The Spring Is Sprung: Verses and Poetry About Springtime
Who Wrote The Spring is Sprung, The Grass is Riz?
There's a kid’s rhyme starting with the words The Spring is Sprung that I always recite when springtime arrives. I’m sure it (or a variation) is well known to many of you. No-one knows who wrote the lines although some people link it to the poet Ogden Nash. However it predates him and is a far older piece of nonsense doggerel written by the prolific author Anonymous.
The link with Ogden Nash comes because he published a poem entitled “Spring Comes to Murray Hill” in The New Yorker magazine dated 3rd May 1930. His poem is also nonsense doggerel, but that’s where the similarity with The Spring is Sprung ends. Nash's poem begins with the lines;
I sit in an office at 244 Madison Avenue
And say to myself You have a responsible job havenue?
Why then do you fritter away your time on this doggerel?
If you have a sore throat you can cure it by using a good goggeral
The Spring is Sprung Rhyme by Anonymous (Not Ogden Nash)
The spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the boidie is.
They say the boidie’s on the wing.
But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird.
Translation of the rhyme into Standard English
Spring is here and the grass has grown.
I wonder where the bird is hiding?
They say the bird is “on the wing” (flying).
But that’s absurd. (It’s the other way around.) The wing is on the bird.
Does the arrival spring make you feel different
Spring Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins
When Spring arrives, I always feel more energetic. Fresh winds blow the cobwebs away and I can start on new tasks with enthusiasm. Many poets feel the same way. The Victorian English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, describes the wonder and newness of nature in his poem, Spring. However, he warns that innocence ends as the year matures.
This poem is often studied as an example of great English Victorian poetry. Manley Hopkins uses imagery and alliteration to celebrate the arrival of spring. Listen to the video below and enjoy listening to the poetry's rhythm and the music in the words.
From “Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1899)
“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 lightning to hear him sing;
The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.”
Spring an Animation of the Hopkins Poem
William Shakespeare Writes about Love
The English bard William Shakespeare has written many sonnets and poems that allude to spring and its effects on young lovers. In this poem he explains the reason for the cuckoo’s cry.
The cukoo is mocking married men who are no longer free and single. They are thus unable to choose freely from the available women. He is also hinting that some men may find themselves cuckolded in the spring.
From “Spring” in Love’s Labors Lost by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo: Oh word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!"
William Wordsworth Wanders Lonely as a Cloud
The poem that is the best at conjuring up a picture of an English springtime is one by William Wordsworth. Known as one of the “Lakeland” poets, Wordsworth’s poems are usually set in the English Lake District. The poem describes the beauty of seeing a field full of daffodils with their head nodding in the spring breeze.
From “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”
Fox Cubs Enjoy Spring in the Garden
Robert Browning and All’s Right with the World
Spring is the season when all seems right with the world. There is a feeling of hope and renewal in the air. Robert Browning sums it up beautifully in Pippa’s Song.
From Pippa’s Song in “Pippa Passes” by Robert Browning (1812-1889)
"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!”
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
I can't leave the subject of Spring without mentioning my favorite Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. He was just 39 years old when he died, but his creative output was huge. He wrote plays and fiction as well as poetry. He was one of the literary giants of the 20th century.
Here is the first part of "Here in the Spring" by Dylan Thomas.
"Here in this spring, stars float along the void;
Here in this ornamental winter
Down pelts the naked weather;
This summer buries a spring bird.
Symbols are selected from the years'
Slow rounding of four seasons' coasts,
In autumn teach three seasons' fires
And four birds' notes."