Celebrating Spring through Verse

Apr 17, 2023 | Posted by Jennifer

Are you tired of the cold? Are you looking for some warmth and sunshine to lighten and brighten your day? Spring has sprung! While the temperature outside may not quite yet acknowledge it, eventually the cold will relent and yield to the inexorable approach of the sun’s warming rays. Poets love to put pen to paper to write about the seasons, and spring is no exception. At the end of the post, there is a link to enter a drawing to win a free Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization program. Three copies will be awarded. The drawing will be held on Monday, May 31.

Poems pack a lot of punch. Each word and every punctuation mark in a poem is carefully selected by the poet to support the theme. In some ways, the shorter the poem, the finer the wordsmithing. Below are two samples of classic poems that you can share with your students. One is from British poet Robert Louis Stevenson, and the other is from American poet Robert Frost. While this blog post is on the long side, don’t feel as if you need to tackle it all in one sitting. Read about the first poem one day and then later on read about the second.

Pull these selections out when you need a change of pace in your instructional day. After each poem are some questions that you can ponder with your students. Feel free to only select the ones that pique your interest, or alternatively, you can spread the learning out over the week by covering one or two elements a day. Keep it light and lively! Discussing the poems together is fun and also strengthens your students’ comprehension and appreciation for the art.

The first poem is very brief and is sure to delight even the youngest learners.



by Robert Louis Stevenson


The rain is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.


Background Information

Knowing a bit about the person behind the pen adds color and context to that poet’s works. Take a bit of time to look up who Robert Louis Stevenson was. When and where did he live? What were some of his life experiences? How do you think those experiences contributed to his writing? Perhaps his most well-known collection of poetry is A Child’s Garden of Verses, in which this selection was published. In addition to poetry, he also penned novels including Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Maybe take some time to explore more of his pieces. Some of his poems can be found in Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.

Poetic Structure

As you discuss the poem with your students, consider the rhyming pattern. In this case the pattern is ABCB. Lines two and four rhyme. An advanced activity is to look at the poem’s scansion. Scansion is a way to examine the structure of the poem, and one element of the structure is to consider which syllables are stressed and which are unstressed in a line of verse. Let’s look at the first line, which has eight syllables. Accented syllables are marked by a wand (/). Unaccented syllables are marked by a cup (◡). Can you mark the remaining lines?













Literary Devices, Vocabulary, and Analysis

The vocabulary Stevenson used is simple, and most children will have no problem understanding the words. That frees the instructor to focus on other elements in the poem. What sort of visual picture does the poet create? What about word repetition? The title of the poem is “Rain,” and he uses the same word or a variation of the word (“raining”), including the title, four times. How does its repetition contribute to the imagery? Consider the sound. How would rain falling on “field and tree” differ from the sound of rain on umbrellas, ships, or water? Examine Stevenson’s use of alliteration. Line 2 reads “It falls on field and tree.” How does the alliteration contribute to the musical quality of the poem? Assonance also appears in the same line. How does the combination of the two devices increase the poetic power of that portion?

Let’s take a look at a slightly longer poem next.


Spring Pools

by Robert Frost


These pools that, though in forests, still reflect

The total sky almost without defect,

And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,

Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,

And yet not out by any brook or river,

But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.


The trees that have it in their pent-up buds

To darken nature and be summer woods--

Let them think twice before they use their powers

To blot out and drink up and sweep away

These flowery waters and these watery flowers

From snow that melted only yesterday.


Background Information

One of America’s most recognized and revered poets, Robert Frost spent most of his life in New England. Over his lifetime he won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry. His poems remain widely read and enjoyed to this day. Some of his more famous pieces include “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” both of which are included in Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. You can learn more about the poet by visiting this website.

Poetic Structure

Frost’s two-stanza poem follows a more complex structure than Stevenson’s “Rain.” It is arranged as a sestet—a poem with stanzas of six lines. Sestets are typically found in the latter portion of sonnets although that is not always the case. The rhyme scheme follows this pattern: AABCBC DDEFEF.

Literary Devices, Vocabulary, and Analysis

A bit more is happening in this poem. Let’s consider a few things. After the initial reading, go back through it, defining words that are not commonly used. Some vocabulary your students may need help understanding include defect, brook, foliage, and blot. Examine some of the literary devices Frost employs. One is personification. Line 3 of the first stanza states “And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver.” What is performing these actions? Not only the flowers but the pools as well. In the second stanza we read “Let them think twice before they use their powers.” What should think twice? Can you locate any other examples of personification?

Imagery is packed into these lines. Frost describes the sky as “almost without defect” and trees with “pent-up buds.” What would that look like? What feeling do you get when you read the phrase “pent-up”? How does that contribute to what is occuring in the poem?

Additionally, look for repetition. In the first stanza the phrase “like the flowers beside them” is repeated twice in close succession. Just as in “Rain” there are instances of alliteration (“These pools that, though in forests, still reflect / The total sky almost without defect”). Line 11 contains beautiful description: “These flowery waters and these watery flowers.” Repetition, rhyme, and alliteration are replete in that small span. How do these devices contribute to the poem?

What is actually described in this poem? Frost loved nature, and it was central to much of his verse. In this poem he marks the brief transitional time between winter and summer by observing melted pools of snow in a forest. In the first stanza he describes the forest, and because the pools reflect the sky nearly perfectly, save for the “chill and shiver,” the reader can infer that spring is early. It is still cold, and the trees are still leafless, but soon the water in the pools will be gone, not because of runoff into streams but rather because the trees are drinking in the moisture, preparing to fully leaf out. In the second stanza the speaker of the poem observes that the trees’ buds are “pent-up” and ready to release their leaves to “darken nature and be summer woods.” But not yet! Frost writes that the trees should “think twice” before they allow themselves to enter summer. Why do you think that is so?

The poem not only reflects the turn of the seasons, but it also brings to mind the inevitable forward march of time. What is the mood of the poem? Is it playful? Somber? Matter of fact? Reflective? Encourage your students to clarify why they select the adjective they do. If they need help doing this, don’t withhold it. And if you are similarly uncertain, share that thought with your students as well. Perhaps by working together as a class, you can all learn together!

Would you like to win your very own Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization program? Click on the button below to enter the drawing. Winners will be announced May 31. In the meantime, you can sample the program for free by visiting IEW.com/free-poetry. Also, don’t forget to get outdoors and enjoy this special season and its attendant beauty.


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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