(Our friends from Australia and elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere will probably prefer to celebrate the March equinox with our collection of autumn poetry on Lit2Go.)
The rich sensory descriptions in poetry offer an additional avenue to understanding seasonal change. I’ve selected eight spring poems from our Lit2Go audiobook collection. Click on the title of any of the poems below to jump to the appropriate page on Lit2Go. Each poem page includes the text and an MP3 audio file. Use the audio files with the whole class, in listening centers, or you can even send Lit2Go audio files home with students on an MP3 capable device. Most of the linked poems also include a PDF of the poem formatted for printing and a suggested activity using the poem. Use the PDFs as handouts or on bulletin boards.
For a dozen or so additional ideas on using these poems, see the post How To Use Lit2Go Audiobooks in Your Classroom.
When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.
I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.
From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
The drooping tree revives.
The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.
When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.
And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o’er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.
Inverted in the tide
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.
Sweet April! many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life’s golden fruit is shed.
A blue–bell springs upon the ledge,
A lark sits singing in the hedge;
Sweet perfumes scent the balmy air,
And life is brimming everywhere.
What lark and breeze and bluebird sing,
Is Spring, Spring, Spring!
No more the air is sharp and cold;
The planter wends across the wold,
And, glad, beneath the shining sky
We wander forth, my love and I.
And ever in our hearts doth ring
This song of Spring, Spring!
For life is life and love is love,
‘Twixt maid and man or dove and dove.
Life may be short, life may be long,
But love will come, and to its song
Shall this refrain for ever cling
Of Spring, Spring, Spring!
Birds all the sunny day
Flutter and quarrel
Here in the arbour-like
Tent of the laurel.
Here in the fork
The brown nest is seated;
Four little blue eggs
The mother keeps heated.
While we stand watching her
Staring like gabies,
Safe in each egg are the
Bird’s little babies.
Soon the frail eggs they shall
Chip, and upspringing
Make all the April woods
Merry with singing.
Younger than we are,
O children, and frailer,
Soon in the blue air they’ll be,
Singer and sailor.
We, so much older,
Taller and stronger,
We shall look down on the
Birdies no longer.
They shall go flying
With musical speeches
High overhead in the
Tops of the beeches.
In spite of our wisdom
And sensible talking,
We on our feet must go
Plodding and walking.
Sweetest of the flowers a–blooming
In the fragrant vernal days
Is the Lily of the Valley
With its soft, retiring ways.
Well, you chose this humble blossom
As the nurse’s emblem flower,
Who grows more like her ideal
Every day and every hour.
Like the Lily of the Valley
In her honesty and worth,
Ah, she blooms in truth and virtue
In the quiet nooks of earth.
Tho’ she stands erect in honor
When the heart of mankind bleeds,
Still she hides her own deserving
In the beauty of her deeds.
In the silence of the darkness
Where no eye may see and know,
There her footsteps shod with mercy,
And fleet kindness come and go.
Not amid the sounds of plaudits,
Nor before the garish day,
Does she shed her soul’s sweet perfume,
Does she take her gentle way.
But alike her ideal flower,
With its honey–laden breath,
Still her heart blooms forth its beauty
In the valley shades of death.
To be born in the sweet tropic spring-time
When honey-steeped breezes sing low;
When birds in the oranges mating
‘Midst their bridal-wreath swing to-and-fro;
When even the pine-boughs, each breathing low cheer,
Lover-like bow to the jessamine near,
And always—cool voicing from palm-choired ocean
Echo dreamings ‘tis gladness to know.
Oh! To be born in this sweet southern spring-time
Is to be heir of its joy; the child of its play;
Is to throb to the tune of the sweet-pulsing music
Unloosed from the harp of a South-loving Fay;
Is to feel the deep bond of this sensuous Beauty,
The sweet-yielding secrets of tropical May.
Oh, wind of the spring–time, oh, free wind of May,
When blossoms and bird–song are rife;
Oh, joy for the season, and joy for the day,
That gave me the roses of life, of life,
That gave me the roses of life.
Oh, wind of the summer, sing loud in the night,
When flutters my heart like a dove;
One came from thy kingdom, thy realm of delight,
And gave me the roses of love, of love,
And gave me the roses of love.
Oh, wind of the winter, sigh low in thy grief,
I hear thy compassionate breath;
I wither, I fall, like the autumn–kissed leaf,
He gave me the roses of death, of death,
He gave me the roses of death.
In the merry month of May
When green leaves begin to spring,
Little lambs do skip like fairies,
Birds do couple, build, and sing.
An altered look about the hills;
A Tyrian light the village fills;
A wider sunrise in the dawn;
A deeper twilight on the lawn;
A print of a vermilion foot;
A purple finger on the slope;
A flippant fly upon the pane;
A spider at his trade again;
An added strut in chanticleer;
A flower expected everywhere;
An axe shrill singing in the woods;
Fern-odors on untravelled roads, —
All this, and more I cannot tell,
A furtive look you know as well,
And Nicodemus’ mystery
Receives its annual reply.
Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh. Questions about this post or suggestions for a future topic? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To ensure that your email is not blocked, please do not change the subject line. Thank you!
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