by A. A. Milne

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”

A. A. Milne (1882–1956) was an English author best known for his stories about Winnie-the-Pooh.

Contentment; Or, If You Please, Confession

by Thomas Paine

O could we always live and love,
And always be sincere,
I would not wish for heaven above,
My heaven would be here.
Though many countries I have seen,
And more may chance to see,
My Little Corner of the World
Is half the world to me;
The other half, as you may guess,
America contains;
And thus, between them, I possess
The whole world for my pains.
I’m then contented with my lot,
I can no happier be;
For neither world I’m sure has got
So rich a man as me.
Then send no fiery chariot down
To take me off from hence,
But leave me on my heavenly ground—
This prayer is common-sense.
Let others choose another plan,
I mean no fault to find;
The true theology of man
Is happiness of mind.

Thomas Paine (1737–1809) was an English-born American philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. He is best known as the author of Common Sense (1776).

Loveliest of Trees

by A. E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A. E. Housman (1859–1936) was an English scholar and poet.

Nature and Art

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The young queen Nature, ever sweet and fair,
Once on a time fell upon evil days.
From hearing oft herself discussed with praise,
There grew within her heart the longing rare
To see herself; and every passing air
The warm desire fanned into lusty blaze.
Full oft she sought this end by devious ways,
But sought in vain, so fell she in despair.
For none within her train nor by her side
Could solve the task or give the envied boon.
So day and night, beneath the sun and moon,
She wandered to and fro unsatisfied,
Till Art came by, a blithe inventive elf,
And made a glass wherein she saw herself.

Enrapt, the queen gazed on her glorious self,
Then trembling with the thrill of sudden thought,
Commanded that the skilful wight be brought
That she might dower him with lands and pelf.
Then out upon the silent sea-lapt shelf
And up the hills and on the downs they sought
Him who so well and wondrously had wrought;
And with much search found and brought home the elf.
But he put by all gifts with sad replies,
And from his lips these words flowed forth like wine:
“O queen, I want no gift but thee,” he said.
She heard and looked on him with love-lit eyes,
Gave him her hand, low murmuring, “I am thine,”
And at the morrow’s dawning they were wed.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906) was an American poet, novelist, and playwright. A line from his poem “Sympathy” inspired the title of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.


by Robert Frost

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Robert Lee Frost (1874–1963) was an American poet. He was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes and a Congressional Gold Medal for poetry.

The Open Window

by Edward Rowland Sill

My tower was grimly builded,
With many a bolt and bar,
“And here,” I thought, “I will keep my life
From the bitter world afar.”

Dark and chill was the stony floor,
Where never a sunbeam lay,
And the mould crept up on the dreary wall,
With its ghost touch, day by day.

One morn, in my sullen musings,
A flutter and cry I heard;
And close at the rusty casement
There clung a frightened bird.

Then back I flung the shutter
That was never before undone,
And I kept till its wings were rested
The little weary one.

But in through the open window,
Which I had forgot to close,
There had burst a gush of sunshine
And a summer scent of rose.

For all the while I had burrowed
There in my dingy tower,
Lo! The birds had sung and the leaves had danced
From hour to sunny hour.

And such balm and warmth and beauty
Came drifting in since then,
That the window still stands open
And shall never be shut again.

Edward Rowland Sill (1841–1887) was an American poet and educator.

A Blissful Resolve

by Jon Hersey

Branches bear the burdens of winter
Bending toward the ground
Encased in ice, the tree limbs falling
Bringing me a frown.

Once this snow was quite inviting
Falling friendly frozen lace
Bringing its enchantment
to such a common, cold, and lonely place.

But then came the memories of the everlasting summers
Great emerald fields and the company of others
Deep blue oceans, warm summer skies
Right beside you, chasing fireflies.

It never seemed to matter
How high the fire got
No rules, no limits
We could have never gotten caught.

Sitting on the neighbor’s roof
No worries about the days ahead
Staring at the full moon
As the sky turns pink then red.

I know I’m not the only one
To experience something so great
We must live our lives to the fullest
Before it is too late.

Jon Hersey is managing editor of The Objective Standard.

The Wonderful World

by William Brighty Rands

Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World,
With the wonderful water round you curled,
And the wonderful grass upon your breast,
World, you are beautifully dressed.

The wonderful air is over me,
And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree
It walks on the water, and whirls the mills,
And talks to itself on the top of the hills.

You friendly Earth, how far do you go,
With the wheat fields that nod and the rivers that flow,
With cities and gardens and cliffs and isles,
And the people upon you for thousands of miles?

Ah! you are so great, and I am so small,
I hardly can think of you, World, at all;
And yet, when I said my prayers today,
My mother kissed me, and said, quite gay,

“If the wonderful world is great to you,
And great to Father and Mother, too,
You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot!
You can love and think, and the Earth cannot!”

William Brighty Rands (1823–1882) was a British writer and one of the main authors of nursery rhymes of the Victorian era.

Check out this collection of eight great poems that celebrate the love of nature.
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