Celebrating Spring

Simon FletcherApril Orchard

From Close to Home, Headland, 2015

April Orchard

Compact cerise balloons are filling up
with apple promise, scent the wind-blown trees.

A wasp chews paper from the grey shed door
while steel blue swallows clip the lawn for flies.

Some pear trees are already clouds of cream,
their seed-black anthers courting mellow fruit.

Kuli Kohli – Season of Freedom

From A Wonder Woman, Offa’s Press, 2021

Season of Freedom

After the long, miserable captivity of winter,
there is a sprig of light.
I feel I have been freed from a dark cell,
a treacherous, frozen fight.

My escape comes with new vibrant life
as doomed icicles melt.
Hope for people as restricted as me –
a freedom that’s heartfelt.

I step into the green, where blossom falls –
celebrating a liberty of ease;
I feel as if I fly among migrating birds
after the galling frosty freeze.

Stripped naked trees once again clothe
in budding green shaded outfits;
in confidence, creatures camouflage
to a safety that secretly outwits.

I love spring, it carries a gliding freedom
of happiness, colour, life.
Where days are longer, warmer, sunnier;
I can walk, smile without strife.

Selected haiku

Bethany Rivers

From Ripening Cherries, Offa’s Press, 2019

first shout of spring
a lone daffodil
beneath the hedge

Sally Bevington

From Ripening Cherries, Offa’s Press, 2019

beneath the water
tadpoles in balls
of black-eyed jelly

Jackie Evans

From Ripening Cherries, Offa’s Press, 2019

bright sunlight
after torrential showers
glinting raindrop pearls

David Bingham

From The Chatter of Crows, Offa’s Press, 2014

stargazing –
petals of crocus
closed up tight

this moment,
closer to death than birth –
pink cherry blossom


Robert Frost (1874 – 1963) – Putting in the Seed

Putting in the Seed

You come to fetch me from my work tonight
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea),
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How love burns through the putting in the seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.

Jane Seabourne – Spring Cleaning

From Our Beautiful Scars, Offa’s Press, 2017

Spring Cleaning

Tortoiseshells hibernated –
top landing of our old house – 
folded in on themselves.

A swirly green dress – 
sky-high hemline – 
hibernates in my wardrobe

I say hibernate – more like
Sleeping Beauty coma – 
it has been there so long

following me – 
house-move to house-move – 
never wanting to let go.

Every spring 
I shake it out –
those can’t-help-but-smile colours – 

the way that dress
still expects a good time – 

hasn’t twigged yet  – 
church-hall discos
the odd snog from a village boy

was as good as it was ever going to get – 
even for a dress
as San Francisco as this. 

For some time 
I have been marvelling
how mighty girls are these days.

I think of the top landing – 
butterflies – 
how they tackle spring

Jeff Phelps – Spring Funeral

From Wolverhampton Madonna, Offa’s Press, 2016

Spring Funeral

Frogs have occupied the shallows of the pond.
This first April sun has brought them out,
to squat under leaves,
their liquid eyes digesting light,
black throats quivering.

You should have been here, amongst friends
to see them. You would have showed us
how words can dissect
as exquisitely as blades,
assuring us that here is a renewal
we must go on sharing.

They seem to multiply.
By an optical trick there are more
each time we look:
khaki heads bubbling up,
two where we thought there was one.

You would know
they wouldn’t let us touch them.
But still we try,
our hands outstretching slowly.
They slip away at the last moment,
flop sideways into deeper water,
leaving us in mid-gesture.

A.E. Housman – From A Shropshire Lad

From The Poetry of Shropshire, Offa’s Press, 2013

From A Shropshire Lad


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my three-score years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Spring Writing Suggestions


In April Orchard, Simon Fletcher draws our attention to some colours of spring – cerise, cream, grey, blue, black. Write down some colours you typically associate with spring, or that you’ve seen while out and about. Then list words you associate with that colour, to start building up images for a poem. Are there any surprising colours on your list?


Kuli Kohli’s poem Season of Freedom describes how she has more confidence to get out and about in spring. Are you looking forward to activities in spring which you’re unable to do over winter?


The haiku from David Bingham, Bethany Rivers, Sally Bevington, and Jackie Evans note some of the earliest signs of spring. What signs of spring have you seen while out and about, or among our photos on the website? Try capturing the moment you saw some of these – how did it make you feel? You could use haiku form or work this into a longer poem.


Robert Frost’s sonnet describes his love of one aspect of spring (planting seeds and the anticipation of their growing) in close detail. Pick one thing you love about spring and consider the details of it very carefully. Perhaps it’s a particular routine, plant, or the weather. You could write a sonnet describing why you enjoy it – and like Frost, what your friends or family think of it!


Jane Seabourne equates the spring cleaning ritual – via a beautiful dress – with butterflies emerging from hibernation. Have you noticed wildlife activity changing in the last few weeks? Does it mirror any changes to human behaviour in the spring – recreational or work routines, for example?


In Spring Funeral, Jeff Phelps uses the arrival of courting frogs to articulate a sense of loss. Do you have a view of spring which is different to the celebrations of hope and cheer? Looking to the changing landscapes around us for inspiration, can you describe why?


In his poem from A Shropshire Lad, A.E. Housman famously describes his love for cherry trees. Are you looking forward to seeing any particular plant, animal, or human activity happening in our countryside? Explain why it appeals to you.


Think about some of the spring festivals and celebrations which happen in rural communities near you, or that you’ve been to in the past. Try to remember the sights, smells, and sounds. How do these celebrations support the communities involved? What purpose do they serve in modern times?

Send us your poem!

When you think you’ve finished your poem you can send it to Simon and Cherry at Offa’s Press.

There will be an opportunity to discuss or re-draft poems. Later this year we hope to publish an anthology of countryside poetry, In the Sticks, that could well include your work.