Throughout history, poets have written about the beauty of the seasons and our natural world. Today, With nature under global threat, it's important to treasure its wonderful fragile variety. Here we have gathered some of the best nature poems ever written, all of which feature in Macmillan Collector’s Library’s Poems on Nature. ​

 

Spring

 

Spring

Sound the Flute!

Now it’s mute.

Birds delight

Day and Night;

Nightingale

In the dale

Lark in Sky,

Merrily,

Merrily, Merrily, to welcome in the Year.

 

Little Boy,

Full of joy;

Little Girl,

Sweet and small;

Cock does crow,

So do you;

Merry voice,

Infant noise,

Merrily, Merrily, to welcome in the Year.

 

Little Lamb,

Here I am;

Come and lick

My white neck;

Let me pull

Your soft Wool;

Let me kiss

Your soft face:

Merrily, Merrily, we welcome in the Year.

William Blake


 

There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the

   ground,

And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

 

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,

And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

 

Robins will wear their feathery fire,

Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

 

And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last when it is done.

 

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,

If mankind perished utterly;

 

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,

Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Sara Teasdale


 

To Daffodils

Fair daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;

As yet the early-rising sun

Has not attain’d his noon.

Stay, stay,

Until the hasting day

Has run

But to the evensong;

And, having prayed together, we

Will go with you along.

 

We have short time to stay, as you,

We have as short a spring;

As quick a growth to meet decay,

As you, or anything.

We die,

As your hours do, and dry

Away,

Like to the summer’s rain;

Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,

Ne’er to be found again.

Robert Herrick

 

On a Lane in Spring

A little lane – the brook runs close beside,

   And spangles in the sunshine, while the fish

     glide swiftly by;

And hedges leafing with the green springtide;

   From out their greenery the old birds fly,

And chirp and whistle in the morning sun;

   The pilewort glitters ’neath the pale blue sky,

The little robin has its nest begun

    The grass-green linnets round the bushes fly.

How mild the spring comes in! the daisy buds

    Lift up their golden blossoms to the sky.

    How lovely are the pingles and the woods!

    Here a beetle runs – and there a fly

Rests on the arum leaf in bottle-green,

And all the spring in this sweet lane is seen.

John Clare


Summer

 

The Throstle

‘Summer is coming, summer is coming.

   I know it, I know it, I know it.

Light again, leaf again, life again, love again,’

   Yes, my wild little Poet.

 

Sing the new year in under the blue.

    Last year you sang it as gladly.

‘New, new, new, new’! Is it then so new

    That you should carol so madly?

‘Love again, song again, nest again, young again,’

    Never a prophet so crazy!

And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend,

    See, there is hardly a daisy.

 

‘Here again, here, here, here, happy year’!

    O warble unchidden, unbidden!

Summer is coming, is coming, my dear,

    And all the winters are hidden.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Trees

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

 

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

 

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

 

Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer 


To a Butterfly 

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,

Self-poised upon that yellow flower;

And, little Butterfly! Indeed

I know not if you sleep or feed.

How motionless! – not frozen seas

More motionless! And then

What joy awaits you, when the breeze

Hath found you out among the trees,

And calls you forth again!

 

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;

My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers.

Here rest your wings when they are weary;

Here lodge as in a sanctuary!

Come often to us, fear no wrong;

Sit near us on the bough!

We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,

And summer days when we were young;

Sweet childish days, that were as long

As twenty days are now.

William Wordsworth

 

Fly Away, Fly Away Over the Sea

Fly away, fly away over the sea,

     Sun-loving swallow, for summer is done;

Come again, come again, come back to me,

     Bringing the summer and bringing the sun

Christina Rossetti 

 

Autumn

 

Autumn Rain

The plane leaves

fall black and wet

on the lawn;

 

the cloud sheaves

in heaven’s fields set

droop and are drawn

 

in falling seeds of rain;

the seed of heaven

on my face

 

falling – I hear again

like echoes even

that softly pace

 

heaven’s muffled floor,

the winds that tread

out all the grain

 

of tears, the store

harvested

in the sheaves of pain

 

caught up aloft:

the sheaves of dead

men that are slain

 

now winnowed soft

on the floor of heaven;

manna invisible

 

of all the pain

here to us given;

finely divisible

falling as rain.

D. H. Lawrence 

 

Autumn Fires 

In the other gardens

     And all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

     See the smoke trail!

 

Pleasant summer over

     And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

     The grey smoke towers.

 

Sing a song of seasons!

     Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

     Fires in the fall!

Robert Louis Stevenson 

 

Digging

Today I think

Only with scents, – scents dead leaves yield,

And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,

And the square mustard field;

 

Odours that rise

When the spade wounds the roots of tree,

Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,

Rhubarb or celery;

 

The smoke’s smell, too,

Flowing from where a bonfire burns

The dead, the waste, the dangerous,

And all to sweetness turns.

 

It is enough

To smell, to crumble the dark earth,

While the robin sings over again

Sad songs of Autumn mirth.
Edward Thomas

 

Autumn Birds

The wild duck startles like a sudden thought,

And heron slows as if it might be caught;

The flopping crows on weary wings go by,

And greybeard jackdaws, noising as they fly;

The crowds of starlings whizz and hurry by

And darken like a cloud the evening sky;

The larks like thunder rise and suther round

Then drop and nest in the stubble ground;

The wild swan hurries high and noises loud,

With white neck peering to the evening cloud.

The weary rooks to distant woods are gone;

With length of tail the magpie winnows on

To neighbouring tree, and leaves the distant crow,

While small birds nestle in the hedge below.

John Clare

 

Winter 

 

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast

Sat upon a tree,

He sang merrily,

As merrily as could be.

He nodded with his head,

And his tail waggled he,

As little Robin Redbreast

Sat upon a tree.

Anon

 

Spellbound

The night is darkening round me,

The wild winds coldly blow;

But a tyrant spell has bound me

And I cannot, cannot go.

 

The giant trees are bending

Their bare boughs weighed with snow.

And the storm is fast descending,

And yet I cannot go.

 

Clouds beyond clouds above me,

Wastes beyond wastes below;

But nothing drear can move me;

I will not, cannot go.

Emily Brontë

 

Up in the Morning Early

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,

   The drift is driving sairly;

Sae loud and shrill’s I hear the blast,

   I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

 

CHORUS : Up in the morning’s no for me,

   Up in the morning early;

When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,

   I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

 

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,

   A’ day they fare but sparely;

And lang’s the night frae e’en to morn,

   I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

 

CHORUS: Up in the morning’s no for me,

   Up in the morning early;

When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,

   I’m sure it’s winter fairly

Robert Burns

 

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate

   When Frost was spectre-grey,

And Winter’s dregs made desolate

   The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky

   Like strings of broken lyres,

And all mankind that haunted nigh

   Had sought their household fires.

 

The land’s sharp features seemed to be

   The Century’s corpse outleant,

His crypt the cloudy canopy,

   The wind his death-lament.

The ancient pulse of germ and birth

   Was shrunken hard and dry,

And every spirit upon earth

   Seemed fervourless as I.

 

At once a voice arose among

   The bleak twigs overhead

In a full-hearted evensong

   Of joy illimited;

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,

   In blast-beruffled plume,

Had chosen thus to fling his soul

   Upon the growing gloom.

Thomas Hardy