Spring Has Sprung, The Grass is Riz

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Jeremy Shatan wrote from New York: "It’s the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Around this time of the year, my mom would always say: ‘Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, the boid is on the wing.’ Yes, just like that."

This saying is all in "New Yorkese", a New York accent.  It seems of course to come from the New York area. Some quote it from Ogden Nash, but from what I can tell looking through some books, this is incorrect.

The saying is sometimes called "The Brooklyn National Anthem" and it dates back to at least 1940.  There are many versions of it. Here’s one:

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris,
I wonder where the boidies is
The boid is on the wing,
But that’s absoid
From what I hoid 
The wing is on the boid!

Here are other versions I found:

The spring is sprung, The grass is ris, I wonder where the birdies is.
(1951 – The New Mexico folklore record: Volume 6)

Spring has sprung The grass has riz Come out yourself And see how ‘tiz.
(1956 – Canadian bee journal: Volumes 64-65)

And a sadly rye one:

"Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, where last year’s reckless driver is."

Some others:

"Spring has sprung and the grass has riz, I wonder where the flowers is."
"Spring has sprung and the grass has riz, I wonder where the daisies is."‎

However you want to say it, the important part here is that Spring has sprung.

Happy Spring everyone!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 11:43 am and is filed under Countries & Cultures, England, English, Languages, New York, Poetry, Poets, Proverbs, Sayings, Sayings from the 1940's, Seasonal, Spring, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

36 Responses to “Spring Has Sprung, The Grass is Riz”

  1. Joanne Ladd (Mother Goose) Says:

    is this EVER cool!

  2. Raymond Garcia Says:

    The way that I’ve always heard it is:

    “Spring iz sprung,
    da grass iz riz,
    I wonder where dem boidies iz?
    Da little boids is on da wing.
    Ain’t dat absoid?
    Da little wings isz on da boid.”

  3. Paul Wodehouse Says:

    First read it in Archie comic books!

    It was a favorite poem of Jughead’s.

  4. spring Says:

    Spring has sprung the grass is wiz I wonder where the birdie is. Some people say the bird is on the wing but that’s upsurd the wing is on the bird. My father was a well read man my mother a music teacher. My family speech is from two different worlds. I would hope that the words of this saying not to be confused with lazy slang. The words da and what ever else would not be something from any language would want a child to miss anounceate.

  5. Joan Border Says:

    This is how I always heard it as a child in the 60’s
    Spring is sprung the grass is riz
    I wonder where the birdie is
    The bird is on the wing?
    How absurd!
    I always thought the wing was on the bird.

    and Spring, the use of common/local colloquialisms such as ‘da’ are an essential part of the rich tapestry of language and should never be dismissed as mispronunciation.

  6. Cathleen Says:

    My Mom loved poetry and would recite the first pargraph on the first noticable Spring day. An old woman I cared for who was in her 90’s remembered bits and peices of the rest. I forgot about it until recently and actually found the whole poem. Written by unknown.

    De spring is sprung, de grass is riz
    I wonder where de boidies is?
    De boid is on de wing, but dat’s absoid,
    De wing is on de boid

    De grass is riz de trees is green
    And in de moitle tree a boid is seen.
    A boid is seen and also hoid
    And also felt. He dropped a toid.
    Dis gets woise

    And so de boid what did doit
    Has got to die and dat’s a coit
    I gets me gat intent on moider
    Detoimined dis won’t get no foider
    Oh boy! Oh boy! Am I pertoibed

    I lifts me gat de boidie choips
    I gotta give de squoit de woiks
    But in the moitle tree above
    There sits a little toitle dove
    Remember moitle?

    I’ve got me shooter primed but now
    2 boids are sitting on de bough
    And so, I cannot shoot de dove
    Because de spring’s de time for love

  7. Kathleen Says:

    Thank you for the complete poem. My 96 year old mother has asked about how this peom goes so many times. I know she will be delighted to see it in its entirety.

  8. Shelly Hamilton Says:

    I’ve been trying too remember this little poem!
    I’m a retired hairdresser. One of our clients always had a poem. Or something funny to say. Such a clever soul. She has now past. I think of her often . . Spring has sprung the grass has Riz, where’z all the posies iz.

  9. Rachael Bate Says:

    At school we always sang:

    Spring has sprung, the grass is riz.
    I wonder where the birdies is?
    Spring has sprung, the buds do break;
    Spring has sprung and nature wakes.
    Spring has sprung, the winter’s gone,
    And now we sing our happy song:
    Fa la la, la la la lay
    Sweep those old dead leaves away!

  10. Lisa Says:

    These are great versions! Would anyone like to sing or recite it for Mama Lisa’s World? We’d love to post a recording! -Lisa

  11. John Glover Says:

    Mama Lisa: So glad I found your site…

    The complete rhyme was awesome!!!

    When I get more time I will send you more details about this poem…

    Cheers, JohnG

  12. Lisa Says:

    Thanks John G.! Looking forward to it. :) Mama Lisa

  13. Brian Crosby Says:

    My Dad always recited this poem like this from as far back as I can remember (1950’s):

    Spring has sprung,
    the grass is riz,
    I wonder where the boidies is?
    Some say the boid is on the wing.
    But that’s absoid,
    I always thought the wing was on the boid

  14. Lionel Oddell Says:

    I am 80 now and heard this as a child. I always thought it was recited in a Bronx accent and it started. I remember old black and white films of the Bowery Boys:

    Hoity toity little boid sitting in the coib (Kerb) eating doity woims
    Da woims is in the grass, the grass is green, the green has riz
    I wonder where da boidie is?
    The boidie’s on da wing
    Now that’s absoid, the wing is on da boid

  15. Don Says:

    I had only ever heard the first two lines, so I sorta came up with my own version:

    “All year long.”

    Spring has sprung,
    The grass has riz,
    I wonder where the birdies is?

    Summer call,
    We have a ball,
    This is where the birdies is.

    Fall answers summers call,
    Leaves answer falls call,
    Birdies flying south is.

    Winter cold,
    Year is old,
    No birdies here,
    Soon, another year.

    But after reading comments on here….yep, any version has to be done “New York” style……lol

  16. Marj Says:

    The version I learned as a child was:
    Spring has sprung
    The grass is riz
    I wonder where the boidy is?
    Sloiping and boiping and choiping
    And eating doity little woims.

  17. Judy Says:

    This version from my funny college roommate- we used it every spring-
    Spring has sprung- the grass is Ruiz- I wonder where the flowers is- I saw a bird upon the wing- ain’t that absurd- I thought the wing was on the bird.

  18. Andrew Thornton Says:

    It goes on to say…

    Winter’s here the wind has blew
    The rain will friz
    And it will snew.

  19. Deporodh Says:

    My mother (deceased 2007 at age 83) taught it to her children thus, with the Bronx accent.

    Now here’s the appropriate poem as I learned it, mouth to ear, in a fine Bronx (?) dialect…

    Spring is sprung
    da flowers riz
    I wonder where da boidies is?
    Da boid is on da wing!
    Now, ain’t dat absoid?
    I allus t’ought da wing was on da boid!

    —anonymous

  20. Sam Says:

    My mother from Sayville would say it thus:

    Spring has Sprung
    Da grass is riz
    I wondah wheah da boidies is
    Da bird is on da wing they say
    But dat’s absoid, from what I hoid
    Da wing is on da boid!

    Love seeing the various versions, and the complete one!

  21. Miss Vicki Says:

    I was thinking about “spring has sprung” when I saw the forsythia blossoms springing forth through the snow encrusted branches and it’s so long ago I had thought of it I was trying to remember how it went…so I got to “the grass has riz” and then I drew a blank…so it was fun seeing the versions posted here on.

  22. GlenRose Says:

    Spring has Sprung
    The Sun has Riz
    Where da hell
    The Flowers is ?

  23. Nancy Schatken Says:

    Spring has sprung
    The grass has riz
    Where last year’s
    Careless drivers is.

    This was a BurmaShave series of road signs. Another was:

    Don’t lose your head
    To save a minute
    You need your head
    Your brains are in it!!

  24. Leonie Says:

    I’ve loved reading all the different versions of this poem! My version is different again..here goes! Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the flowers is. They say the bird is on the wing, to me that seems a silly thing! The reason why it sounds absurd, ‘‘tis because the wing is on the bird 🦅

  25. Iberean Says:

    This was one of my father’s favorites. He’s been gone awhile and I’ve been trying to remember it as he said it. I know there were several verses which I have mostly forgotten. Perhaps though someone here has heard this version and could share more of it:

    Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the boidies iz, the boidz is on the wire…

    It went on and I do recall it included something about wondering where the flowers iz, but my befuddled mind simply won’t recall it.

  26. Tom Says:

    The version I heard when I was a young kiddie (a lot younger than my current 74 years) was

    De spring is sprung, da grass is ris
    I wonder where da boidies is.
    De little boids is on de wing.
    But dat’s absoid,
    I taught de wings was on da boid.

  27. Mark Says:

    Toity-tree doity poiple boids
    Sittin’ on the coib,
    boipin and choipin and eatin’ woims.

  28. Lisa Says:

    :)

  29. Mack Says:

    Spring has sprung the grass has ris
    I wonder where the birdies is
    There’s one up there in that tree
    He did something down on me
    I’m a big boy now so I don’t cry
    But I’m sure glad that cows don’t fly!!!!

  30. Heather Says:

    The version my dad always used to tell me was ..
    Spring is sprung
    The grass has Riz
    I wonder where my lawnmower is🤔
    🤣very Spike Milligan?…not sure where this version comes from.

  31. Lynette Donnelly Says:

    My mom’s version was:
    Spring has sprung,
    The grass has riz,
    I wonder where the birdies is.

    Summer’s gone,
    Fall has fell,
    Winter’s here and it’s cold as H***.

    She taught the us the first part when we were small but we didn’t hear the second verse until much later! :-)

  32. Corky Ormond Says:

    We always said this minor variation:

    Spring has sprung,
    the grass has riz,
    I wonder where the birdies is.

    The birdies they is on the wing.

    My word,
    how absurd,
    I thought the wing was on the bird.

  33. Mac McMurran Says:

    I first saw a variation in a Popeye the Sailor comic strip, circa 1936
    It went :

    Spring has spring has sprung
    the grass has riz
    I wonder where the lovers iz

  34. E.S. Moore Says:

    Found this on another site, but it must clearly resembles the one my grandmother used to say:

    Spring has sprung, the grass is ris’
    I wonder where the birdie is?

    There he is up in the sky,
    He dropped some whitewash in my eye!

    I’m alright, I won’t cry,
    I’m just glad that cows can’t fly!

  35. tom shinskie Says:

    Occasionally it’s hard to remember what ya really remember and what you only think ya remember.

    Gettin’ old is OK – It’s just a bother – sometimes.

    Was this “ditty” ever actually used on BurmaShave signs?

  36. Lisa Says:

    Tom, Here’s the version I found on a couple of sites about this saying on a Burma-Shave sign:

    Spring
    Has sprung
    The grass has riz
    Where last year’s
    Careless drivers is.
    -Burma-Shave

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