For this first in a series of posts featuring nature verse by famous poets, I present to you little spots of sunlight, lines of poetry I love that describe the effects of the sun on different scenes and objects.
To celebrate summer and continue the theme from my last post of original sunset photos, here are a few splashes of poetic sunshine. (A slash mark indicates the end of a line.)
From “A Plain Song for Comadre” by Richard Wilbur:
“ . . . sometimes the early sun / shines as she flings the scrub water out, with a crash / of grimy rainbows, and the stained suds flash / Like angel-feathers . . .”
From “The Fish” by Marianne Moore:
“. . . submerged shafts of the / sun, / split like spun / glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness / into the crevices—”
From “Portrait d’une Femme” by Ezra Pound:
“For all this sea-hoard of deciduous things, / Strange woods half sodden, and new brighter stuff: / In the slow float of differing light and deep . . .”
From “The Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews” by Amy Clampitt:
“But the sun / among the sundews, down there, / is so bright, an underfoot / webwork of carnivorous rubies, / a star-swarm thick as the gnats / they’re set to catch, delectable / double-faced cockleburs, each / hair-tip a sticky mirror / afire with sunlight, a million / of them and again a million, / each mirror a trap set to / unhand unbelieving, . . . // But the sun / underfoot is so dazzling / down there among the sundews, / there is so much light / in the cup that, looking, you start to fall upward.”
Equally dazzling, full versions of these poems are available online and in published collections. If you like any of the excerpts, check out the whole poem!
Or, ICYMI, catch the analyzed sample of Thomas Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush” I shared a few weeks ago as a prelude to this series.
Samples of my own nature verse on this blog appear in a series of 10 posts I call “Wild Verses: Bits of Nature Poetry.” Here is the last of those.
What are some of your favorite lines of sunny verse?
Other posts in my series on famous nature poetry:
- Nature Poetry by Famous Poets excerpting Thomas Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush”
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (1a): “The Sunlight on the Garden”
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (2): Elizabeth Bishop
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (3): Wordsworth’s Daffodils
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (4): Promise of a Fruitful Plath
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (5): Of Mice, Men and Rabbie Burns
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (6): Hugh MacDiarmid in Scots
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (6)–Oh, NOW I Get It!: Hugh MacDiarmid in Scots
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (7): Black Legacies
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (8): “Corsons Inlet” by A. R. Ammons
- Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (9): “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
You may also enjoy a not-so-sunny musing upon the sun: