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Quotations about Seasons
MOON & SEASONS,
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
Yet sunshine brightens after rain,
The darkness comes and goes again,
So solace follows bitter pain,
As seasons wax and wane.
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "November," c.1864
The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other. ~Arthur Rubinstein, unverified
How times and seasons are in concert! Spring is suggestive of morning, summer of noon, autumn of evening, and winter of night. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation IV: Spring-time on the Western Coast," 1850 [Lyulph speaking —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
To be interested in the changing seasons is... a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. ~George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905
Summer passed, autumn painted frost on the fallen leaves, winter swept the trees bare. ~Nina George, The Little Paris Bookshop, 2013, translated by Simon Pare, 2015
The year is a book, isn't it...? Spring's pages are written in Mayflowers and violets, summer's in roses, autumn's in red maple leaves, and winter in holly and evergreen. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915
The course of the seasons is a piece of clock-work, with a cuckoo to call when it is springtime. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908
Nature bestows her own, richest gifts
And, with lavish hands, she works in shifts...
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Four Seasons," 1940s
When Spring unlocks the flowers
To paint the laughing soil;
When summer's balmy breezes
Refresh the mower's toil;
When winter holds in frosty chains
The fallow and the flood;
In God the earth rejoices still,
And owns her Maker good.
~Reginald Heber, "Spring," in The Christian Observer, January 1816
There's no one season such delight can bring
As summer, autumn, winter, and the spring.
[T]he blush of Spring, the blossom of Summer, the flame of Autumn, the sparkle of Winter, and the violet-softened refulgence of every waking moment yield a never failing succession of delights. ~Horace Fletcher, Menticulture, 1895
Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
Is nearest unto Heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.
~John Keats, "The Human Seasons"
I like these out-of-season crossings. When you're young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can't make up their minds. Perhaps it's a way of admitting that things can't ever bear the same certainty again. Or perhaps it's just a way of admitting a preference for empty ferries. ~Julian Barnes, "Cross Channel," Flaubert's Parrot, 1984
Year be springing or year be falling,
The bark will drip and the birds be calling.
There's much that's fine to see and hear
In the spring of a year, in the fall of a year...
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "The Spring and the Fall," The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems, 1923
I know I am but summer to your heart,
And not the full four seasons of the year...
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems, 1923
True, there are autumn hearts, and winter hearts, and fresh, bright, gladsome spring hearts, always swelling with young buds, and dancing to bird-music... ~Fanny Forester (Emily Chubbuck Judson)
With the first beam of sun, the ice began to drip from the imprisoned trees and every fibre of shrub and tree to quiver with aspiration, as though a clod should suddenly find a soul.
In the watcher's heart, too, had come another Spring, for once in time and tune with the outer world. The heart's seasons seldom coincide with the calendar. Who among us has not been made desolate beyond all words upon some golden day when the little creatures of the air and meadow were life incarnate, from sheer joy of living? Who among us has not come home, singing, when the streets were almost impassable with snow, or met a friend with a happy, smiling face, in the midst of a pouring rain?
The soul, too, has its own hours of Winter and Spring. ~Myrtle Reed McCullough, Old Rose and Silver, "Chapter VIII: The Year's at the Spring," 1909
The flowers of Spring may wither, the hope of Summer fade,
The Autumn droop in Winter, the birds forsake the shade;
The winds be lull'd—the Sun and Moon forget their old decree,
But we in Nature's latest hour, O Lord! will cling to Thee.
~Reginald Heber (1783–1826), "Seventh Sunday After Trinity," Hymns, Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year [The original version of this was a poem titled "Spring," published in 1816. This modified version was published posthumously in 1827 by his widow Amelia Heber. The wordings of the two versions have quite a few variations. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
All months, all days, all hours,
All sister seconds even, oh, all seasons
Beautify the world and bless
The walkers on it...
~Mark Van Doren, "All Seasons," Morning Worship and Other Poems, 1960
The varying seasons ever roll, and run
Into each other, like that arc of light,
Born of the shower and coloured by the sun—
Which spans the heavens when April skies are bright.
First comes green-kirtled Spring, who leadeth on
Blue-mantled Summer of maturer age,
Sultana of the year. When she is gone,
Gold-girdled Autumn, solemn as a sage,
Reigns for a time, and on earth's ample page
(Illumined by his hand) writes "Plenty here!"
Then white-cowled Winter steps upon the stage,
Like aged monk, keen, gloomy, and austere.
But he whose soul sustains no cloud nor thrall,
Perceives power, beauty, good, and fitness in them all.
~John Critchley Prince, "Autumnal Sonnets," Autumn Leaves: Original Poems, 1856
Children live in close touch with the seasons. Only a few years have been marked in their memories; they are still surprised by the miracle of spring, the hush of falling snow, autumn's glorious blaze of color. ~“A Word to Parents and Teachers,” Saints of the Seasons for Children by Ethel Pochocki Marbach, 1989
The breath of slowly-moving spring
Stirs the light leaf, the doubtful wing,
And tempers each created thing.
The tumult of the summer's life
Surrounds the earth and, rich and rife,
Finds outlet in a world of strife.
The autumn season stills the plain,
Quiets the river, sifts the grain,
And looks to rest and sleep again.
In winter does great nature rest
Or die, dismissing every guest
And closing up the broad earth's breast.
~Philip Henry Savage (1868–1899)
Virtually every process is best carried out at one time or other of the year and that is not something to take lightly... There is much more to seasonality, though, than breeding or migration. Virtually every internal process alters... We humans were clearly highly seasonal beasts until the coming of electric light but traces remain. ~Brian Follett, 2009
winter sneaks up on me
before summer ends in my heart
the spring blossoms arrive
when my mind is still snowed in
We are reflexive creatures, and the seasons play a large part in human culture and in making our psychology and social behaviour what it is.... The adaptations of our ancestors that enabled them to survive and reproduce by anticipating the seasonal vagaries of the climate still reside deep within our metabolism and life histories. ~Russell G. Foster and Leon Kreitzman, Seasons of Life: The Biological Rhythms that Enable Living Things to Thrive and Survive, 2009
May I strike my heart's keys clearly, and may none fail
because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings.
May the tears that stream down my face
make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping
bloom.... How we waste our afflictions!...
our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only
a season—: they're site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.
~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), "The Tenth Elegy," translated by Edward Snow
Autumn marched in with its bluster and blow;
And winter rushed down with a whirling of snow...
~Lew Sarett, "Philosophic Frogs," Many Many Moons, 1920
In the springtime, leaves unfolding,
Growing, growing one by one,
In the summer, always giving
Cool, green shade to every one;
In the autumn, tall and stately,
Dressed in yellow, red and brown,
In the winter, sleeping, sleeping,
While the snow comes softly down...
~Charlotte Lay Dewey, "A Song of the Trees," in Kindergarten Review (Springfield, Mass.), October 1906
Winter's modest, muted sermon is—
be patient and have faith.
Springtime speaks lively green and spirited—
love and grow and rejoice!
Summer sings its blue-sky, simple lesson—
life is good, let's play!
Autumn's thankful, orange-red voice says—
harvest, reflect, prepare.
...under the soft spring sun, into summer's glare, through the muted fall, and into the hard chill of winter when the trees are bare. ~Maud Casey, The Man Who Walked Away, 2014
Once glistering green,
With dewy sheen,
And summer glory round them cast:
Now black and bare,
The trees stand there,
And mourn their beauty that it past.
Look, leaf by leaf,
Each leaf a grief.
The hand of Autumn strips them bare.
No sound nor cry,
As they fall and die,
Because they know that Life is there.
So stiff and strong,
The winter long,
All uncomplaining stand the trees.
God make my life,
Through all its strife,
As true to Spring as one of these.
So would I stand,
Serene and grand,
While age strips off the joys of youth;
Because I know
That, as they go,
My soul draws nearer to the Truth.
~G. A. Studdert Kennedy, "Trees," The Sorrows of God and Other Poems, 1924
the vibrant green-yellow-pink blossom-life of spring
the watery-blue radiant sunshine-breath of summer
the metallic-earth-toned glowing-decay of autumn
the grey-white holly-festive slow-motion of winter
January grey is here,
Like a sexton by her grave;
February bears the bier,
March with grief doth howl and rave,
And April weeps—but, O ye hours,
Follow with May's fairest flowers.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Dirge for the Year," 1821
Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season. ~Terri Guillemets
I sit and let the shifting year
Go by before the window-pane...
~Dorothy Parker, "The Thin Edge," 1926
...an English wit, disgusted with the "namby pamby" style of the French calendar, ridiculed this new method of registering time in the following ludicrous translation of their months...
Autumn,—wheezy, sneezy, freezy.
Winter,—slippy, drippy, nippy.
Spring,—showery, flowery, bowery.
Summer,—hoppy, croppy, poppy.
~John Brady, Clavis Calendaria: Or, A Compendious Analysis of the Calendar, 1812 [I've yet to determine with certainty the identity of the English wit, but variations of this humorous translation of the 1793 French revolutionary calendar are most commonly attributed to Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816) as "Sheridan's Rhyming Calendar" and to George Ellis (1753–1815) as "The Twelve Months." Other attributions include "the late Mr Gifford" (1865), Mother Goose (1953), an "English wag" (1822) and an "old wit." Summer's "poppy" is said to refer to partridge shooting. Other versions refer to the months in order from January to December as: snowy, flowy, blowy; showery, flowery, bowery; moppy, croppy, droppy; breezy, sneezy, freezy. The complex French calendar being mocked was actually categorized by seasonal "months" rather than the months as we now know them. Another version has the spring as seedy and meady, summer as mowy, with autumn including "squeezy" for the time of wine pressing. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
It is as if one, on a Christmas eve, should run over the seasons of the closing year and try to resolve which he loved best, and which he had rather live over; the stirring life, the first zephyr, the manifold birth of bloom and music, in earth and sky, of spring; the grander stillness of the summer noontide, the passing off of the tempest charged with thunder, the bow resting in the cloud; or the fruitful and bland autumn, the nodding harvest, the harvest-home, the thanksgiving, the serener blue, enlivened with golden light. Among this series of beauties and joys, we can not choose; but we may bless God for them all. ~Rufus Choate (1799–1859), "Reflections on the Birth-day of Daniel Webster," 18th of January, 1858
autumn strolls, winter slithers
spring skips, summer swims
Spring, the low prelude of a lordlier song:
Summer, a music without hint of death:
Autumn, a cadence lingeringly long:
Winter, a pause;—the Minstrel-Year takes breath.
~William Watson, "The Year's Minstrelsy," Epigrams of Art, Life, and Nature, 1884
I move easily
between the four seasons —
dance-painting my planting songs.
dance-painting my gardening songs.
dance-painting my harvesting songs.
dance-painting my quiet winter listening songs.
~James McGrath (b.1928)
in a winter fireplace burns the fantasy of spring —
wildflowers flaming across a lush wooded landscape
Nature... discards her floral trimmings in obedience to a reign of tyrannical ice! ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897
learn from leaves
green is go
yellow & red
slow down, stop
take time to rest
~Terri Guillemets, "Seasonal wisdom," 1999
Good night to the Season!—Another
Will come, with its trifles and toys,
And hurry away, like its brother,
In sunshine, and odour, and noise.
Will it come with a rose or a briar?
Will it come with a blessing or curse?
Will its bonnets be lower or higher?
Will its morals be better or worse?
Will it find me grown thinner or fatter,
Or fonder of wrong or of right,
Or married— or buried?—no matter:
Good night to the Season—good night!
~Winthrop Mackworth Praed, "Good Night to the Season," August 1827
January cold desolate;
February all dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly
August bears corn,
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December.
~Christina G. Rossetti, Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book, 1872
seasons in the garden
have an ancient grace
~Terri Guillemets, "Year-Round Dreams," 2019, blackout poetry created from Jane Yolen, Here There Be Unicorns, 1994, page 33
I go with the Fall, I come with the Spring
I fade away with the glories of Fall
I come with the tender green of Spring at my feet.
The little dancers of the trees wave, a golden kiss send me as a token of farewell.
And the birds and flowers a buoyant greeting give to me.
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "Fall and Spring," 1903, The Poems of a Child, Being Poems Written Between the Ages of Six and Ten, 1904
late winter and early spring blend and blur
in pleasant days and chilly nights
penetrating sun and gentle cool breezes
with stirrings of life, subtle and green —
mornings that light ever earlier rouse us, but
sunsets that still come in evening's youth lull
Unwelcome Winter, that old Reprobate,
Is always Early; Spring is always Late.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Seasons," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
Sweet is the Summer Day; and full of Song
And Cheer the Winter Night; and both are Long.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Seasons," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
The sun shines different ways in summer and winter. And we shine differently in the seasons of our lives. ~Terri Guillemets
The winter will be short, the summer long,
The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot,
Tasting of cider and of scuppernong;
All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all....
Peaches grow wild, and pigs can live in clover...
The spring begins before the winter's over....
The months between the cherries and the peaches
Are brimming cornucopias which spill
Fruits red and purple, somber-bloomed and black....
Down to the Puritan marrow of my bones
There's something in this richness that I hate.
I love the look, austere, immaculate,
Of landscapes drawn in pearly monotones.
There's something in my very blood that owns
Bare hills, cold silver on a sky of slate....
[S]pring, briefer than apple-blossom's breath,
Summer, so much too beautiful to stay,
Swift autumn, like a bonfire of leaves,
And sleepy winter, like the sleep of death.
~Elinor Wylie, "Wild Peaches," Nets to Catch the Wind, 1921
spring is being blessed and happy
with blooming flowers
summer is being blessed and hot
with abundant sunshine
autumn is being blessed and reflective
with colorful leaves
winter is being blessed and chilly
with sparkling snow
~Terri Guillemets, "Year-round gratitude," 2007
The seasons long for each other, like men and women, in order that they may be cured of their excesses.
Spring, if it lingers more than a week beyond its span, starts to hunger for summer to end the days of perpetual promise. Summer in its turn soon begins to sweat for something to quench its heat, and the mellowest of autumns will tire of gentility at last, and ache for a quick sharp frost to kill its fruitfulness.
Even winter — the hardest season, the most implacable — dreams, as February creeps on, of the flame that will presently melt it away. Everything tires with time, and starts to seek some opposition, to save it from itself.
So August gave way to September and there were few complaints. ~Clive Barker, The Hellbound Heart, 1986
summer leads into autumn
autumn leafs into winter
winter leans into spring
spring leaps into summer
Every season hath its pleasures:
Spring may boast her flowery prime,
Yet the vineyard's ruby treasures
Brighten Autumn's soberer time.
So life's year begins and closes;
Days, though shortening, still can shine;
What, though youth gave loves and roses,
Age still leaves us friends and wine.
~Thomas Moore (1779–1852), "Spring and Autumn"
Spring and summer come with a lush layer of foliage over reality, but when things start falling away in the autumn and get bare and stark in the winter we're forced to look at things more as they really are, including ourselves. ~Terri Guillemets
...No pleader can prevail
Who prays against the laws of Time or Fate:
No matter how we murmur and bewail,
The robins will not build in winter hail,
Nor lilacs blow in February. Wait!
Have faith, my friend. And when these stormy glooms
Have chastened us for June, come here again,
And you shall see my tree made glad with blooms,
Its branches all a-toss with purple plumes
Sweeping across this selfsame window-pane!
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "Time," c.1866
The cold dull glow of winter warms to the colorful brilliance of springtime. ~Terri Guillemets
The year leads round the seasons, in a choir
For ever charming, and for ever new,
Blending the grand, the beautiful, the gay,
The mournful, and the tender, in one strain...
~James G. Percival, "Poetry," c.1822
Joyfully spring from the last breaths of summer and gracefully fall into winter. ~Terri Guillemets, "Breathing through," 2009
Mother Nature never tiring
As she works through sun and rain.
Never does she err in judgment;
No mistakes she ever makes,
As she plans each season's schedule;
Never any glory takes!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Wedding of the Leaves," 1940s
Forecast for the Seasons
giddy and warm
happy and hot
serene and chilly
blessed and freezing
The weather behaved itself. In the spring, the little flowers came out obediently in the meads, and the dew sparkled, and the birds sang. In the summer it was beautifully hot for no less than four months, and, if it did rain just enough for agricultural purposes, they managed to arrange it so that it rained while you were in bed. In the autumn the leaves flamed and rattled before the west winds, tempering their sad adieu with glory. And in the winter, which was confined by statute to two months, the snow lay evenly, three feet thick, but never turned into slush. ~T.H. White, The Once and Future King, 1958
Spring is a lover
Summer, a partier
Autumn, an artist
Winter, a philosopher
This is the height of spring — or one of the heights, to be followed by others. Yet it would be improvident to find only spring in springtime or fall in autumn. There is no better time than winter to enjoy a summer day, no better time than spring to savor the fall. If you observe the progress of the seasons carefully, you will find them all present the year around. They are interwoven themes in this continuing symphonic utterance, each becoming dominant in its turn without ever wholly vanquishing the rest. Listen carefully and you will hear on the cellos, throughout this first movement, the theme of fall; subordinate, awaiting its eventual turn to be announced on the brasses and taken up by the violins, but there nevertheless. Occasionally and for a moment it emerges clearly, as if by accident, like a bird that sings out of season. ~Louis J. Halle, Jr. (1910–1998)
If spring betrays summer, would autumn never arrive? ~Terri Guillemets
Call him not old, whose visionary brain
Holds o'er the past its undivided reign.
For him in vain the envious seasons roll
Who bears eternal summer in his soul.
If yet the minstrel's song, the poet's lay,
Spring with her birds, or children with their play,
Or maiden's smile, or heavenly dream of art
Stir the few life-drops creeping round his heart,—
Turn to the record where his years are told,—
Count his gray hairs,—they cannot make him old!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Seasons depart peripherally. ~Terri Guillemets
published 2000 Dec 23
last saved 2023 Mar 9