William Wordsworth’s literary classic, ‘Daffodils,’ also known as ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,’ is one of the most popular poems in the English language. It is a quintessential poem of the Romantic movement.
In this world-renowned poem, Wordsworth finds peace and inspiration in the natural landscape of his stomping ground, the Lake District. As the speaker, Wordsworth himself, moves through a beautiful landscape, he enjoys seeing daffodils. This sight alone revives his spirit and brings him closer to the tranquility of nature.
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.
‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ takes the reader through a speaker’s fantastical daydream to leave their world behind for the peace that nature brings.
In this poem, Yeats asks the reader to regard nature as he does: as valuable in and of itself, without human intervention. It is a place to find peace and connect with the world on a deeper, spiritual level because it is so far from that which we commonly experience in day-to-day life.
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.
‘Frost at Midnight,’ written in 1798, discusses the power of nature to influence the aging process. Notably, the poem discusses Coleridge’s childhood. He examines what it means to grow up in different environments, proposing that if one resides within nature, they are also within God.
The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
Robert Frost aka ‘nature boy’ penned down this lovely poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ in 1922, subsequently published with his long poem, ‘New Hampshire’.
This poem, typical of Robert Frost's work, emphasizes the peace that nature can bring us. Being naturalistic to the core, Robert Frost grounds his character in a forest, mesmerized by the snowy evening. The poet mildly indicates the presence of a human close by, albeit in-doors, oblivious to the passerby.
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.
‘Spring’ is an unsettling poem that explores the dangers of devotion and deferring happiness instead of living in the present.
The poem's primary subject is the natural world and how it changes across the seasons. Within this poem, spring becomes a primary source of inspiration, bringing life to everything. However, ultimately, the poem is a broader exploration of people's willingness to defer their hopes and dreams and, as a result, lose out on the joy of the present moment.
It spills from sun-shocked evenings in March
and slit seed-packets, buckled into spouts.
She palms and strokes and shunts them, via heart-line;
index-fingers them to rows of labelled pots.
‘To Autumn’ is one of Keats’ most sensual, image-laden poems. It is a sumptuous description of the season of autumn.
‘To Autumn’ is a beautiful poem that discusses the fall season and the renewal of life. In the text, Keats uses various images that speak to the fruitfulness of the harvest season and of the “maturing sun.” However, death and winter loom in the background of this joyous scene, indicating that to everything, there is a season and that death is a natural part of life.
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;
‘Huge Vapours Brood above the Clifted Shore’ by Charlotte Smith describes a brooding storm the lighted paths of life one might choose to follow.
‘Huge Vapours Brood above the Clifted Shore’ describes a natural scene of a brooding storm, the darkness it casts, and the paths of life one might choose to follow. The speaker uses this scene as a metaphor, indicating that there are two lighted paths in the darkness, but if one were to follow these lights, they would surely drown. By contrasting these two situations, the speaker depicts how one can still succeed, even if everything seems dark.
Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore,
Night o’er the ocean settles, dark and mute,
Save where is heard the repercussive roar
Of drowsy billows, on the rugged foot
‘Nightscapes’ beautifully captures the feeling of being isolated from nature that is common in urban environments.
This poem's primary interest is nature and its relationship to creativity. This poem emphasizes nature's role in the creative process, placing it as the most important muse of a poet or artist. However, nature lies in contrast to the speaker's urban surroundings, where she only has the memory of nature to inspire her.
If this was Donegal
I wouldn’t be able to breathe
for fear of swallowing stars…
‘The Eagle’ is a powerful poem that captures the majesty and strength of the majestic bird, inspiring readers to reach for the heights of their own potential.
‘The Eagle’ is one of Tennyson’s shortest poems and one of his most famous. This verse presents the eagle as a powerful creature, alone and above the rest of the world. The singular focus on the eagle forces a reader to consider the creature and how it lives its life. Through this image, Tennyson prompts the listener to question their place in the natural world and their relationship with all other living creatures.
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
‘A Bird, came down the Walk’ by Emily Dickinson is a beautiful nature poem. It focuses on the actions of a bird going about its everyday life.
Nature is a very important theme in this poem, seen through the poet's description of a bird and its various actions. While the poem attempts to capture the beauty and wonder of nature, it also suggests that nature can be brutal, invoking ideas about the nature of death.
A Bird, came down the Walk -
He did not know I saw -
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
In ‘The Tables Turned,’ Wordsworth invites us to break free from the constraints of modern society and rediscover the natural world’s beauty and wisdom.
Though this poem is about nature, it is a bit peculiar. In this poem, Wordsworth suggests that books are useless while nature is the greatest instructor of all things, whether you're writing poetry, making art, or studying science. While mentioning the infinite beauty of nature is a common trope in nature poems, the between mother earth and books makes this verse unique.
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
‘Donegal Sightings’ explores how elusive the natural world can feel, even when we are immersed within its beauty.
The poem's central theme is that of nature, our perception of it and how flawed that perception can be.
‘Winterisation’ subtly weaves the processes of preparing for winter and steeling oneself for news of bereavement.
As per the title, Bleakney's poem is primarily concerned with the changing weather and all it brings with it.
‘On the Beach at Night Alone’ by Walt Whitman is a powerful poem. In it, Whitman discusses how everything that has ever existed or will ever exist is connected.
The poem celebrates the beauty and diversity of nature, from the smallest inanimate forms to the most complex living beings. Whitman sees all of nature as interconnected and part of a larger whole.
‘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, naturally, the most obvious example of the poem's interest in nature. However, the poem's true point of interest is the border between nature and civilization, symbolised by house in which the narrator feels protected from the storm.
‘Each and All’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson depicts nature as interconnected and dependent on all other living and non-living things. The poet uses a few clever examples to demonstrate why he sees the world this way.
A fantastic nature poem that describes the interconnectivity of all things.
‘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 one of the most imaginative poems about nature, allowing the river to come in as the poem's speaker and sing of its interactions with other natural features such as trees, grasses, stones, and various plants native to Georgia. The larger purpose of this poem is to suggest that nature serves man, which is a thought-provoking idea.
‘I have never seen “Volcanoes”’ by Emily Dickinson is a clever, complex poem that compares humans and their emotions to a volcano’s eruptive power.
The primary symbol in the poem pertains to volcanoes which are epic forces of natural power, capable of inspiring both fear and awe. This poem, like many of Dickinson's, reminds the reader how much we can glean about our selves by observing the natural world.
‘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' is all about the ways in which women and nature have fallen victim to the domination and control of men. Thus, it is not just an interesting exploration of water and the life that it provides, but it simultaneously investigates human nature and how control changes the landscape.
‘Gathering Leaves’ is a profound poem that delves into the themes of man versus nature, productivity, and change.
The natural world, specifically the cyclical nature of autumn leaves falling from the trees, is the primary idea in the poem. Frost explores how humanity can impart their own hopes, dreams and fears upon natural occurrences.
Heaney’s ‘Personal Helicon’ draws inspiration from his rural carefree childhood and intimate connection with nature.
Like much of Heaney's work, the natural world is essentially tied to human existence and identity in this poem. The experience of being human is reflected in the changing nature of the rural landscape.
‘The Sea and the Hills’ by Rudyard Kipling depicts the ocean, its heaving waves, incredible winds, and ever-present danger. It has evoked longing in men throughout time and will continue to do so, just as one longs to return home.
The sea and its relationship to the coastline forms the basis of this poem, in which Kipling explores the reasons that, despite its dangers, mankind has always been drawn to the sea.
‘The Forest’ by Susan Stewart is a complex, cyclical poem about how memories can give new life to things that no longer exist.
This poem is about the dissapearancwe of nature from our lives and our memories. While it uses the image of a forest to explore the impact of memory on our perception, this poem dives deep into the reality of human nature and the jaded-ness that comes with maturity and experience.
‘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.
This poem is about the poet's time spent with his family and friends in nature. Nature seems to inspire the poet, dragging him deep into thought. Nature also rules their actions and movements as the forest, fish, fireflies, sun, and fire communicate to them while the day becomes night. This scene stands in contrast to the beetles on the highway, presenting a man vs. nature conflict.
There are two poems by the title ‘To a Butterfly’ in William Wordsworth’s 1807 poetry collection, “Poems, in Two Volumes.” The first poem is the best-known in comparison to the latter one.
The poem celebrates the beauty and wonder of the natural world, particularly the flowers and trees of the orchard. The butterfly's flight among these natural elements serves as a metaphor for the transcendent power of nature to inspire and uplift the human spirit.
The ‘Ars Poetica’ is a 476-line didactic epistolary poem by the Roman poet Horace. This humorous, engaging verse teaches the wannabe poet how to write good stories and develop meaningful art.
Horace makes interesting implications about the role of nature in the creative process throughout the 'Ars Poetica.' Horace seems to believe that nature and human behavior are the best teachers for writing universal, meaningful plays and poems. Conversely, human institutions and education "stain" the soul of people and make it difficult for them to think creatively.
‘Facing West From California’s Shores’ by Walt Whitman is a unique poem that alludes to the state of California and the potential expansion of the United States.
The poem celebrates the beauty and diversity of the natural world and the endless possibilities it offers for exploration and discovery. The poet's speaker describes searching the world and ending where he began.
‘Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter’ by John Clare is a beautiful nature poem that describes a specific area in Northamptonshire in winter. The poem focuses on plants and birds.
Nature is, without a doubt, the most important theme in this poem. The poet suggests that although the landscape is deep within the winter season, it is far from being devoid of life. Visitors don't have to look too closely to find themselves overwhelmed with birds and plants.