4 Peaceful Poems to Read This Earth Month
Earth Month serves as a call to action to preserve, protect, and repair our environment. But this month also reminds us that our well-being is inexplicably tied to the earth. Everyone deserves to find healing and restoration in nature. Poetry mirrors this truth, illuminating the tranquility we experience outdoors.
As you celebrate Earth Month this year, find some peace by reading these nature poems.
Mary Oliver, “The Swan” from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
In the world of nature poetry, the prolific Mary Oliver never disappoints. The iconic poet’s poignant observation of the natural world is evident in “The Swan,” which paints a picture of a swan initially swimming in a river, then later flying away. The poem’s rich imagery allows the reader to envision mindfully watching a bird in its habitat. By ending the piece with contemplative questions, Oliver illustrates the innate connection between humans and nature, evoking a sense of wonder and peace.
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
Rupi Kaur, Excerpt from the sun and her flowers
International bestselling modern poet Rupi Kaur is known for her earnest, relatable poems. This piece from Kaur’s collection the sun and her flowers is no different—simple and to the point yet evocative.
Everyday life is often incredibly stressful, and many of us can become consumed with worry. Spending a day outside in the sun might help you find an escape, remain present, or recharge, providing a sense of peace, which this poem conveys.
to worry about
the sun and her flowers are here.
Lang Leav, “Leaves”
Poet and novelist Lang Leav perfectly captures the ethereal quality of spending time in the woods. When we’re able to quiet our minds, we can learn lessons from the landscape around us. Leav personifying leaves illustrates this experience: letting go, which leaves do effortlessly, can help us heal and live more peaceful lives.
Deep in the forest among the trees
I heard the whispering of leaves
They spoke to me of letting go
And taught me all I had to know…
Wilder, Excerpt from Nocturnal
Poet Wilder is known for incorporating nature themes into her work, from celestial bodies to the night sky. In this poem from Nocturnal, Wilder draws inspiration from a cloud’s freedom, illustrating how the uniqueness of a cloud is natural. Similarly, when we embrace what makes us different, we set ourselves free, allowing us to cultivate inner peace.
i haven’t met a cloud
that didn’t touch me—
changing shapes in the wind;
not because we asked
her to be different, but
because the wild showed her
it was okay to be free.
As we enjoy peaceful nature poetry this month, let’s not lose sight of pressing environmental issues—in honor of this important holiday, consider supporting an organization working to create a better world. Happy reading, and happy Earth Month!