Poetry Through the Seasons: 3 Timeless Summer-Themed Poems
In poetry, seasons often serve as storytelling backdrops for narratives, themes, and rich imagery. We all associate winter, spring, summer, and fall with specific emotions and experiences, making these periods of time go-to sources for poetic inspiration. This summer, find a connection to nature with these three timeless summer poems.
“The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver
Prolific and beloved nature poet Mary Oliver captures the sunny season’s sense of wonder in “The Summer Day” by exploring the natural world’s spirituality. When Oliver starts her poem with “Who made the world? / Who made the swan, and the black bear? / Who made the grasshopper?”, she expertly communicates summer’s abundance of visible life.
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
“My Garden — like the Beach” by Emily Dickinson
In “My Garden — like the Beach,” Emily Dickinson makes the link between natural signs of the season and internal, personal changes experienced as spring transitions to summer. She compares her garden to the beach, two quintessential summer landscapes. By ending this brief but poignant poem with “She fetches—such as Me”, Dickinson connects herself to these natural spaces.
My Garden—like the Beach—
Denotes there be—a Sea—
Such as These—the Pearls
She fetches—such as Me
“‘Tis moonlight, summer moonlight” by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë creates a beautiful summer’s night scene in “‘Tis moonlight, summer moonlight.” Using vivid imagery, Brontë allows readers to visualize moonlight among trees, perhaps imagining they themselves are the subject laid on the grassy ground.
‘Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,
But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or stooping low are lending
A shelter from the sky.
And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.