I teach creative writing and love helping my students improve their technique.
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 American 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 goggerel.
The Spring is Sprung Rhyme by Anonymous (Not Ogden Nash)
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz
I wonder where the boidies is
They say the boid is on the wing
But that's absoid, the wing is on the boid!
What Does Grass is Riz Mean? Translation into Standard English
Spring is here and the grass has grown.
I wonder where the birds are 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!
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 lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree 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's 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!” O, 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-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!
Robert Frost's A Prayer in Spring
The American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) is perhaps best known for his poems "The Road Not Taken" and "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening". He wrote many other poems about rural life, one of which "A Prayer in Spring", captures his love of nature and his belief in God.
Robert Frost's A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) Here in the Spring
I cannot leave the subject of Spring without including 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 a literary giant of the 20th century.
"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.
I should tell summer from the trees, the worms
Tell, if at all, the winter's storms
Or the funeral of the sun;
I should learn spring by the cuckooing,
And the slug should teach me destruction.
A worm tells summer better than the clock,
The slug's a living calendar of days;
What shall it tell me if a timeless insect
Says the world wears away?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.