Man vs Nature Poems

A Muse of Water

by Carolyn Kizer

‘A Muse of Water’ by Carolyn Kizer is a unique poem that places women as a force of nature, like water, that men attempt to control, redirect, and oppress.

'A Muse of Water' investigates the idea that women are a force of nature, and men, as civilizers, continually destroy beauty and nature. This argument posits that women, as fluid, flexible creators, are opposed to men. However, the gentle spirit of nature and women has put them both at a disadvantage, and they are constantly exploited by men.

The Storm-Wind

by William Barnes

‘The Storm-Wind’ by William Barnes contrasts peace and danger with images of home and a terrifying storm. The poem emphasizes how much easier it is to appreciate the safety of home when the conditions outside are so inhospitable.

The storm is, ultimately, unable to batter against the narrator as they are protected in their home. However, there are figures outside who seem powerless to resist the epic power of nature.


by Jean Bleakney

‘Spring’ is an unsettling poem that explores the dangers of devotion and deferring happiness instead of living in the present.

The poem reminds the reader that any attempts to control, organise or subdue the will of nature will fail and result in the exhaustion of those who try.

Song of the Chattahoochee

by Sidney Lanier

‘Song of the Chattahoochee’ is a 19th century American poem that takes the perspective of the Chattahoochee river as it flows from northern Georgia to the sea.

'Song of the Chattahoochee' is about the conflicts that nature must go through in order to serve man. The river itself is an active force, always driving itself to help mankind. It never loses its sense of duty, while the rest of nature is happy to stay put where it is.


by Stevie Smith

‘Parrot’ is a moving exploration of imprisonment and suffering set against the backdrop of the modern, urban world.

Whilst the bird's owners are absent from the poem, it is nonetheless concerned with man's attempts to dominate and control the natural world.

The Forest

by Susan Stewart

‘The Forest’ by Susan Stewart is a complex, cyclical poem about how memories can give new life to things that no longer exist.

At face value, 'The Forest' seems to be a poem about the effects of deforestation, and there's definitely an environmentalist reading between the lines. However, this poem is more concerned with how things change as we grow older and how we cannot see the world through a child's eyes unless we dive deep into our memories.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

by Tupac Shakur

‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ is a moving celebration of personal resolve against the backdrop of oppressive forces.

While the flower is a symbol, the poem inevitably explores the manner in which human life and urban living stifle and destroy the natural world.

Each In His Own Tongue

by William Herbert Carruth

‘Each In His Own Tongue’ by William Herbert Carruth depicts the world and all its beauty and suffering, attributing the elements to evolution, longing, consecration, or God. 

Man vs. nature is one of a few different conflicts that the poet alludes to within this poem. The speaker notes that the world has many wonderful features but also a great deal of suffering.


by Robert Service

Robert Service visits the fantasy of living alone on an island in ‘Atoll,’ and depicts it as an experience both unique and unsettling.


by Robert Frost

‘Birches’ is one of the most famous, admired, and thoughtful Robert Frost poems. The poem profoundly describes something simple, an ordinary incident, in elevated terms.


by W.S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin’s ‘Chord’ depicts the life and death of John Keats in parallel to the cutting of Sandalwood trees in Hawaii. It centers on the theme of exploitation vs. inspiration.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘Disappointed’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar is an inspirational poem in which Dunbar depicts an old man working hard in the last years of his life and losing everything he strove for. 


by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott’s poem ‘Ebb’ is about a car journey by the shore and comments on aging, industrialization, and the past.


by Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth Jennings herself considered ‘Fountain’ as one of her favorite poems. This piece is about the controlled energy of a fountain.

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.

Heron at Port Talbot

by Gillian Clarke

‘Heron at Port Talbot’ describes the relationship between the industrial world and the natural and how the two collide on a snowy road at night.

I dreaded that first Robin

by Emily Dickinson

’I dreaded that first Robin’ by Emily Dickinson is a surprising poem about nature. The speaker confesses to an unusual opinion about the season throughout the lines.

Jerusalem: And did those feet in ancient time

by William Blake

‘Jerusalem’ is a famous, prophetic, melancholic, and classic poem, penned by maestro William Blake in 1804. It may seem like a patriotic poem, yet it’s misleading, adding to the irony is the fact that it’s an unofficial national anthem of England.

Love Among the Ruins

by Robert Browning

‘Love Among the Ruins’ by Robert Browning is a Victorian, dramatic poem that uses the metaphor of a destroyed city to speak on love and nature. 

Milton by Firelight

by Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder’s ‘Milton by Firelight’ is based on Satan’s comment in Paradise Lost and how it is relevant in the present time given the condition of the environment and humankind.

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey