As National Poetry Month ends, one can’t help but reflect on the way that poets have always turned to the earth to figure out their internal world. Nature has always been there to remind us of the vastness of our tiny human selves when it is in tune with the expanding universe. Swaying blades of grass in congress with the wind reminds us that we too play to a rhythm that is beyond our control—the ticking and thumping and melodic sounds of all of us, all of the universe together: nature.
I’d like to say goodbye to National Poetry Month (April) by never forgetting that William Blake once saw the universe in a grain of sand.
From the metaphorical to the literal, nature makes its way into poetry in a multitude of ways. The scent of the flower in spring can transport us to someone we used to be, and that can activate delights and pains that we’d buried through the heavy fogs of time. The power of the poem is tied to the power of the earth: giving and receiving beauty.
There have, of course, been numerous movements in poetry that are religiously dedicated to nature. From the transcendentalists to the naturalists, Nature and her splendor don’t go unnoticed by writers or any sort.
So, we wanted to end National Poetry Month with some of moving poems about nature. Whether we experience the peace of daffodils like Wordsworth, or the find ourselves enthralled in the labor of cutting and eating collards and kale like Clifton, we are in it and it is in us. Poetry lets us throw a mirror to the world to find that we are not alone, and not just with each other, but with a billion beautiful others like the sky, the collards and the trees.
William Blake: Auguries of Innocence
Here is a musical version of the great poem’s famous first lines by artist Laura Perrudin:
William Wordsworth: The Daffodils
Here’s a wonderful version of the poem by actor Jeremy Irons:
E.E. Cummings: Spring is like a Perhaps Hand
Here’s a beautifully read version:
Lucille Clifton: Cutting the Greens
Emily Dickinson: Dear March, Come In…
Listen to this wonderful piano version:
You can read more wonderful poems about nature here.