Spring Ahead

Poets have a close relationship to this tender season.
By Annie Finch

Spring, like poetry, makes us humble. Poets have a perennially close relationship with this cruel and tender season, a time for celebration and renewal and a reminder of our powerlessness over creation. Robert Graves is said to have remarked that there are only three themes for poetry—love, death, and the changing of the seasons—and the poetry of spring treats them all, with inspiration to spare. A tour of some of this season's best poems, from Sappho and Basho to Countee Cullen, offers a sense of the variety and breadth of traditions, strategies, and brilliance that enrich poetry itself. Margaret Walker observed spring as a homecoming:

my Mississippi Spring—
My warm loving heart a-fire
with early greening leaves ...

Neruda captured the poet's empathy with spring in the intimate phrase "at last the eyelids of the pollen open."

Read the full essay on the Poetry Foundation website.