Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter: Poems, Quotes, and Metaphors for the Four Seasons
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
How Are the Seasons Determined?
Around the world the year is divided into four seasons--spring, summer, autumn (fall), and winter.
The date on which each season begins depends on whether you are using the astronomical divisions or the meteorological divisions. It also depends on which hemisphere, the northern or the southern, you are referencing. (The seasons are opposite in the two hemispheres.)
The meteorological seasons are based on weather conditions, temperatures, and the length of the day as determined by the number of hours between sunrise and sunset.
The astronomical seasons are based on the date of the equinoxes and the solstices, which are determined by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The date varies slightly from year to year.
The solstices mark the longest and shortest days (hours of sunlight on Earth). The equinoxes mark the day when the hours of sunlight begin to increase or decrease.
Most countries in the world divide the seasons as shown in the chart below.
Northern Hemisphere (Southern)
March 1 to May 31
March equinox (which occurs on 3/20 to 3/23) to June solstice
Sun moves north over celestial equator
June 1 to August 31
June solstice (which occurs on June 20 to 22 ) to September equinox
Sun is furthest from equator with axis tilted toward sun
September 1 to November 30
September equinox (which occurs on 9/21 to 9/24) to December solstice
Earth's axis is perpendicular to an imaginary line from center of Earth to the sun
December 1 to February 28 (29 in a Leap Year)
December solstice (which occurs on 12/20 to 12/23) to March equinox
Sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn
Note: In Ireland, the seasons are divided according to the Celtic calendar: spring begins on February 1, summer begins May 1, autumn begins August 1, and winter begins November 1.
What Are Some Thoughts About Spring?
Spring is a time of transition. The cold has not yet entirely gone; the warmth has not yet entirely arrived.
Spring may be the most eagerly awaited season. After the harsh winter weather of cold temperatures, snow and ice, dormancy, and darkness, the arrival of spring signals rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, revitalization, and resurrection. It is a time of hope and joyfulness, a time of beginnings, a time of energy and vigor.
No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.— African Proverb
Robin Williams (Actor, director, comedian)
Spring is Nature’s way of saying, “Let’s Party.”
Virgil (Ancient Roman poet)
Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.
Alfred Lord Tennyson (Poet, quoted from “Locksley Hall”)
In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
William Shakespeare (Playwright and poet)
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
Thomas Blackburn (Author, songwriter, quoted from "An Easter Hymn")
Awake, thou wintry earth-
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
Robert Frost (Poet)
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
Charles Dickens (Author)
Spring is the time of the year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.
While most people greet spring with joy, some take a more melancholy view. T.S. Eliot began his poem “The Wasteland," by calling April “the cruelest month” because the hope that is awakened in spring may be false hope that may never be realized. Winter numbs and buries our pain; spring brings the possibility of disappointment.
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
You can find poems about spring on the Poetry Foundation website.
What Are Some Thoughts About Summer?
Summer is glorious. It is associated with abundance, fulfillment, and happiness.
It’s a time to enjoy walks in the park, picnics in a field, a hike in the woods, a day at the beach. The sun is hot; the days are long; the earth is bursting with color and life. The flirtations of spring ripen into the romances of summer.
The heat brings a feeling of languidness. We give ourselves permission to be a little lazy. It is the season of summer vacations.
If there is any problem with summer, it is too short. As William Shakespeare said, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
Summertime and the living is easy.— George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess
William Shakespeare (Playwright and poet, quoted from Sonnet 18)
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Kellie Elmore (Author)
I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanky.
James Russell Lowell (Poet)
What is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.
Ada Louise Huxtable (Writer)
Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.
Aristotle (Ancient Greek philosopher)
One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.
John Lubbock (Baron, banker, naturalist)
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
Robert Louis Stevenson: Bed in Summer
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
James Dent (Writer)
A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
FALL / AUTUMN
What Are Some Thoughts About Autumn?
Autumn is a season of mixed emotions. The season is tinged with the sadness of the passing of summer, yet full of rejoicing for the harvest. The joys of the season are all the more keenly felt because we know that winter will soon hold us in its icy jaws.
It is a time to savor the last few days of pleasant weather before winter overtakes the world. The sometimes oppressive heat of summer gives way to the crisp clear days of fall. There is the last burst of warmth with Indian Summer and then the days get progressively colder. The flowers have faded, but for a few short weeks autumn brightens with its own riotous color as the leaves turn from green to gold, orange, and red. When the leaves fall from the trees, winter begins in earnest.
Autumn is the hush before winter.— French Proverb
Faith Baldwin (Author)
Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.
Thomas Moore (Irish poet and songwriter)
Yet the vineyard’s ruby treasures
Brighten Autumn’s sob’rer time
Albert Camus (Author)
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Samuel Butler (Author)
Autumn is the mellower season,
and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.
John Greenleaf Whittier (Poet)
Once more the liberal year laughs out
O'er richer stores than gems or gold:
Once more with harvest song and shout
Is nature's boldest triumph told.
Shiki (Japanese poet)
autumn is leaving -
tugging each others' branches
two pine trees
A Children’s Song of the 1880’s
Come, said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o'er the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.
I Love Fall (Author Unknown)
I love fall! Fall is exciting.
It's apples and cider.
It's an airborne spider.
It's pumpkins in bins.
It's burrs on dog's chins.
It's wind blowing leaves.
It's chilly red knees.
It's nuts on the ground.
It's a crisp dry sound.
It's green leaves turning
And the smell of them burning.
It's clouds in the sky.
It's fall. That's why...
I love fall.
What Are Some Thoughts About Winter?
Winter is a time of dormancy. In winter it may seem like all of nature is dead and lifeless, but the world is merely resting. Beneath the surface life persists, awaiting the spring, when it will once again burst forth. The world rests and so does the human soul. Winter is a time for quiet contemplation; a time to slow down and conserve one’s energy.
Winter has a stark kind of beauty. All of nature is stripped down to its bare bones. It's a still life painted in white and grey.
Winter is a test of endurance. Sometimes, it feels like the only good thing about winter is that it eventually ends and is followed by spring.
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?— Percy Bysshe Shelley
Andrew Wyeth (Painter)
[In winter] you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.
John Updike (Writer, "A Child’s Calendar: January")
The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
Edith Sitwell (Poet)
Winter is the time for comfort, for
good food and warmth, for the touch
of a friendly hand and for a talk beside
the fire: it is the time for home.
Ogden Nash (Poet)
Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.
Just for fun...
Which is your favorite season?
Poets, past and present, celebrate the seasons. This anthology includes some of the best-known and best-loved poets such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, Keats, Blake, Hopkins, Elizabeth Bishop, Ted Hughes, Amy Clampitt, Mary Oliver, and W. S. Merwin.
Do you have a favorite season or do you feel, like Thomas Moore, the Irish poet and songwriter, that “Every season hath its pleasures.”?
William Browne (Poet)
There is no season such delight can bring,
As summer, autumn, winter and the spring.
Yoko Ono (Singer, songwriter, artist)
Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
You can find more poems about each of the seasons at The Poetry Foundation. Just enter the season you are interested in into the search box.
© 2015 Catherine Giordano