Earth Day

mother and daughter reading outdoors is a great way to appreciate earth day poems
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13 Earth Day Poems That Will Inspire Your Kids To Love & Respect Nature

These sweet sonnets and haikus are the perfect odes to nature.

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There are few things more inspiring than nature, and many artists focus their work on the beauty of the natural world. These Earth Day poems are perfect to get your kids thinking about the world around them and how they can protect it. The short haikus and longer sonnets elicit different emotions and images.

Poetry is sometimes confusing for kids, though. When reading poetry with your kids, there’s some tips and tricks for helping them understand the poems. Ask your child to think about what images they see as they hear the poem. Focus on the sound and structure of the poem — the traits that make it different than prose. Does it rhyme? What images does a poem conjure up? What do you think inspired the poet to write it?

This collection of Earth Day poems for children and adults are great jumping off points for conversation about how amazing the earth is, what humans are doing to harm it, and what we can be doing to protect it. As part of your Earth Day celebrations, sit with your child and help them process the message the poet is trying to get across. Dissecting and discussing the symbolism wrapped within a poet’s words is all part of the magical poetry-reading process, after all.


“A Bird, Came Down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson was never famous during her lifetime, but her poetry has become wildly popular in the years since her death in 1886. This poem depicts quiet moments watching a bird.

A Bird, came down the Walk -

He did not know I saw -

He bit an Angle Worm in halves

And ate the fellow, raw,

And then, he drank a Dew

From a convenient Grass -

And then hopped sidewise to the Wall

To let a Beetle pass -

He glanced with rapid eyes,

That hurried all abroad -

They looked like frightened Beads,

I thought,He stirred his Velvet Head. -

Like one in danger, Cautious,

I offered him a Crumb,

And he unrolled his feathers,

And rowed him softer Home -

Than Oars divide the Ocean,

Too silver for a seam,

Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,

Leap, splashless as they swim.


Haiku by Kobayashi Issa

Haikus follow a particular pattern of five-seven-five syllables in three lines. Kobayashi Issa is one of the world’s most famous haiku poets, and this short and sweet Haiku is an ode to mountains and the sea.

The summer mountains.

At my every steps,

I could sea more.


“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

The first two lines of Kilmer’s poem might be familiar to you, but the entire piece takes you through a tree’s experience in all four seasons.

I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.


“Mother Earth” by Sophia E. Valdez

In this poem, Valdez doesn’t mince words as she writes about how humans are hurting this planet. She urges the reader to see how much pain humans are causing to the earth.

The land is in a constant state of birth,

Giving life to all who live on Earth.

Our carelessness and fears

Have taken a toll over the years.

Her land is parched and scorched

As man continues to light the torch.

We continue a want of speed and ease,

All while our pesticides kill off our bees.

It's time to wake up and see Mother Earth's pain.

Humanity's selfishness is becoming insane.

Soon her cries will turn to gloom,

And man will cause its own doom.


“Let’s Preserve our Nature” by Arjun

This piece highlights how it is our responsibility to preserve the planet for ourselves — and future generations.

The sun is shining

The sky is blue

The birds are flying

And the breeze is so cool.

Mother nature is trying her best

To give nothing but beautifulness

But what do we do?

Make her a mess.

Let’s make her the best

By polluting less and less

And preserve her green dress

For our kids and the rest.


“A Walk by the Sea” by Kristin Martin

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In this poem, Martin describes how the natural world can be a comfort and a friend — something little ones seem to intuitively understand.

I went for a walk alone by the sea

but the water kept me company.

I whispered to it

as I walked on its sand

and told it of all the things I planned.

It whispered to me

as I walked on its shore

and told me secrets from long before.

I went for a walk

with my friend the sea

and we kept each other company.


“Maytime Magic” by Mabel Watts

The simple stanzas of this poem are perfect for younger kids as the author describes the process of growing a flower.

A little seed

For me to sow…

A little earth

To make it grow…

A little hole,

A little pat…

A little wish,

And that is that.

A little sun,

A little shower…

A little while,

And then – a flower!


“Leave No Trace” by Maggie Dietz

“Leave No Trace” describes how important it is to not alter the natural world as we explore it. It is tempting to let kids collect things or kick over dead trees, but naturalists urge humans to leave no trace.

No gate, no main entrance, no ticket, no ranger. Not far

From where Frost once raised chickens and ill-fated children, near

Where the Old Man’s glacier-hewn face though bolstered to

Its godlike roost by rods and turnbuckles slid

From our fledgling millennium into oblivion,

You can cross the Pemigewasset on a bridge

Then, compass-north but southbound on the trail,

Ascend an old grassed-over logging road

To the carved out collarbone of Cannon Mountain.

This is Lonesome Lake. How you go from here

Depends on why you’ve come: to out a spruce grouse

Or listen for the whee-ah of a Bicknell’s thrush;

For a breezy picnic or a midlife crisis,

A long haul or a day trip to the cascades.

Bring for your purposes only what you need:

Salmon jerky, a canteen or Camelbak,

Band-aids, a ratchet and strap, a roughed-up heart.

Bring sunblock, a notebook, the Beatles, Beyoncé,

The Bhagavad Gita, a Bible, some Hitchens or Hegel.

However long you stay you must leave nothing.

No matchbox, no pole-tip, no grommet, no cup.

Carry in and out your Clif Bar wrappers,

Your fear of bears and storms. Keep the rage

You thought you’d push through your boot-soles into the stones,

The grief you hoped to shed. If you think you’ve changed,

Take all your changes with you.

If you lift

An arrowhead from the leaves, return it. Pocket

No pinecone, no pebble or faery root. Resist

The painted trillium even if its purple throat

Begs to be pressed between your trail guide’s pages.


“Earth Your Dancing Place” by May Swenson

This poem is a beautiful description of how to immerse yourself in nature and truly enjoy it, describing it as a whimsical ballroom for dancing.

Beneath heaven's vault

remember always walking

through halls of cloud

down aisles of sunlight

or through high hedges

of the green rain

walk in the world

highheeled with swirl of cape

hand at the swordhilt

of your pride

Keep a tall throat

Remain aghast at life

Enter each day

as upon a stage

lighted and waiting

for your step

Crave upward as flame

have keenness in the nostril

Give your eyes

to agony or rapture

Train your hands

as birds to be

brooding or nimble

Move your body

as the horses

sweeping on slender hooves

over crag and prairie

with fleeing manes

and aloofness of their limbs

Take earth for your own large room

and the floor of the earth

carpeted with sunlight

and hung round with silver wind

for your dancing place


“Rainy Days” by Imteyaz

This haiku is great for spring, as rainy days can hamper outdoor adventures, but it is so needed for of Mother Earth’s creatures to survive and thrive.

Rain means gloomy days

but sometimes for flowers to

grow they need tough love


“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

If you like poems about nature, chances are you’re familiar with Mary Oliver. She won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for her work, which was largely inspired by her solitary walks in the woods.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.


“The Heart of the Tree” by Henry Cuyler Bunner

You know that phrase about how he who plants a tree believes in the future? That’s sort of the gist of this poem by Henry Cuyler Bunner (a.k.a. H.C. Bunner).

What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants a friend of sun and sky;

He plants the flag of breezes free;

The shaft of beauty, towering high;

He plants a home to heaven anigh;

For song and mother-croon of bird

n hushed and happy twilight heard—

The treble of heaven's harmony—

These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants cool shade and tender rain,

And seed and bud of days to be,

And years that fade and flush again;

He plants the glory of the plain;

He plants the forest's heritage;

The harvest of a coming age;

The joy that unborn eyes shall see—

These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants, in sap and leaf and wood,

In love of home and loyalty

And far-cast thought of civic good—

His blessings on the neighborhood,

Who in the hollow of His hand

Holds all the growth of all our land—

A nation's growth from sea to sea

Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.


“To Make A Prairie” by Emily Dickinson

In her poem “To Make A Prairie,” Dickinson touches on something truly special about nature — the thing that makes it so beautiful, is our ability to enjoy and get lost in it.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,

One clover, and a bee.

And revery.

The revery alone will do,

If bees are few.

Whether your family is full of regular poetry readers or just beginning to explore the genre, these Earth Day poems highlight the beauty, drama and fragility of this planet. It’s so important to impart to our kids the urgent need to protect the earth, and Earth Day is the perfect day to start.

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