There are various nature poems. It is impossible to mention all of them on the list as there are hundreds of poems on the theme of nature. However, these ten best nature poems have been selected on the criteria of their being short, direct, and to the point describing or praising nature, along with the use of literary devices. The other set of long nature poems will be put into another article. The ten simple and best nature poems are as follows in our ranking.
To a Butterfly by William Wordsworth
This short and beautiful nature poem by none other than William Wordsworth, the greatest English poet of nature. It is undoubtedly one of the best nature poems in English Literature. It was first published in 1807. It comprises two stanzas with each having nine verses. The first stanza opens with the poet’s amazement at the beautiful butterfly hovering on their flowers. He describes that he watched its movements for several moments and is surprised at its dexterity in keeping itself poised. However, when she moves away, Wordsworth calls it to have peace here in their little garden of his sister where the butterfly could hold a conversation with the poet and his sister. The rhyme scheme in some lines, some repetitions, some alliterations, and expressions of nostalgia have made it a super poem to be ranked first. Some of its memorable verses are as follows.
- I’ve watched you now a full half-hour.
- I know not if you sleep or feed.
- Here lodge as in a sanctuary.
Stopping by Woods by Robert Frost
This short poem has four stanzas and sixteen verses. It is well-known for its simplicity, directness, mention of the seductive power of nature, and repetitive poetic resolution to leave it. Robert Frost, the great American poet, penned this poem in 1922 and despite having passed centuries in schools, the poem has not lost its freshness, its charm, and its clarity. The poem and his horse are in the middle of a forest during the longest night of the year with snow falling and his profession calling the poet. He knows the master of the forest as well as his own promises. Thus, he mentions that he has to go and leave nature as it is. The use of rhyme scheme, simple diction, and connotations has made this poem a treat to read. Some of its best verses are as follows.
- Whose woods these are I think I know.
- My little horse must think it queer.
- He gives his harness bells a shake.
- But I have promises to keep / And miles to go before I sleep.
The Brook by Lord Alfred Tennyson
This poem or ballad by Tennyson, published in 1886, is one of the best nature poems and is ranked third in our ranking of the best nature poems on account of the narrative in it, the narrator, the use of natural objects, and the travel of the narrator in the presence of nature. The narrator presents his journey toward a valley where he walks on a river and enjoys its nature. The use of internal rhyme scheme, external rhyme scheme, first-person narrator, and repetition of full stanzas with anaphoric reflection. Some of the best verses of the poem are as follows.
- For men may come and men may go, / But I go on for ever.
- I chatter over stony ways.
- I chatter, chatter, as I flow / To join the brimming river.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
This short poem with four stanzas was first published in 1807. It is indeed one of the best nature poems and popular in spite of the lack of nature’s beauty as compared to the other poem by Wordsworth. The poem states how the poet observes a lonely cloud and then his eyes see a crowd of daffodils. This brings him to see this beautiful company that he enjoys the most to the point that it stays in his mind and whenever he is fed up with the world around him, he just reminds that scene and enjoys it. The use of metaphors and repetition has made it a superb poem. Some of its best verses are as follows.
- I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
- Continuous as the stars that shine.
- Tossing their heads in a sprightly dance.
- And then my heart with pleasure fills.
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
The poem Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost is one of the best nature poems, the reason it is included in the list. It was first published in 1923. In just eight lines and a single stanza, Robert Frost has shown how nature has traveled a long way from being gold to green and from being static to dynamic. The use of metaphors and personification has given this poem a unique touch as well as music. It has some memorable phrases as well as allusions, features of denotations, and connotations. The best verses from the poem are as follows.
- Her early life’s a flower.
- Then leaf subsides to leaf.
- Nothing Gold Can Stay.
Wind on the Hill by A. A. Milne
This simple and direct poem by A. A. Milne opens with the quizzical attitude of knowing where the north wind comes from and he knows that nobody has this answer to the natural phenomenon. He states that he cannot keep his pace with the wind but it moves his kite to fly higher and higher and he enjoys it. Yet he asserts that he knows where it goes but does not know where it comes from. The poet has tried to present the wind as a metaphor through rhyming stanzas. Some of the best verses of the poem are as follows.
- Where the wind comes from / Where the wind goes.
- I should know that the wind / Had been going there too.
- But where the wind comes from / Nobody knows.
Fly Away, Fly Away Over the Sea by Christina Rossetti
Although the title of the poem is quite long as compared to the actual length of the poem, it has no impact on the readers. One of the best nature poems was written by Christina Rossetti. This poem sets the new trend of writing short nature poems. The poem is studded with literary devices such as repetition in the first stanza, consonance in the second line as well as alliteration in the second, and then again the repetition of the same devices. This beautiful use of devices has made this poem a treat for the readers. It has just a single stanza having four best lines.
- Fly away, fly away over the sea.
- Sun-loving swallow, for summer is done.
- Come again, come again, come back to me.
- Bringing the summer and bringing the sun
Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson
This short poem was published in 1913, has three stanzas, and was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. This poem has set records for being a short nature poem. Although considered hot and sulky, the summer season has been shown as a season of enjoyment and entertainment. It has its own smoke in the shape of bonfires and its own signs such as towers of smoke. The poet ends the poem on the note that it has its own flowers and fires. The use of metaphors and similes has also added to the beauty of the poem. Some of the best verses of the poem are as follows.
- From the autumn bonfires / Se the smoke trail.
- The red fire blazes / The grey smoke towers.
- Flowers in the summer / Fires in the fall.
The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
This short poem by Thomas Hardy was published in 1900. With just three stanzas and each having eight lines, the poet has beautifully presented the sketch of a bird undergoing seasonal changes. He describes the frosty season, severe winter, and arrival of the evening and their impacts on the thrush that is undergoing this suffering though everybody is at home. The description of the sharp features of the land, and the affected voice of the thrush paint another otherwise picture of nature. The beauty of the poetic output lies in the use of metaphors and similes as well as in phrases such as bine-stems, full-hearted, and last-be ruffled. Some of its best verses are as follows.
- And all mankind that haunted night / Had sought heir household fires.
- The ancient pulse of germ and birth.
- And aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small.
There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale
This short poem of 12 lines written in a heroic couplet paints a beautiful picture of the rainy weather when frogs, robins, and all other creatures come in the open and enjoy the rain. The beauty of the poem lies in its metaphors and description through images. Thus included in the list of the best nature poems. However, the interesting thing is that the poet has linked nature with mankind in the end and has personified Spring. Some of the best verses of this poem are as follows.
- Ther will come soft rains and the smell of the ground.
- Robins will wear their feathery fire.
- And not one will know of the war, not one.