spring also be about hope, personal growth, new beginnings, and all manner of euphemisms that describe what spring means to us besides the earth thawing and Persephone returning from the underworld . And we can start it all off on a bookish note.
Here are some spring poems to brighten your day.
Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand by E.E. Cummings
Spring is like a perhaps hand
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
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
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.
Spring Poem for the Sake of Breathing by James Masao Mitsui
The sky wants the water to turn grey,
but if I notice how waves
play with the clumps of yellow flags,
or the way turtles share logs,
or even try to understand a friend’s decision
to walk onto a glacier
and end her life—I will be ready
for any poems that have been waiting.
The horizon opens as I walk,
escorted by swans and Canada geese.
I need to stop backpedaling into the present.
In my old life people would straighten
the truth, but the river
flows in curves.
The names of my father and my mother
rest next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery.
The distance between me and the mountains
measures an uneven thought: I feel like an orphan.
An early moon is just a piece of change
in the softening sky.
Light is such an actress. Time to seek
Hopper’s wish to simply paint sunlight
on the wooden wall of a house. I am growing
older. Maru in Japanese means
will make it back home.
The spring haze.
The scent already in the air.
The moon and ume.
“Thanks for all”
Expressing my gratitude to blossoms
At the parting.
Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limón
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
I Have This Way of Being by Jamaal May
I have this, and this isn’t a mouth
full of the names of odd flowers
I’ve grown in secret.
I know none of these by name
but have this garden now,
and pastel somethings bloom
near the others and others.
I have this trowel, these overalls,
this ridiculous hat now.
This isn’t a lung full of air.
Not a fist full of weeds that rise
yellow then white then windswept.
This is little more than a way
to kneel and fill gloves with sweat,
so that the trowel in my hand
will have something to push against,
rather, something to push
against that it knows will bend
and give and return as sprout
and petal and sepal and bloom.
Come to Me Here from Crete by Sappho
Come to me here from Crete,
To this holy temple, where
Your lovely apple grove stands,
And your altars that flicker
And below the apple branches, cold
Clear water sounds, everything shadowed
By roses, and sleep that falls from
Bright shaking leaves.
And a pasture for horses blossoms
With the flowers of spring, and breezes
Are flowing here like honey:
Come to me here,
Here, Cyprian, delicately taking
Nectar in golden cups
Mixed with a festive joy,
Two Sewing by Hazel Hall
The Wind is sewing with needles of rain.
With shining needles of rain
It stitches into the thin
Cloth of earth. In,
In, in, in.
Oh, the wind has often sewed with me.
One, two, three.
Spring must have fine things
To wear like other springs.
Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. One and two and three.
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting colour from the ground;
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear.
The wind must sew with needles of rain,
With shining needles of rain,
Stitching into the thin
Cloth of earth, in,
In, in, in,
For all the springs of futurity.
One, two, three.
Gather by Rose McLarney
Some springs, apples bloom too soon.
The trees have grown here for a hundred years, and are still quick
to trust that the frost has finished. Some springs,
pink petals turn black. Those summers, the orchards are empty
and quiet. No reason for the bees to come.
Other summers, red apples beat hearty in the trees, golden apples
glow in sheer skin. Their weight breaks branches,
the ground rolls with apples, and you fall in fruit.
You could say, I have been foolish. You could say, I have been fooled.
You could say, Some years, there are apples.
And if spring and all its optimism is really not your thing, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s got you, and you can check out our summer and winter versions if you want to look back or even further ahead in the seasons. What are your favorite spring poems?