Inside: 21 beautifully famous summer poems that will get you ready for the heat waves.
Summer is my personal favorite season. While spring and fall bring the most beautiful gentle weather with a warm sun and a lovely breeze, I’m fully in love with the summer heat. If you’re new here, I was born and raised in Texas and while I don’t consider myself a country girl, I do consider myself a southern girl, and with that comes a love for warmer weather and the dear embrace of sunshine.
The fall offers a sweet relief from the intensity, but nothing compares to a gentle sunburn while hanging out with friends or family by the pool or on the lawn.
Outdoor concerts, pool days, and cool evening breezes hanging out on a patio with your best friends, and you have the best of all of the summer rituals.
These famous summer poems really take me to a brighter and sunnier mental space that makes me feel so relaxed and ready to get going this summer. I want to plan a vacation, I want to sit by the pool with a book.
Let these summer poems take you to a happy summer place mentally and get you ready for the fun and exciting summer months ahead!
Even if you’re not a fan of the heat and would prefer to be indoors in the air conditioning (I don’t blame you, it can get intense sometimes!) There’s a great sense of adventure that comes with summer.
As I’ve gotten older and into my mid-twenties, though my life stopped revolving around semesters and school schedules, there’s still something so fun and exciting about summer. The wonder and the thrill of the idea of these hot months don’t dwindle, and I love to embrace the adventure and fun that is so encapsulated by summer.
Get excited and get ready for summer with these summer poems.
Common Summer Poem Themes
Summer is a pretty common subject among different poets and their poetry– it’s a beautiful season that carries so much hope and thrill, and honestly makes us all feel like children again. It’s a lovely reminder of a child-like freedom before responsibilities and “adulting” took over our lives. The beauty of sunshine is unlike anything else, even in nature, so it’s just an all around beautiful season to enjoy as a kid and as an adult.
It inspires so much poetry, but what are some of the most common summer themes among poets? Naturally there are tons and tons of poems about patriotism with Independence Day being in the dead middle of summer, as well as summer vacations, summer love, and the beautiful feeling of a soft summer breeze.
Poetry really is a reminder of some of the most subtle and stunning aspects of life that we have created a nasty habit of overlooking all too often. So as you dive into these poems, let them be reminders of the beauty of the different pleasures of life.
Remember a little summer fling and don’t forget to embrace the unmatched feeling of a gentle summer breeze on your shoulder and through your hair as the day goes on and you wander outside into the heat for even a moment.
What Makes A Poem Famous
The word famous is pretty subjective, but a famous poem is pretty well defined.
With quotes and snippets being shared all over the internet all the time and in every way, I like to say that if you could find a brief piece of it on Pinterest, I would consider it famous. Now, if you’re more into the classics of poetry and not the social media versions and definitions, I would say that if you’re familiar with the poet and it’s one of their most popular works that comes to mind, that would make it pretty famous in my book!
Famous Summer Poems
1. Back Yard
Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.
An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.
A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month;
to-night they are throwing you kisses.
An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a
cherry tree in his back yard.
The clocks say I must go—I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking
white thoughts you rain down.
Shine on, O moon,
Shake out more and more silver changes.
by Carl Sandburg
2. 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?
by Robert Louis Stevenson
3. 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;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
by William Shakespeare
4. A Summer Poem
Over the soughing of the sombre wind
priests chant louder than ever;
the mouth of India opens.
Crocodiles move into deeper waters.
Mornings of heated middens
smoke under the sun.
The good wife
lies in my bed
through the long afternoon;
dreaming still, unexhausted
by the deep roar of funeral pyres.
by Jayanta Mahapatra
5. Sappho 31
He seems like the gods’ equal, that man, who
ever he is, who takes his seat so close
across from you, and listens raptly to
your lilting voice
and lovely laughter, which, as it wafts by,
sets the heart in my ribcage fluttering;
as soon as I glance at you a moment, I
can’t say a thing,
and my tongue stiffens into silence, thin
flames underneath my skin prickle and spark,
a rush of blood booms in my ears, and then
my eyes go dark,
and sweat pours coldly over me, and all
my body shakes, suddenly sallower
than summer grass, and death, I fear and feel,
is very near.
by Chris Childers
6. Morning side Heights, July
Haze. Three student violists boarding
a bus. A clatter of jackhammers.
Granular light. A film of sweat for primer
and the heat for a coat of paint.
A man and a woman on a bench:
she tells him he must be psychic,
for how else could he sense, even before she knew,
that she’d need to call it off? A bicyclist
fumes by with a coach’s whistle clamped
hard between his teeth, shrilling like a teakettle
on the boil. I never meant, she says.
But I thought, he replies. Two cabs almost
collide; someone yells fuck in Farsi.
I’m sorry, she says. The comforts
of loneliness fall in like a bad platoon.
The sky blurs—there’s a storm coming
up or down. A lank cat slinks liquidly
around a corner. How familiar
it feels to feel strange, hollower
than a bassoon. A rill of chill air
in the leaves. A car alarm. Hail.
by William Matthews
7. On the Move
The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows
Some hidden purpose, and the gust of birds
That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows,
Has nested in the trees and undergrowth.
Seeking their instinct, or their poise, or both,
One moves with an uncertain violence
Under the dust thrown by a baffled sense
Or the dull thunder of approximate words.
On motorcycles, up the road, they come:
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boys,
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh.
In goggles, donned impersonality,
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust,
They strap in doubt – by hiding it, robust –
And almost hear a meaning in their noise.
Exact conclusion of their hardiness
Has no shape yet, but from known whereabouts
They ride, direction where the tyres press.
They scare a flight of birds across the field:
Much that is natural, to the will must yield.
Men manufacture both machine and soul,
And use what they imperfectly control
To dare a future from the taken routes.
It is a part solution, after all.
One is not necessarily discord
On earth; or damned because, half animal,
One lacks direct instinct, because one wakes
Afloat on movement that divides and breaks.
One joins the movement in a valueless world,
Choosing it, till, both hurler and the hurled,
One moves as well, always toward, toward.
A minute holds them, who have come to go:
The self-defined, astride the created will
They burst away; the towns they travel through
Are home for neither bird nor holiness,
For birds and saints complete their purposes.
At worst, one is in motion; and at best,
Reaching no absolute, in which to rest,
One is always nearer by not keeping still.
by Them Gunn
Best Poetry For Warm Months
8. Sumer is i-cumin in
Sing, cuccu, nu. Sing, cuccu.
Sing, cuccu. Sing, cuccu, nu.
Sumer is i-cumin in—
Lhude sing, cuccu!
Groweth sed and bloweth med
And springth the wude nu.
Awe bleteth after lomb,
Lhouth after calve cu,
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth—
Murie sing, cuccu!
Wel singes thu, cuccu.
Ne swik thu naver nu!
9. The Woman Who Turned Down a Date with a Cherry Farmer
Of course I regret it. I mean there I was under umbrellas of fruit
so red they had to be borne of Summer, and no other season.
Flip-flops and fishhooks. Ice cubes made of lemonade and sprigs
of mint to slip in blue glasses of tea. I was dusty, my ponytail
all askew and the tips of my fingers ran, of course, red
from the fruitwounds of cherries I plunked into my bucket
and still—he must have seen some small bit of loveliness
in walking his orchard with me. He pointed out which trees
were sweetest, which ones bore double seeds—puffing out
the flesh and oh the surprise on your tongue with two tiny stones
(a twin spit), making a small gun of your mouth. Did I mention
my favorite color is red? His jeans were worn and twisty
around the tops of his boot; his hands thick but careful,
nimble enough to pull fruit from his trees without tearing
the thin skin; the cherry dust and fingerprints on his eyeglasses.
I just know when he stuffed his hands in his pockets, said
Okay. Couldn’t hurt to try? and shuffled back to his roadside stand
to arrange his jelly jars and stacks of buckets, I had made
a terrible mistake. I just know my summer would’ve been
full of pies, tartlets, turnovers—so much jubilee.
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
10. Still Life
been included in
the weather, whose
changes (as in the
darknesses of after
noon) were hardly
evident, if even
manifest at all.
The August rain
& the deadening
of all aspect
at a distance:
yet our sudden
wet bodies, firm
finally of shirts
& trousers, left
the tiled floor;
this tongue, these
lips the lightning
over the unchartered
landscape of your
terra nova to
resist the still
life of the body
by Roberto Tejada
11. Country Summer
Now the rich cherry, whose sleek wood,
And top with silver petals traced
Like a strict box its gems encased,
Has spilt from out that cunning lid,
All in an innocent green round,
Those melting rubies which it hid;
With moss ripe-strawberry-encrusted,
So birds get half, and minds lapse merry
To taste that deep-red, lark’s-bite berry,
And blackcap bloom is yellow-dusted.
The wren that thieved it in the eaves
A trailer of the rose could catch
To her poor droopy sloven thatch,
And side by side with the wren’s brood—
O lovely time of beggar’s luck—
Opens the quaint and hairy bud;
And full and golden is the yield
Of cows that never have to house,
But all night nibble under boughs,
Or cool their sides in the moist field.
Into the rooms flow meadow airs,
The warm farm baking smell’s blown round.
Inside and out, and sky and ground
Are much the same; the wishing star,
Hesperus, kind and early born,
Is risen only finger-far;
All stars stand close in summer air,
And tremble, and look mild as amber;
When wicks are lighted in the chamber,
They are like stars which settled there.
Now straightening from the flowery hay,
Down the still light the mowers look,
Or turn, because their dreaming shook,
And they waked half to other days,
When left alone in the yellow stubble
The rusty-coated mare would graze.
Yet thick the lazy dreams are born,
Another thought can come to mind,
But like the shivering of the wind,
Morning and evening in the corn.
by Leonie Adams
12. At Noon
The thick-walled room’s cave-darkness,
cool in summer, soothes
by saying, This is the truth, not the taut
Rest here, out of the flame—the thick air’s
stirred by the fan’s four
slow-moving spoons; under the house the stone
has its feet in deep water.
Outside, even the sun god, dressed in this life
as a lizard, abruptly rises
on stiff legs and descends blasé toward the shadows.
by Reginald Gibbons
13. More Than Enough
The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.
The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly
new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.
by Marge Piercy
14. One With The Sun
one with the sun
in trackless fields
of yellow grass and thistle, scent
of humid heavy air and the wing music
of bees and flies.
nakedness to itself unknown,
true colour of the light
or glowing around the black hulls
of distant thunderheads, around
the grasshopper’s countenance,
solemn, vigilant and wise.
Green apples, poured full
of density, of crispness, float unmoved
under leaves on the slope. Brown
fallen apples nest
in secret whorls of grass. The apple tree:
alone in so much space. And below
in the woods by the water
a sweet dead branch
in the shadow in the wind.
But here is an old track
through the grass head-high
to a child: who
made it? They must have
passed and passed by this one tree,
by the abandoned, tireless car
where rabbits peer out, and the circle
of black embers,
cans, springs, skeletons
of furniture. They too
passed here many times
on their way from the street’s end
to the oaks that screen
the river. There
the sun is nesting now, night
rises with pale flutterings
of white wings from roots
of plants and the black water.
by A.F. Moritz
Famous Poems About Summertime Fun
15. In the Mushroom Summer
Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.
The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go—
long needles scratching cloud. I’d summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.
Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.
by David Mason
Adrift in the liberating, late light
of August, delicate, frivolous,
they make their way to my front porch
and flutter near the glassed-in bulb,
translucent as a thought suddenly
wondered aloud, illumining the air
that’s thick with honeysuckle and dusk.
You and I are doing our best
at conversation, keeping it light, steering clear
of what we’d like to say.
You leave, and the night becomes
cluttered with moths, some tattered,
their dumbly curious filaments
startling against my cheek. How quickly,
instinctively, I brush them away.
Dazed, they cling to the outer darkness
like pale reminders of ourselves.
Others seem to want so desperately
to get inside. Months later, I’ll find
the woolens, snug in their resting places,
full of missing pieces.
by Jennifer O’Grady
17. On the Grasshopper and Cricket
The Poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.
by John Keats
19. Long Island Sound
I see it as it looked one afternoon
In August,— by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.
by Emma Lazarus
20. In Summer
Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.
And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.
I envy the farmer’s boy
Who sings as he follows the plow;
While the shining green of the young blades lean
To the breezes that cool his brow.
He sings to the dewy morn,
No thought of another’s ear;
But the song he sings is a chant for kings
And the whole wide world to hear.
He sings of the joys of life,
Of the pleasures of work and rest,
From an o’erfull heart, without aim or art;
‘T is a song of the merriest.
O ye who toil in the town,
And ye who moil in the mart,
Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong
Shall renew your joy of heart.
Oh, poor were the worth of the world
If never a song were heard,—
If the sting of grief had no relief,
And never a heart were stirred.
So, long as the streams run down,
And as long as the robins trill,
Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,
And sing in the face of ill.
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
21. For Once, Then, Something
Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.
by Robert Frost
Whatever your favorite season is, there is truly something so special to be appreciated about each one. Rarely a month goes by without there being some sort of special occasion, holiday, or celebration of some sort. Even the most subtle months have something going on, and there’s something to get excited about.
Most of summer feels like a party, mostly due to the way that we treated the three months of summer vacation while in school growing up. Summer vacations, pool parties, and everything in between, the relaxation and overall good vibes of the summer season is strong. And these poems are bringing the same vibes to you as well.
If these famous summer poems didn’t put you in vacation mode already, surely these poems about flying away will!
Just getting in the summer mood is enough of a vacation from the usual stress of the hustle and grind, and just simply soaking up some vitamin D in the sunshine. There’s no better feeling!