In honor of EarthDay: Spring in Pictures and Poems

Seasons flow with the stream of time, nature continues to affirm the resilience of life.

April 2020 pink moon

Full moons, new moons, wax and wane.
We are sheltered inside,
opening windows,
look
outside,
the earth flourishes.

springshroom

millbrook

jim hodges
image: art by Jim Hodges

In spring my whole being can sit in contemplation on the surrounding aliveness, opening my eyes to see the bursting beauty there is in all; everything is wonderment and magical. Everything is in communion with everything. Spring is like a light in the distance of a dark winter, a promise of blossoming possibilities. Spring holds hopeful answers in metaphors. Spring is a symbol of freshness and new life.

May pole dance

Spring
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightenings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness, the racing lambs to have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

daffodils
irises

 Today
by Billy Collins
If ever there was a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick path
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

trees see

camillias

Come to me here from Crete by Sappho

To this holy temple, where
Your lovely apple grove stands,
And your altars flicker
With incense.

And below the apple branches, cold
Clear water sounds, everything shadowed
By roses, and sleep that falls from
Bright shaking leaves.

And a posture for horses blossoms
With flowers of spring, and breezes
Are flowing here like honey:
Come to me here,

Here, Cyprian, delicately taking
Nectar in golden cups
Mixed with a festive joy,
And pour.

lilacs

A Prayer in Spring
by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simple in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above in the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far end He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.
white bloomsapple blossoms

Lake wahsington blossoms

sky above

From The Journal of Caroline Fox (recounting Wordsworth)

“Whenever there is heart to feel,
there is also an eye to see:
even in the city you have light and shade,
reflections, probably views of water and trees,
and a blue sky above you,
and you can want for beauty with all these?”
kyoto blossoms

urban ducks

snail

In Just –
by e.e. cummings

spring. when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and its
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old ballonnman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisabel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and
the
goat-footed
balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee

noise number 13
image: Noise Number 13, 1925 by E.E. Cummings

Cummings is best known as poet, yet also painted. He referred to the visual and literary arts as his “twin obsessions.” In this abstract painting he explores the sensory crossover between the aural and visual with circular and conical shapes. His poetry has a visual component with line breaks and nontraditional spacing.

Noise Number 13 relates to Georgia O’Keefe’s Music, Pink and Blue No.2.  O’Keefe, one could say, invented a new language. Evoking nature in form and color, she abstracted a sensual experience of nature. Her language not expressed in words, she uses a manner of communicating by undulating, biomorphic forms and a palette of soft whispering hues, her paintings portray emotion. Her paintings breathe rhythm and music into the visual.

Music, pink and blue #2
image: Music, Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918, by Georgia O’Keefe

Lines Written in Early Spring
by William Wordsworth

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And man it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:-
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

unkown artist

P1100149
image: Fairies in a Bird’s Nest, ca. 1860 John Anster Fitzgerald

salamander home

from The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

“I will sleep on a bed under
the stars, with the moon
shining through the green
leaves of the trees; owls will
hoot and crickets will sing;
and next to me, on the
boulder with its head resting
on soft moss, the salamander
will sleep.”

ducks by the pond

victoria fu
image: Belle Captive by Victoria Fu

millbrook garden

from Daily Observations, Thoreau on the Days of the Year

“I spend a considerable portion of my time observing the habits of the wild animals, my brute neighbors. By their various movements and migrations they fetch the year about to me. Very significant are the flight of the geese and the migration of the suckers, etc. etc. But when I consider that the nobler animals have been exterminated here, — the cougar, panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, deer, the beaver, the turkey, etc., etc.–I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed and, as it were, emasculated country. Would not the motions of those larger and wilder animals have been more significant still? Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature that I am conversant with? As if I were to study a tribe of Indians that had lost all its warriors.”

Fox in field 1

young deer

garden geese

“Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her,”
~William Wordsworth

dandelion fluff

alpine lake marin

Marin A

Bolinas 4:20

double rainbow

Please, if you would like, leave a reply, share a poem or a thought that resonates with spring. Celebrate the earth, today and every day.

5 comments

  1. Beautiful Katherine💕
    The words and images in your post seems to make spring’s arrival official for me! 🙏

  2. i love the article. It’s a beautiful celebration! I loved the combination conteporaryArt/Nature – Congratulations! On the selection of words and your rich photography!

  3. i love the article. It’s a beautiful celebration! I loved the combination conteporaryArt/Nature – it remineded me of Haydee Rovirosa’s book “Interconnections between Ecological Consciousness and Contemporary Art”

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