The poem starts by talking about the colors of spring, saying that nature is first gold, then green. Leaves, the poem says, start out as flower buds. But these golden flowers don't stick around for long—they turn green and become leaves. According to our speaker, this natural process is related to the fall of the Garden of Eden, as well as the change of dawn to day. Then the poem wraps itself up, reminding us that the beauty of gold is only fleeting.