These Earth Day poems touch on a range of themes and bring together images of the natural world, life, death, and the power of natural elements like wind and water. They celebrate the fullness of what the world has to offer and should make one feel closer to nature in an uplifting and positive way.
The Best Earth Day Poems
- 1 Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth
- 2 Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
- 3 A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson
- 4 My Heart Leaps Up by William Wordsworth
- 5 The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson
- 6 I(a(A Leaf Falls with Loneliness) by E.E. Cummings
- 7 Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats
- 8 Tall Ambrosia by Henry David Thoreau
- 9 Loveliest of trees, the cherry now by A. E. Housman
- 10 Water by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- 11 First Sight by Philip Larkin
- 12 The Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘Lines Composed a few Miles above Tintern Abbey’ comes from the poet’s own experiences. It tells of the power of Nature to guide one’s life and morality and is therefore well-suited for Earth Day. It begins with the speaker having returned to a spot on the banks of the River Wye that he has not seen for five long years. This place is very dear to him and is just as beautiful and mystical as it was when he left. Here are a few lines:
Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
Discover William Wordsworth’s poetry.
This is one of Frost’s best-known and most well-loved poems. Frost published the poem in 1923. He was in the woods and despairing over his financial state. He did not have the money to provide for his family but chose to continue on rather than give up and walk into the forest. This was a difficult and courageous choice as woods provided an easy escape from the hardships of his life. Here are the very famous first four lines:
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.
Read more Robert Frost poems.
This piece is a great demonstration of Dickinson’s nature poetry. She is well known for the whimsical nature of her poem and the recurring theme of death. Though it was written in about 1864, it was published only in 1896, along with her many other poems. The poem acknowledges how spring enters and affects our happiness as the season passes. It is an incredibly important time of year and appears in other poems on this list due to its ties to images of new life and beauty.
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
Read more Emily Dickinson poems.
One of Wordsworth’s best-known short poems, ‘My Heart Leaps Up,’ is also known as ‘The Rainbow.’ It speaks on some of the poet’s most familiar themes, youth, age, and nature. He speaks at the beginning of the poem of how the sight of a rainbow can make his heart leap up and send him back to his life when he was young. He remembers being a youthful boy and experiencing these same pleasures in a pure, innocent way. They return to him “now” as a “man.” He knows that when he grows old, it’ll be the same, and if it’s not, he’d rather die.
My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die!
‘The Eagle’ speaks on the power and solitude of a lone eagle on a rocky cliff. The poem begins with the speaker describing how a solitary eagle is standing on the top of a craggy cliff. From where he is perched, with his “crooked hands” gripping the rocks, he can survey the whole “azure world” around and below him. This incredible short poem is a great example of the power of the natural world and is a good way to celebrate the earth on Earth Day. Here are the three lines of stanza two:
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Explore more poetry from Alfred Lord Tennyson.
This poem, ‘I(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness)’ is the most innovative poem of E.E. Coming. Despite it being written in a few words, it has captured the readers and the ‘fall’ impressively. The words of the poem “A Leaf Falls with Loneliness” are structured like that of a leaf falling and swaying in the wind. By the way, the words are arranged within parentheses give this effective picture of emptiness “loneliness.”
Read more E.E. Cummings poems.
‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’ was published in 1890 and takes place in Ireland, in County Sligo, and is about an uninhabited island. The speaker intends to build a cabin and have a “hive for the honey bee.” The second section describes the speaker’s soul and quest for peace. Finally, the last section is about memory. In these lines, he connects the memories of the Isle of Innisfree to his current life. The sensory recollections he has of this place come to him when he’s “on the roadway, or on the pavements grey.” Here are a few well-known lines from the piece:
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
Discover more W.B. Yeats poems.
In this wonder-filled poem that’s highly suited for Earth Day, the poet depicts the joy one can take from the natural world. He focuses on a field of ambrosia in the eighteen lines of the poem. He explains how he takes a great deal of pleasure from spending time “countryfield.” There are numerous beautiful images in this piece, including the “yellow dust” of pollen the speaker finds sprinkled over his shoes and that he tracks back into the house. Here are the first few lines:
Among the signs of autumn I perceive
The Roman wormwood (called by learned men
Ambrosia elatior, food for gods,—
For to impartial science the humblest weed
Is as immortal once as the proudest flower—)
Sprinkles its yellow dust over my shoes
As I cross the now neglected garden.
Read more Henry David Thoreau poems.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now by A. E. Housman
‘Loveliest of trees, the cherry now’ by A. E. Housman reflects the thought of the young speaker who vows to make the most of spring. He may live only to see another fifty. ‘Loveliest of trees’ has many of Housman’s has a formal meter and rhyme and a sense of melancholy despite the positivity of the season, which is considered to be the trademark of his poems.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
Discover more A.E. Housman poems.
‘Water’ is an important depiction of the power of the element in human and non-human lives. Therefore, it is well suited for Earth Day and a celebration of all the planet has to offer. The poet uses personification to describe water and its ability to influence the lives of all living things for the better or, the worse. He states in the last lines that if one treats it well, and fosters its existence, then it will bring joy. But, if one misuses it, then it will bring one sorrow. Here are the first four lines:
The water understands
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
Read more Ralph Waldo Emerson poems.
‘First Sight’ by Philip Larkin explores the possibilities of spring and the innocence of lambs in the face of it. When first born, their first sight is that of a snow-covered landscape. Beneath it is an entire world, they have no concept of. The poem ends optimistically. Spring is not far off, and soon, the lambs will experience a new world.
Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.
Explore Philip Larkin’s poetry.
This lovely poem discusses the importance of the origins of a flower, specifically the rhododendron. There is a spiritual connection between humanity and nature, demonstrated in these lines as the speaker walks through the woods on a windy day. The world was suddenly illuminated by the flower. The poem ends with the suggestion that humankind and the flower came into being through the implementation of the same force and are kin. Here are the first four lines:
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.