Welcome to Week Two of National Poetry Month. The four seasons of the year are the subjects of many different types of poetry from traditional sonnets to exuberant free verse sprawled out across the page. So to start this week we are sharing two poems by American poets from the past.
The first poem is by Amy Lowell (1874-1925). A Pulitzer Prize winner for her poetry collection, What’s O’Clock, Lowell is associated with the early 20th Century Imagist Movement, which sought to use precise, colloquial language and concrete imagery in lieu of traditional poetic diction and meter. Compared with the second poem we’re posting by E.E. Cummings, however, to our twenty-first century ears it sounds very traditional, until you compare it to last week’s poem posting by William Shakespeare.
To an Early Daffodil
By Amy Lowell
Thou yellow trumpeter of laggard Spring!
Thou herald of rich Summer’s myriad flowers!
The climbing sun with new recovered powers
Does warm thee into being, through the ring
Of rich, brown earth he woos thee, makes thee fling
Thy green shoots up, inheriting the dowers
Of bending sky and sudden, sweeping showers,
Till ripe and blossoming thou art a thing
To make all nature glad, thou art so gay;
To fill the lonely with a joy untold;
Nodding at every gust of wind to-day,
To-morrow jewelled with raindrops. Always bold
To stand erect, full in the dazzling play
Of April’s sun, for thou hast caught his gold.
The second poet, E.E. Cummings ( 1984-1962) was one of the most popular poets of the twentieth century. Challenging the established approach to words on a page, Cummings experimented with form and language to create a distinct personal style. The exhilaration of the change in seasons is transmitted by his merging certain words together and distancing others in a poem that shouts out to be read aloud.
By E.E. Cummings
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and