Light Poems

Poems about light celebrate the illuminating force that dispels darkness and symbolizes hope and knowledge.

These verses use light imagery to evoke warmth, clarity, and enlightenment. Poets may explore the contrast between light and shadow, representing life’s interplay of joy and sorrow.

Through these poems, writers inspire readers to seek the light within themselves and others, recognizing the power of positivity and compassion to illuminate even the darkest corners of existence.

A Light Exists in Spring

by Emily Dickinson

‘A light exists in spring’ is about the light in spring that illuminates its surroundings. Though this poem is about nature, it has a deep religious connotation that science cannot explain.

The light of the poem is mysterious and the details of its origin are never entirely explained. On the one hand, it could simply be the fact that Spring coincides with a greater number of daylight hours. However, it appears more likely that the light is a symbol for the positive feelings towards the season that the narrator clearly holds and perhaps even an expression of their belief in a God.

A Light exists in Spring

Not present on the Year

At any other period —

When March is scarcely here

June (from “The Vision of Sir Launfal”)

by James Russell Lowell

‘June’ by James Russell Lowell is a religiously-charged romantic narrative poem about the overwhelming beauty and rejuvenating power of summer. 

In this poem, light manifests as the glowy golden haze of God, which descends upon the earth during the month of June. This light warms and comforts all things, compelling the plants to climb up to heaven.

And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays:

California Dreaming

by Charles Wright

‘California Dreaming’ by Charles Wright, written in 1983, is a poem about Wright’s departure from Laguna Beach, CA, where he lived for six years. In ‘California Dreaming,’ the poet-speaker describes how Californians are similar to another evolution of people from the East.

Light and the sun are the main symbols and themes in 'California Dreaming.' Wright uses the sun's daily departure from the Eastern to western horizons to compare California to the Southeastern USA, where Wright grew up. The light transforms many times throughout the poem, carrying connotations of religion, rebirth, understanding, knowledge, and awakening.

We are not born yet, and everything’s crystal under our feet.

We are not brethren, we are not underlings.

We are another nation,


by Derek Walcott

‘Lampfall’ by Derek Walcott dives deep into an investigation of thought, dreaming, community and connection while also implying that nature and thought are more meaningful than development.

Derek Walcott's 'Lampfall' uses light as a metaphor for the center of all things. Walcott creates several little universes in this poem, using the lamplight his family sits around as a parallel to the sun. Each star in the sky, each flickering firefly, and each sunset carry deep meaning to the poet as he observes the way things ebb between states of light and dark.

Closest at lampfall

Like children, like the moth-flame metaphor,

The Coleman's humming jet at the sea's edge

Love Cycle

by Chinua Achebe

‘Love Cycle’ by Chinua Achebe describes sunrise, sunset, and their effects on Earth using the metaphor of a barely happy couple.

Light symbolizes understanding, clarity, and warmth in the poem. It functions as a metaphor for the positive and nourishing aspects of love. The references to soft-eyed light and the sun's rays showcase love's ability to enlighten and bring joy.

At dawn slowly

the sun withdraws his

long misty arms of

embrace. Happy lovers

A jag of lightning

by Matsuo Bashō

‘A jag of lightning’ by Matsuo Bashō is a beautiful and interesting poem that describes lightning and a heron’s scream. 

Light, embodied in the jagged lightning, symbolizes revelation and illumination. It represents moments of clarity, insight, and enlightenment. The poem highlights the contrast between the brilliance of the lightning and the encompassing darkness.

A jag of lightning--

Then, flitting toward the darkness,

A night heron's scream.

Mountain Evening Song

by Jeffrey Robin

Jeffrey Robin’s ‘Mountain Evening Song’ is a celebration of the campfire. As he looks into its flames, the speaker experiences a profound connection with his companions and the natural world.

In this poem, the light of the campfire is transformational for the speaker. It changes the way he views his friends, allowing him to see the "gentle visions" in their eyes that make him feel more deeply connected with them.

Sitting around the campfire

Lo! --- the campfire !

Know --- the campfire is known

From time to time

by Matsuo Bashō

‘From time to time’ by Matsuo Bashō is a beautiful haiku that describes clouds parting to reveal the light of the moon, symbolically representing hope and change. 

Light, embodied by the moon's radiance, serves as a metaphorical and literal element in ‘From time to time.’ The moon's light represents illumination, enlightenment, and moments of clarity that emerge intermittently.

From time to time

The clouds give rest 

To the moon beholders...

The light of a candle

by Yosa Buson

‘The light of a candle’ by Yosa Buson captures a moment of beauty and symbolism in the everyday act of lighting a candle.

The light of the candle is a central image in the poem, representing knowledge, guidance, and hope. The poet may have been thinking about how important it is to share our light with others, helping to guide them on their journey.

The light of a candle

is transferred to another candle—

spring twilight.

Explore more poems about Light

The lamp once out

by Natsume Sōseki

‘The lamp once out’ by Natsume Sōseki is a beautiful and thoughtful poem about the way that, once a lamp is out, one can actually see more. The stars appear in the window frame, something you can’t see with the lamp on. 

Light is an important part of this poem. It symbolizes illumination and understanding. It also serves as a metaphorical representation of clarity and insight, guiding the way through life's uncertainties.

The lamp once out

Cool stars enter

The window frame.

A Way of Looking

by Elizabeth Jennings

‘A Way of Looking’ by Elizabeth Jennings explores the peculiar but often unnoticed ways our perception is guided by more than what is objectively observed.

Light is another topic found within the poem. In the second stanza, a beam of light changes the scene in a subtle but ambiguous way. This causes the speaker's perception of the landscape to be altered and forces them to realign their thoughts around the new changes. The light serves as a symbol for a new perspective.

It is the association after all

We seek, we would retrace our thoughts to find

The thought of which this landscape is the image,

Then pay the thought and not the landscape homage.

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

by Adam Zagajewski

‘Try to Praise the Mutilated World’ by Adam Zagajewski focuses on the most important ways that people can find happiness in their everyday lives. They can step out into nature or return to memories.

Even in the midst of darkness, the poem suggests that there is still beauty and light to be found. The imagery of the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns suggests that hope and joy can be found even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June's long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrown

A Murmur in the Trees— to note

by Emily Dickinson

‘A Murmur in the Trees— to note’ by Emily Dickinson is a poem about nature’s magic. It includes mysterious images of fairy men, glowing lights in the woods, and the murmuring of trees. 

The light of the star in the opening stanza evokes the biblical story of the birth of Christ, in which a star was used to mark the place where he could be found. Dickinson similarly suggests that we should follow such lights as they lead us to miraculous places where magical events unfold.

A Murmur in the Trees – to note –

Not loud enough – for Wind –

A Star – not far enough to seek –

Nor near enough – to find –

Do not go gentle into that good night

by Dylan Thomas

‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ is a powerful poem about how important it is, despite death’s inevitability, to fight against it until the bitter end.

Light is a central metaphor in Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night." Thomas urges us to rage against the dying of the light, to hold on to hope, and to fight against the darkness that threatens to consume us.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

A drop fell on the apple tree

by Emily Dickinson

‘A drop fell on the apple tree’ by Emily Dickinson is filled with joy. It describes, with Dickinson’s classic skill, images of the summer season and how a storm can influence it.

The irreverent description of how the sun threw away his hat suggests that we needn't be afraid of the storm as it humanises the weather patterns. Dickinson suggests that the light will return and thus nobody need worry. Likewise, the raindrops imply that storms have light and beauty all their own.

A drop fell on the apple tree

Another on the roof;

A half a dozen kissed the eaves,

And made the gables laugh.

A Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe

‘A Dream’ by Edgar Allan Poe describes a speaker’s waking and dreaming state and the brief moments of light and hope he experiences. 

In visions of the dark night

I have dreamed of joy departed—

But a waking dream of life and light

Hath left me broken-hearted.


by Adrienne Rich

‘Amends’ by Adrienne Rich is a beautiful poem in which the poet depicts the moon. She describes its presence in the sky and the peace it brings to humanity.

Nights like this: on the cold apple-bough

a white star, then another

exlploading out of the bark:

on the ground, moonlight picking at small stones


by Elizabeth Jennings

‘Answers’ by Elizabeth Jennings describes how one speaker compartmentalizes the big questions and answers in life in the back of her mind. 

Break of Day

by John Donne

‘Break of Day’ by John Donne is an aubade told from a female perspective. It conveys a woman’s understanding of her relationship with a busy lover. 

‘Tis true, ‘tis day, what though it be?

O wilt thou therefore rise from me?

Why should we rise because ‘tis light?

Did we lie down because ‘twas night?


by William Cullen Bryant

‘Consumption’ by William Cullen Bryant describes the fast-approaching death of a tuberculosis patient and her path to heaven. 

Darkness and Light

by Stephen Spender

‘Darkness and Light’ by Stephen Spender is a complex, abstract poem in which a speaker battles with two sides of himself. 

Full Moon and Little Frieda

by Ted Hughes

In ‘Full Moon and Little Frieda,’ Ted Hughes describes his daughter’s observations of the world around her, reflecting on nature and family.

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -

And you listening.

A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.

We're glad you like visiting Poem Analysis...

We've got everything you need to master poetry

But, are you ready to take your learning

to the next level?