Whether one loves the summer season or struggles with its sometimes oppressive heat, there is a poem on this list that will likely feel relatable. While these poems utilize summer-based images, many of them also speak on related themes. These include aging, change, happiness, and friendship.
Explore 10 of the Best Summer Poems
- 1 The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
- 2 To Summer by William Blake
- 3 Warm Summer Sun by Mark Twain
- 4 My Garden—like the Beach by Emily Dickinson
- 5 After the Winter by Claude McKay
- 6 Ah! Sun-Flower by William Blake
- 7 Prayer at Sunrise by James Weldon Johnson
- 8 The Thaw by Henry David Thoreau
- 9 Moonlight, Summer Moonlight by Emily Brontë
- 10 A Bird Song by Christina Rossetti
- 11 FAQs
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
‘The Summer Day’ is a classic Mary Oliver poem. It speaks of natural images with the poet’s characteristic style and lyricism. It was first published in New and Selected Poems in 1992. Throughout, the poet alludes to the purpose of life and how individuals should value the beautiful moments of their existence. The poem starts with these lines:
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,
Read more Mary Oliver poems.
‘To Summer’ is one of four “seasons” poems that Blake penned throughout his career. The others include ‘To Winter’ and ‘To Fall.’ The poem is dedicated to the summer season and begins with these lines:
O Thou who passest thro’ our vallies in
Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat
That flames from their large nostrils! thou, O Summer,
Oft pitched’st here thy golden tent, and oft
Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld
With joy, thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair.
Explore more William Blake poems.
While better known as a novelist, Mark Twain wrote some important pieces of verse as well. These include ‘Warm Summer Sun,’ one of the most expressive summer poems on this list. Within this piece, the poet speaks on themes of aging, summer, life, and nature. He writes:
Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Discover more Mark Twain poems.
This Dickinson poem is a beautiful, short piece that compares the speaker’s garden to a beach and the summer to the sea. It is only five lines long but is quite powerful. Dickinson writes:
My Garden—like the Beach—
Denotes there be—a Sea—
Such as These—the Pearls
She fetches—such as Me
When the speaker sees her flowers blooming then, she knows that summer has arrived.
Discover more Emily Dickinson poems.
After the Winter by Claude McKay
In ‘After the Winter,’ Claude McKay considers the future and how he’s going to live when a metaphorical “winter” is over. Throughout, he uses simple images like birds, flowers, and the sun. He writes:
Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
As the poem progresses, he lays out the details of the “summer isle” that he and his “love” will turn their faces toward.
Read more Claude McKay poems.
Within this summer poem, the poet takes a creative and memorable approach to depict a weary sunflower. The poet writes about the sun, time, Heaven, and more within only eight lines. He describes the sunflower as tired from counting the sun’s progress through the sky. Here are the first few lines:
Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.
Discover more William Blake poems.
‘Prayer at Sunrise’ is another short poem on this list that speaks about the emotions and experiences associated with summer. Within these lines, the poet describes the power of the sun and a speaker’s request to be granted strength from God. He writes in the first lines:
Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring’st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
Read more James Weldon Johnson poems.
This wonderful Thoreau poem describes a speaker’s desire to become an integral part of an ecosystem. As the poem progresses, the poet writes:
I saw the civil sun drying earth’s tears —
Her tears of joy that only faster flowed,
Fain would I stretch me by the highway side,
To thaw and trickle with the melting snow,
He comes to the conclusion that despite his desire to draw close to the ecosystem he loves, he has to remain “silent.”
Read more Henry David Thoreau poems.
Moonlight, Summer Moonlight by Emily Brontë
‘Moonlight, Summer Moonlight’ is a three-stanza poem that speaks about a very special time of day—midnight in summer. The speaker describes the air, the “solemn hour,” and the movement of the trees. Here is the first stanza of this lesser-read Emily Brontë poem:
’Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,
Explore more Emily Brontë poems.
A Bird Song by Christina Rossetti
This is a wonderful poem to read in celebration of either the summer or spring season. Within the short, three-stanza poem, Rossetti describes an interaction with a swallow and expresses her speaker’s need for companionship. She begins the poem with this three-line stanza:
It’s a year almost that I have not seen her:
Oh, last summer green things were greener,
Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.
Read more Christina Rossetti poems.
A “summer” poem is a piece of writing that speaks about the summer season, its various elements and uses it to describe other themes. For example, in ‘Warm Summer Sun’ Twain uses summer images to depict aging.
Some of the best poems about summer are ‘To Summer’ by William Blake, ‘The Summer Day’ by Mary Oliver, and ‘Warm Summer Sun’ by Mark Twain. Many of the best summer poems express love for the summer season and speak on other themes, like aging, change, and relationships.
Within this poem, William Blake celebrates the summer season. His speaker expresses joy over its arrival and the various natural images it brings with it. The poet also alludes to the role England played in the world at the time.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned this poem. He describes a rain shower within the text and expresses his appreciation for the summer season, especially after having endured winter.
The best way to write a summer poem is to consider one’s personal experiences in summer. Is it a season that you enjoy? Or one that you dread? If it is the former, what is it about the season that brings you joy? Are there certain images, people, and experiences that you love? By including personal feelings and locations one can make a summer poem feel real and relatable.