1. “Spring Violets Under the Snow” by R.H. Newell
“Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring Violets under the snow.”
Found in The Palace Beautiful and Other Poems published in 1864, “Spring Violets Under the Snow” paints a gentle picture of winter.
People go about their winter chores surrounded by such weather while the author reminds us at the end of each stanza that spring is near.
He continues to draw parallels between the young still living in the old using two elderly lovers who still look at one another as they did when they were young.
The poem is a reassurance that there are still spring violets under the snow, or that there is always life underneath something seemingly gone.
2. “To the Reader” by Rupi Kaur
“Stay strong through your pain
grow flowers from it.”
Simply and significantly titled—as all her poems are—“To the Reader” talks to the reader as if they are flowers. In so many words, the poem tells the reader to take their pain and learn from it, however they need to.
They must take their pain and turn it into something beautiful, like flowers blooming. The poem is part of her collection Milk and Honey, published in 2014.
Milk and Honey follows Rupi Kaur’s journey through love, pain, and healing, with prominent themes such as femininity.
3. “Mist” by Henry David Thoreau
“The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of lakes and seas and rivers,—
Bear only perfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men’s fields.”
-Henry David Thoreau
“Mist” was published in Thoreau’s 1895 work Poems of Nature. The poem entails the simple beauty of water.
He describes these bodies of water as “healing herbs” suggesting that the peaceful nature of the water is healing—perhaps both physically and emotionally.
The poem may also be about the life cycle of mist, from the ground to the air. Thoreau was no stranger to philosophy, and has been known for contributing to existentialism and pragmatism.
Thoreau often wrote about nature and the human condition, and likely drew parallels between human life and the life of water, while also telling us we need to pay attention to the little beauties around us.
4. On the Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou
“But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow,
I will give you no hiding place down there.”
“On the Pulse of Morning” is often referred to as Maya Angelou’s autobiographical poem.
With the personification of the earth and themes of change and inclusion, it is no wonder that Angelou read her work at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, making her the second poet and first African American woman to do so.
“On the Pulse of Morning” is a reminder that we have not only a responsibility to this earth, but to one another.