german poems about spring

Spring, Is That You? 5 Beautiful German Poems About the Breezy, Mild Months

It’s that time again.

Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing.

Everyone you see has a spring (no pun intended) in his or her step.

The long winter is finally over. Spring is here! Right?

If you’re in Germany, not so fast.

German winters are notoriously long, and it’s not uncommon to still be wearing a winter coat in April.

Perhaps that’s why German culture reveres spring so intensely once it actually does come along.

Indeed, in German poetry, you’ll find plenty of writing extolling the virtues of this season.

So whether you’re enjoying the fresh, mild weather or still whiling away the long winter, what better way to learn German than by doing some reading in the language about spring?

What You’ll Learn About Spring in Germany from German Poetry

It’s often a long time coming.

You’ll notice this at the end of the very first poem below, “Er ist’s.” The speaker almost incredulously says, “Spring, it’s you!” as though he believed spring might never come back at all. In many of these poems, the writers seem shocked that the trees are actually blooming and the birds are actually singing.

It’s a very important time of year.

When spring does finally come, Germans act as though the whole world has been birthed anew. You’ll notice that in the poems: People fall in love, smell breezes, feel eternal joy. You’ll also notice that in German culture, spring is a time to celebrate Easter, take walks, have picnics and generally wake up from the long winter.

Verses for Frühling-lovers: 5 Classic German Poems About Spring

Are you ready to start dreaming of springtime? Take a look at these five German poems about spring and prepare for those gentle warm months.

1. Er ist’s” by Eduard Mörike

What’s the poem and the translation?

Frühling läßt sein blaues Band

(Spring lets its blue ribbon)

wieder flattern durch die Lüfte;

(once again flutter through the airs;)

süße, wohlbekannte Düfte

(sweet, well-known scents)

streifen ahnungsvoll das Land. 

(portentously streak the country.)

Veilchen träumen schon, 

(Violets already dream,)

wollen balde kommen.

(want to soon come.)

Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton! 

(Listen, from far away a sweet harp!)

Frühling, ja du bist’s! 

(Spring, it’s you!)

Dich hab’ ich vernommen! 

(I’ve heard you!)

Who was Eduard Mörike?

german poems about spring

Mörike was a German Romantic poet and prose writer who lived in the first half of the 19th century. Romantic poets loved to write works in praise of nature—a trait you can see in “Er ist’s.” Mörike is often compared to Goethe (arguably Germany’s most famous writer) and many of his works have been set to music or become folk songs after his death. You can read more of his work here.

What grammar and vocabulary can I learn from this poem?

  • Wollen (to want or wish): This is one of German’s six modal verbs, used to express a stronger desire to do something than möchten (to have a preference to do something).
  • Durch (through or by): This common preposition always takes the Akkusativ case. See how die Lüfte (the airs) is in the Akkusativ case? It’s important to learn the cases that go with various German prepositions.

2. “Aus Einem April” by Rilke

What’s the poem and translation?

Wieder duftet der Wald. 

(The forest smells again.)

Es heben die schwebenden Lerchen

(It raises the floating larks)

mit sich den Himmel empor, der unseren Schultern schwer war; 

(which were so heavy on our shoulders, upwards into the sky;)

zwar sah man noch durch die Äste den Tag, wie er leer war,- 

(indeed, one saw through the branches the day, how it was empty,-)

aber nach langen, regnenden Nachmittagen 

(but after long, rainy afternoons)

kommen die goldübersonnten 

(come the gold, sunny)

neueren Stunden, 

(newer hours,)

vor denen flüchtend an fernen Häuserfronten 

(before which the far house fronts flee)

alle die wunden Fenster furchtsam mit Flügeln schlagen. 

(all the sore windows, fearful with wings’ attack.)

Dann wird es still. Sogar der Regen geht leiser

(Then it is still. Even the rain goes softer)

über der Steine ruhig dunkelnden Glanz.

(over the stone’s peaceful, darkening shine.)

Alle Geräusche ducken sich ganz

(All sounds hide away)

in die glänzenden Knospen der Reiser. 

(in the shiny buds of the bushes.)

Who was Rilke?

german poems about spring

Rainer Maria Rilke was an Austrian poet and novelist who was born in Prague in the late 19th century and died in Switzerland after World War I. He’s famous for his poems, for a novel and for his correspondence. His works feature motifs from Greek mythology and are quite popular in the United States. You can read more of Rilke’s poetry here.

What grammar and vocabulary can I learn from this poem?

  • Knospen (buds): This is a very important spring word! Budding plants are one of the most welcome signs of the return of spring.
  • Knospen der Reiser (buds of the bushes): This is an example of the Genitiv case, the German possessive case that’s being supplanted in spoken German, but is still found in written German.
  • Sah (saw): An example of the German past literary tense, a rare tense in spoken German but important to know when reading old German books.

3. “Alle Vögel Sind Schon Da,” a German children’s song by Hoffmann von Fallersleben

What’s the song and translation?

Alle Vögel sind schon da, alle Vögel, alle!

(All the birds are there, all the birds, all!)

Welch ein Singen, Musizieren,

(What singing, music,)

Pfeifen, Zwitschern, Tirilieren!

(whistling, chirping, trilling!)

Frühling will nun einmaschiern,

(Spring wants to march in now,)

kommt mit Sang und Schalle.

(come with singing and sounds.)

Wie sie alle lustig sind, flink und froh sich regen!

(How funny is all, nimble and happy stir!)

Amsel, Drossel, Fink und Star

(Blackbird, finch, thrush and starling)

und die ganze Vogelschar

(and the whole flock of birds)

wünschen dir ein frohes Jahr,

(wish you a merry year,)

lauter Heil und Segen. 

(sincere health and blessing.)

Was sie uns verkünden nun, nehmen wir zur Herzen:

(What we say now, we take to heart:)

alle wolln wir lustig sein,

(all we want to be funny,)

lustig wie die Vögelein,

(funny like the birds,)

hier und dort, feldaus, feldein,

(here and there, out, in,)

springen, tanzen, scherzen.

(jumping, dancing, joking.)

What’s the history of this song?

This is one of the best-known German folk songs, written by Hoffmann von Fallersleben. Yes, that’s right, the poem has been set to music! You can try to sing along if you’re musically inclined. In any case, you can read about more folk songs by von Fallersleben here.

What grammar and vocabulary can I learn from this song?

  • Wünschen dir (wish you): Dir is in the dative case here, since the birds are saying that they wish to you healing and blessing.
  • Vögel (birds, plural): Vögel is the plural of Vogel (bird). Remember this, because beginners commonly make the mistake of making Vogel plural by putting an -n on the end, which creates a word that certainly does not mean birds.

4. “Mailied” by Goethe

What’s the poem and translation?

Wie herrlich leuchtet

(How masterfully shines)

Mir die Natur!

(nature on me!)

Wie glänzt die Sonne!

(How the sun gleams!)

Wie lacht die Flur!

(How the mead laughs!)

Es dringen Blüten

(Blossoms push)

Aus jedem Zweig

(From every bough)

Und tausend Stimmen

(And a thousand voices)

Aus dem Gesträuch

(From the undergrowth)

Und Freud’ und Wonne

(And joy and bliss)

Aus jeder Brust.

(From every breast.)

O Erd’, o Sonne!

(Oh earth, oh sun!)

O Glück, o Lust!

(Oh happiness, oh love!)

O Lieb’, o Liebe!

(Oh love, oh love,)

So golden schön,

(So golden pretty)

Wie Morgenwolken

(Like morning clouds)

Auf jenen Höhn!

(On the hill!)

Du segnest herrlich

(You prosper masterfully)

Das frische Feld,

(The fresh field)

Im Blütendampfe

(With the breath of flowers)

Die volle Welt.

(The whole world.)

O Mädchen, Mädchen,

(Oh girl, girl,)

Wie lieb’ ich dich!

(How I love you!)

Wie blickt dein Auge!

(How gazes your eyes!)

Wie liebst du mich!

(How you love me!)

So liebt die Lerche

(So loves the lark)

Gesang und Luft,

(Singing and air,)

Und Morgenblumen

(And morning flowers)

Den Himmelsduft,

(The sky mists)

Wie ich dich liebe

(How I love you)

Mit warmem Blut,

(With warm blood)

Die du mir Jugend

(That you [give] me youth)

Und Freud’ und Mut

(And joy and courage)

Zu neuen Liedern

(To new songs)

Und Tänzen gibst.

(And dances.)

Sei ewig glücklich,

(To be forever happy)

Wie du mich liebst!

(How you love me!)

Who was Goethe?

german poems about spring

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is probably Germany’s most famous writer (in fact, Germany’s most famous language school, the Goethe-Institut, is named after him). He was a German Romantic writer who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; he wrote poems, novels and treatises. You can read one of Goethe’s most famous books here.

What grammar and vocabulary can I learn from this poem?

  • Aus dem Gesträuch (out of the undergrowth): Here’s an example of aus (out), a preposition that takes the dative case in this circumstance.
  • Du mich liebst (you love me): If you love somebody or something, the thing you bestow your affections on takes the accusative case in German. In fact, emotion verbs (love, hate, etc.) always take accusative.
  • Leuchtet mir die Natur (nature shines on me): Mir is an example here of the dative case—it makes the difference between “nature shines me” and “nature shines on me.”

5. “Frühlingsglaube” by Uhland

What’s the poem and translation?

Die linden Lüfte sind erwacht,

(The gentle breezes are awoken,)

Sie säuseln und weben Tag und Nacht,

(They whisper and weave day and night,)

Sie schaffen an allen Enden.

(They create in all ends.)

O frischer Duft, o neuer Klang!

(Oh fresh fragrance, oh new sound!)

Nun, armes Herze, sei nicht bang!

(Now, poor heart, don’t be anxious!)

Nun muß sich alles, alles wenden.

(Now all must change.)

Die Welt wird schöner mit jedem Tag,

(The world becomes prettier with every day,)

Man weiß nicht, was noch werden mag,

(One does not know, what yet will be,)

Das Blühen will nicht enden.

(The blooming doesn’t want to end.)

Es blüht das fernste, tiefste Tal:

(The farthest, deepest valley blooms:)

Nun, armes Herz, vergiß der Qual!

(Now, poor heart, forget the agony!)

Nun muß sich alles, alles wenden.

(Now all, all must change.)

Who was Uhland?

german poems about spring

Johann Ludwig Uhland was a poet and historian from Tübingen, in southwest Germany. He was born in the late 18th century and lived long into the 19th. He was a professor of literature who was inspired by medieval motifs in his ballads and poetry. You can find more of his work here.

What grammar and vocabulary can I learn from this poem?

  • Fernste, tiefste (farthest, deepest): This is an example of German superlative adjectives.
  • Die Welt wird schöner (the world becomes more beautiful): This is a use of the verb werden (to become), a word that has plenty of uses in the German language.
  • Wenden (to change): This is an important verb in German. Not only does it mean “to change,” but it’s also related to the noun die Wende (the change), which refers to the reunification of Germany in 1990.

 

Sure, winters can be long in Germany.

But with these five poems, you can learn about, dream about and even sing about spring year-round!

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