The lush buds of spring are everywhere now, despite the recent rain and storms. It is also World Poetry Day tomorrow, so that’s two great reasons to be filled with celebratory joy!
Poetry is a daily part of life for many people. It adds beauty, vision, inspiration, solace, and humour to life.
Like spring bulbs under earth, the joy of a poetic spirit is, I believe, in all of us. It might be buried deep under mundane practical necessities, a daily grind of unpalatable chores, or an inbox full of tedious spreadsheets, but it’s in there somewhere, so let’s dig deep into our jaded hearts, retrieve our neglected souls, and revisit the intensity and wonder of the world through a few diamond-cut words, strung like jewels on a spider web.
To help you, here is a selection of poetry excerpts about spring and nature from around the world, taken from the beautiful array of old books on our Darwin poetry shelves. So sit back, let go of the incessant clamouring of the mundane world for a little while, and allow poets; the aural artists, wordsmiths and magicians of our planet to envelop you in the soft gauze of exquisitely chosen words, and rhythmical iambics, and enjoy the imagery that rises up in a vision before you.
"I am only a man, and yet sometimes
The green skin of unripened limes
Or the rose and gold of a naked heel
Take hold of my heart and make it feel."
(From the poem, Loving Things.)Coloured Stars. Versions of Fifty Asiatic Love Poems by Edward Powys Mathers. Published by B.H.Blackwell. 1919. A slim paper bound volume with uncut edges.
"Spring breaks upon the land. Waves roll
Of green and gold into the gardens,
Foam white on cherry trees.
Yes, I have seen
The little puppet hands of chestnut buds
That flutter at the sun-
April’s pale feet that glitter in the green,
April with bird-song came to steal my soul."
(The Coming of April, by Iris Murdoch, at 18 years.)600 years of Bristol Poetry. Edited by Edward Martin and Bill Pickard. Published by Arts and Leisure Committee of the City and County of Bristol. 1973. Bound with decorative marbled paper front and back boards.
"The dragon-fly hangs glittering on the reed,
The spider swings across his filmy thread,
And gleaming fishes, darting to and fro,
Make restless silver in the pools below…."
(From The Lady of La Garaye. By the Hon. Mrs Norton).Third edition published by Macmillan and Co. 1862. Bound in glossy bottle green leather with a richly ornate wide gilt border surrounding the front cover.
"Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair.."
(From Comus.)The Poetical Works of John Milton. In Four Volumes. Published in 1842. Bound in worn, but beautiful, red leather and decoratively embossed with gold.
"Here, lilac, with a branch of pine,
Here, out of my pocket, some moss…..
And twigs of maple and a bunch of wild orange and chestnut,
And stems of currants and plum-blows, and the aromatic cedar."
(Excerpts from the poem, These I Singing in Spring.)Poems from Leaves of Grass. By Walt Whitman. Published by Dent and sons. 1913. Complete with delicately coloured illustrations.
These are all so beautiful, but my favourite is Shelley’s The Witch of Atlas. A story, in the form of a green and glowing poem about a lady witch, the life she leads, and the pranks she plays on mortals, and it glitters with intense imagery;
"The first born love out of his cradle leapt,
And clove dun chaos with his wings of gold,
And like a horticultural adept,
Stole a strange seed, and wrapped it up in mould,
And sowed it in his mother’s star…."The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Published by E Moxon, Son and Co. Bound in royal blue leather and embossed with gold and black.
So, though World Poetry Day is just once a year, and exists to celebrate poets and their poems all over the world, let this selection inspire you to soak up a little creative magic and inspiration for yourself, every day. With spring tantalising us around the next corner, I hope these poems also fill you with the ecstasies of the season in your every jaunty step.
Be like a child again. Poets, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs know this. Let’s take a leaf out of their books and allow the detail, beauty and wonder of spring all around us to feed our minds and hearts, and take a more creative and playful approach to our day. Just think how much more exciting and successful our ventures could be if we all do that!
So do come and be inspired by our eclectic poetry collection, here in the Darwin room. We have the epic, the romantic, the tragic and the comic. From Milton, Browning, and Byron, through to Walter de la Mare, Indian love poetry and Lewis Carroll, so something to suit your every mood.