35 Breathtaking Poems About Nature That Reveal the Beauty of Our World
The world is filled with magic just waiting to be discovered. Start exploring with these mesmerizing poems about nature.
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Nature poems that honor the earth
Poetry, the magical act of putting words together in a way that moves one’s soul, has been one of the pillars of literature since the dawn of time and has occupied itself with limitless topics, some more recurring than others. You’ll find love poems, funny poems, poems for kids and more, all available as short poems for bite-size reading or in poetry books you can really sink your teeth into. When it comes to poems about nature, there are no shortages of beautiful lines and stanzas to sate your passion and love for Mother Earth.
Nature has always entranced the human race, and whose job is it to put that into words other than the poets? From Hesiod to John Milton, James Thomson to Alexander Pope, the greats of this art form have written their fair share of nature poems, and for good reason. Poems about nature often evoke feelings of tranquility and peace, belonging and humility, love and warmth. They’re often more relatable than, say, poems about love and loss.
We spend all our lives passing by and living in nature, but we rarely take the time to appreciate its beauty, let alone put it into words. That is why poems about nature are important for everybody to read: They’re a beautiful and gentle reminder of the things we take for granted. Whether you’re a poetry aficionado or just starting out with the medium, you can get lost in poems about nature that provide solace in a world that could desperately use more green.
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1. “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
While modern readers might automatically think of funny roses-are-red poems when considering rose symbolism in poetry, there’s a world of poems about roses, and this one is a beautiful ode to both nature and love. This classic poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns is one of the finest poems about nature ever written, using the symbolism of red flowers blooming, the tides of the seas and other natural phenomena to display passion for nature and his lover.
2. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
William Wordsworth was a pillar of English literature and poetry, one of the founders of the Romantic movement and, as the Poetry Foundation notes, “one of its most central figures and important intellects.” He was known for his love of nature, and it beautifully shows in all the nature poems he wrote. This one is a prime example of his writing style, showcasing his intricate symbolism—he uses clouds, stars and waves to tell a story of solitude and reflection. It leaves the reader with both wonder and inspiration, which you’ll also get from moving nature quotes.
3. “On the Grasshopper and Cricket” by John Keats
The Poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.
“On the Grasshopper and Cricket” is a beautiful poem by one of the greats of English poetry, John Keats, who tragically died at the age of 25—but not before giving the world many poems about nature that remain to this day some of the crowning achievements of the Romantic movement. This poem in particular paints a peaceful image of nature and its inhabitants living in harmony and granting its admirers the tranquility they long for. Indeed, nature has many wonders to unveil, including some natural wonders you may not have heard of.
4. “The Call of the Wild” by Alexander Posey
I’m tired of the gloom
In a four-walled room;
Heart-weary, I sigh
For the open sky,
And the solitude
Of the greening wood;
Where the bluebirds call,
And the sunbeams fall,
And the daisies lure
The soul to be pure.
I’m tired of the life
In the ways of strife;
Heart-weary, I long
For the river’s song,
And the murmur of rills
In the breezy hills;
Where the pipe of Pan—
The hairy half-man—
The bright silence breaks
By the sleeping lakes.
Alexander Posey, a noted Muskogee Creek poet, journalist and humorist who lived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, puts into words the relatable feeling of being cooped up inside and longing for nature and wide-open spaces. If your home library is sorely lacking in Native American books, pick up a collection of Posey’s poetry and get lost in wonderful descriptions of the natural world.
5. “A Bird, came down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson
A Bird, came down the Walk –
He did not know I saw –
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass –
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass –
He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad –
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head. –
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home –
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.
Emily Dickinson, who lived a secluded life and “commanded a singular brilliance of style” (as Britannica puts it), wasn’t well known during her lifetime but became one of the most important figures of American poetry after her death. She had no shortage of amazing nature poems, and this one uses the figure of a bird to describe many feelings we all experience in our lives, like loneliness and uncertainty. If you want to read young contemporary female poets, check out the work of Amanda Gorman and Whitney Hanson.
6. “To a Marsh Hawk in Spring” by Henry David Thoreau
There is health in thy gray wing,
Health of nature’s furnishing.
Say, thou modern-winged antique,
Was thy mistress ever sick?
In each heaving of thy wing
Thou dost health and leisure bring,
Thou dost waive disease and pain
And resume new life again.
Henry David Thoreau, perhaps best known for his book Walden, in which he describes a solitary life, is the embodiment of the nature poet. In this poem in particular, his love and passion for nature are displayed through the association between nature and vitality. For more proof that nature is tied to health, see how you feel after visiting one of these peaceful locations.
7. “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
Walt Whitman is probably one of the first names people think of when the subject of poems about nature comes up—his most famous work is titled Leaves of Grass, after all. Here, the American poet uses the figure of a spider to tell a story of a creature trying to make a connection with the larger world it inhabits. Earth has so much to offer, and both nature poetry and earth-focused quotes help us remember that.
8. “The Sleeper” by Edgar Allan Poe
At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin moulders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!—and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!
Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his dark and morbid short stories, has an impressive body of poetry as well, some of which happen to reflect on nature. “The Sleeper”—excerpted above, and appearing in full in books of Poe’s poetry—is both a nature poem and a love poem for a dead woman, but the love between her and the speaker lives on beyond the grave. The loss of a loved one is a terrible experience, and it can be helpful to read some funeral poems to ease the pain.
9. “Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
Gerard Manley Hopkins is another English poet on our list who got his much-deserved fame posthumously, and the world got to read and experience his many wonderful poems about nature. “Spring” is just as its title suggests: a praise of the season in which nature blooms and blossoms. In spring, nature’s colors really come to life, and you can best appreciate this through the earth’s most colorful natural wonders.
10. “Ode on Solitude” by Alexander Pope
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest, who can unconcernedly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixed; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please,
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Alexander Pope, one of the greatest and most famous poets of all time, wrote “Ode on Solitude” when he was only 12 years old! This precocious work praises people who are self-sufficient or solitary in nature, arguing that they are the happiest because they are independent of people and their opinions. It just goes to show that poetry really is for all ages—even kid-friendly poems like funny limericks will help them get started at a young age.
11. “To a Skylark” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote this poem in 1820 after hearing a skylark’s song in the Italian city of Livorno, and it became a landmark of Romantic poetry. He praises the bird’s singing and contrasts it with human communication, which sounds hollow in comparison. The above is just the start of Shelley’s evocative poem; you’ll find the full version alongside other works by the poet in one of his poetry collections.
12. “Trees at Night” by Helene Johnson
Stretching lacy arms
About a slumbrous moon;
Stencilled on the petal
Of a bluebell;
On a robin’s breast;
The jagged rent
Reflected in a
Stilly sleeping lake;
Of fairy castles;
Torn webs of shadows;
Printed ‘gainst the sky—
The trembling beauty
Of an urgent pine.
One of the youngest poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance and a Black poet you really ought to know, Helene Johnson reveals her mastery of the art through her 1925 poem “Trees at Night.” With an economy of words, she brings to vivid life the vision of a tall tree in the dark of night.
13. “The Flower” by George Herbert
How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
George Herbert, a Welsh poet who was also a clergyman, wrote many poems about nature that had religious themes as well. Take, for instance, the poem excerpted above. It describes how the changing of seasons affects people, their relationship with the world and their relationship with God. You can find the full poem in a collection of his works of poetry.
14. “The Day Is Done” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, another great figure of world poetry, uses nature imagery to make a case for ready poems. In this excerpt, Longfellow opens with a melancholic speaker who likens his sadness to the natural world (darkness falls, a feather wafts downward and the mist is rainlike). But read the full poem (you’ll find it in a book of his poems), and you’ll see the speaker find comfort and peace by reading poetry. Relatable, right? If you need more proof that poetry can provide meaning, look no further than these love poems for men.
15. “The Water-fall” by Henry Vaughan
With what deep murmurs through time’s silent stealth
Doth thy transparent, cool, and wat’ry wealth
Here flowing fall,
And chide, and call,
As if his liquid, loose retinue stay’d
Ling’ring, and were of this steep place afraid;
The common pass
Where, clear as glass,
All must descend
Not to an end,
But quicken’d by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.
Henry Vaughan was a 17th-century poet who belonged to what is known as the metaphysical school, a movement that often blended poetry about nature with religious themes. And indeed, later in his career, Vaughan shifted his focus from secular to more religious themes. “The Water-fall” is a prime example of his work. Excerpted above (and seen in full online), it describes a soul’s journey from life to beyond death with the metaphor (and cadence) of a waterfall and its running streams.
16. “Youth and Art” by Robert Browning
It once might have been, once only:
We lodged in a street together,
You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,
I, a lone she-bird of his feather.
Your trade was with sticks and clay,
You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished,
Then laughed “They will see some day
Smith made, and Gibson demolished.”
My business was song, song, song;
I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered,
“Kate Brown’s on the boards ere long,
And Grisi’s existence embittered!”
I earned no more by a warble
Than you by a sketch in plaster;
You wanted a piece of marble,
I needed a music-master.
Robert Browning, the famous Victorian poet, contributed a vast array of poems to our world, “Youth and Art” being one of his finest. He uses the natural symbolism of two birds communicating through song to tell the heartbreaking story of two artists struggling with their love for each other and the sacrifices it demands. The excerpt above will give you a taste of Browning’s mastery, but for the full, longer poem, pick up a book of his poetry. And since love is best communicated through a poem, browse this list of love poems for her.
17. “The Fish and Shadow” by Ezra Pound
The salmon-trout drifts in the stream,
The soul of the salmon-trout floats over the stream
Like a little wafer of light.
The salmon moves in the sun-shot, bright shallow sea. . . .
As light as the shadow of the fish
that falls through the water,
She came into the large room by the stair,
Yawning a little she came with the sleep still upon her.
“I’m just from bed. The sleep is still in my eyes.
Come. I have had a long dream.”
And I: “That wood?
And two springs have passed us!”
“Not so far—no, not so far now.
There is a place but no one else knows it—
A field in a valley . . .
“qu’ieu sui avinen,
Ieu lo sai.”
She must speak of the time
Of Arnaut de Mareuil, I thought, “qu’ieu sui avinen.”
Light as the shadow of the fish
That falls through the pale green water.
Ezra Pound, an expatriate American poet who was described by Ernest Hemingway as “insane, like all poets,” describes the journey of life through the metaphor of a fish crossing the stream: full of questions and uncertainties but successful in the journey nonetheless.
18. “On a Branch” by Kobayashi Issa
On a branch
Originating in Japan, a three-line poem that traditionally focuses on nature is called a haiku, and we had to include one in our list of poems about nature. There’s no better example than this serene image of river life painted by Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, who lived during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
19. “I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing” by Walt Whitman
I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,
But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without its friend near, for I knew I could not,
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room,
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)
Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,
I know very well I could not.
It should come as no surprise that Walt Whitman appears again on our list—he has so many great poems about nature that it would be almost an offense to include only one. As the title suggests, Whitman is describing a tree’s growth as a metaphor for the choice between solitude and companionship. If this one speaks to you, check out these loneliness quotes.
20. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost, the famous American poet, takes us on a simple yet meaningful journey with this poem, describing a short trip through snowy woods where the speaker would love to stay for a long time to find peace were it not for life’s obligations.
21. “Winter Morning Poem” by Ogden Nash
Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue!
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing.
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.
In “Winter Morning Poem,” American poet Ogden Nash takes something as mundane as snow and finds beauty (and humor) in it. He reminds us not to take nature for granted and asks us to remember the feeling we experience as children of waking up to snow, a feeling that must be preserved in adulthood to retain some sort of magic in life.
22. “Sea-Fever” by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
John Masefield takes us to the ocean with this poem, where the speaker insists that he must return to the high tides to find happiness again, for it can only be found in the freedom and vastness of the seas, seeking adventures and roaming the world. The sea holds many marvels: terrifying creatures, stunning deep-sea sights and wonders yet to be discovered.
23. “The Rain” by W.H. Davies
I hear leaves drinking rain;
I hear rich leaves on top
Giving the poor beneath
Drop after drop;
‘Tis a sweet noise to hear
These green leaves drinking near.
And when the Sun comes out,
After this Rain shall stop,
A wondrous Light will fill
Each dark, round drop;
I hope the Sun shines bright;
‘Twill be a lovely sight.
Elements of nature, like rain, leaves and the sun, come to life in “The Rain” to convey human emotions and qualities, ultimately painting an image of renewal and hope that can be found in the midst of the nature that W.H. Davies so beautifully praises.
24. “Music” by Bessie Rayner Parkes
Sweet melody amidst the moving spheres
Breaks forth, a solemn and entrancing sound,
A harmony whereof the earth’s green hills
Give but the faintest echo; yet is there
A music everywhere, and concert sweet!
All birds which sing amidst the forest deep
Till the flowers listen with unfolded bells;
All winds that murmur over summer grass,
Or curl the waves upon the pebbly shore;
Chiefly all earnest human voices rais’d
In charity and for the cause of truth,
Mingle together in one sacred chord,
And float, a grateful incense, up to God.
Bessie Rayner Parkes was a 19th-century English poet, women’s rights advocate and the editor of Britain’s first feminist magazine. In this poem, she sees music in nature and says that if someone’s willing to invest the time, they can find a free concert filled with natural music to calm the soul.
25. “Fog” by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg was an American poet with an impressive collection of three Pulitzer prizes, two of which he won for his poetry. In this short poem, he compares the movement of fog over a city to that of a cat: stealthy and silent.
26. “February Twilight” by Sara Teasdale
I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was no other creature
That saw what I could see—
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.
In “February Twilight,” Sara Teasdale, another of the Pulitzer Prize winners on our list of the best poems about nature, explores the beautiful experience of standing alone in nature. As she writes it, everything from the stars in the sky to the empty hills can grant the most innate feeling of peacefulness.
27. “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
This beautiful and simple poem by English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson could be described as two tercets (the term for three-line stanzas). In it, he describes the beauty and majestic imagery of an eagle hunting in the sky.
28. “Vision” by Jessie B. Rittenhouse
I came to the mountains for beauty
And I find here the toiling folk,
On sparse little farms in the valleys,
Wearing their days like a yoke.
White clouds fill the valleys at morning,
They are round as great billows at sea,
And roll themselves up to the hill-tops
Still round as great billows can be.
The mists fill the valleys at evening,
They are blue as the smoke in the fall,
And spread all the hills with a tenuous scarf
That touches the hills not at all.
These lone folk have looked on them daily,
Yet I see in their faces no light.
Oh, how can I show them the mountains
That are round them by day and by night?
Jessie Belle Rittenhouse was a poet and literary critic working in the early 20th century, and in her poem “Vision,” she warns of what a lack of perspective can do to us. The people she describes can’t see the beauty in the nature around them because they’re so consumed with toil. Though written long ago, the poem resonates with today’s readers who could also use a reminder to pause work and explore some of nature’s most breathtaking locations.
29. “Our Blessings” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Sitting to-day in the sunshine
That touched me with fingers of love,
I thought of the manifold blessings
God scatters on earth, from above;
And they seemed, as I numbered them over,
Far more than we merit, or need,
And all that we lack is the angels
To make earth a heaven indeed.
The winter brings long, pleasant evenings,
The spring brings a promise of flowers
That summer breathes into fruition;
And autumn brings glad, golden hours.
The woodlands re-echo with music,
The moonbeams ensilver the sea;
There is sunlight and beauty about us,
And the world is as fair as can be.
But mortals are always complaining!
Each one thinks his own a sad lot,
And forgetting the good things about him,
Goes mourning for those he has not.
Instead of the star-spangled heavens,
We look on the dust at our feet;
We drain out the cup that is bitter,
Forgetting the one that is sweet.
We mourn o’er the thorn in the flower,
Forgetting its odor and bloom;
We pass by a garden of blossoms,
To weep o’er the dust of the tomb.
There are blessings unnumbered about us–
Like the leaves of the forest they grow;
And the fault is our own–not the Giver’s–
That we have not Eden below.
Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox is asking for one simple thing here: Remember the everyday blessings we have, and never take them for granted. Fulfillment in life can come from all kinds of sources, and sometimes it is as plain as looking up at the sky and reflecting upon its beauty.
30. “My November Guest” by Robert Frost
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.
Robert Frost is another poet on our list of the best poems about nature that we just had to include more than once. He is, after all, a poet who came back to nature imagery again and again. In this poem, sorrow is personified as a lover who sees beauty in things that most people ignore, like the cold autumn or dying leaves.
31. “The Seed-Shop” by Muriel Stuart
Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone and shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry—
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
Dead that shall quicken at the voice of spring,
Sleepers to wake beneath June’s tempest kiss;
Though birds pass over, unremembering,
And no bee find here roses that were his.
In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That shall drink deeply at a century’s streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.
Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can stir a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
Muriel Stuart, an American poet who had such a love and passion for nature that she gave up on poetry to write exclusively about gardening, talks in this poem about how much life and magic can be found in gardens and seeds if one only looks closely enough. The world is full of beautiful gardens, so why not take a stroll?
32. “There is Another Sky” by Emily Dickinson
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!
In a poem for her brother, William Austin Dickinson, Emily Dickinson describes the beautiful experience of finding a garden in bloom. But what she’s really writing about is how quests for meaning can be long and tiring, but they’re quickly resolved when we remember to look closely at the things we take for granted.
33. “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky” by Lewis Carroll
A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July—
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear—
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?
We all know Lewis Carroll as the author of the classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but most people are unfamiliar with his poetry. “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky,” which praises the summer season and its warm nature, is a perfect example of his joyous spirit.
34. “The Garden” by Andrew Marvell
How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labours see
Crown’d from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow verged shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all flow’rs and all trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose.
Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear!
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men;
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow.
Society is all but rude,
To this delicious solitude.
This poem by 17th-century poet Andrew Marvell was published posthumously and is a beautiful example of nature poetry. In it, he describes his journey through a garden and the feelings of peace and tranquility it brings him. With the excerpt above, Marvel kicks off a longer poem (you’ll find it in this collection) in which he glories in nature and cherishes every moment he’s in the garden.
35. “To Autumn” by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
What better way to end our list of the best poems about nature than with Romantic poet John Keats. “To Autumn” sees the full cycle of the fall season, with blooming, labor, inevitable decline and the promise of rebirth.