Five Great Poems for Winter

Article by Kevin Kissane

It is a tradition of many families around Christmas to come together to read The Night Before Christmas. Classic poems such as this bring people together in celebration of the holidays and the winter season. Poetry is the perfect medium for exploring and appreciating the feelings associated with winter. The wonder that comes with the transition of seasons is perfectly translated into the voices of poets, who capture the feeling fully and truthfully. The following are the five winter poems which do this the best.

5. Winter Time

Poet - Robert Louis Stevenson

A poem which perfectly invokes the feeling of winter from a child’s perspective awakening in dark winter morning.

“Before the stars have left the skies,

At morning in the dark I rise;  

And shivering in my nakedness,

By the cold candle, bathe and dress.”

Beautiful, cold, and pure imagery creates the serenity of a snow covered land. The child voice sets out into the wider country beyond the view of their window, and explore, by sled, the magic frost filled world. The famous final words leave the reader with the same childlike sense of wonder and enjoyment.

And tree and house, and hill and lake,

Are frosted like a wedding cake.”

4. Winter eyes

Poet - Douglas Florian

Florian captures the beauty of a world viewed through winter eyes. Sensory details makes the reader feel winter in their very bones. One can smell the smoke curling from rooftops and, sense the danger of ice cracking under their weight, and feel the rush of ice which clings to their lungs.

Look at winter

With winter eyes

As smoke curls from rooftops

To clear cobalt skies.”

3. Winter Morning

Poet - William Jay Smith

This lyric poem vividly and imaginatively describes a snowstorm at night which works its way into the dreams of those sleeping inside. Outside, the wild storm rages and captures the imagination of those watching from the window. The extraordinary scene is played out in great detail and concludes with waking on a winter morning to see just how the world has changed overnight. 

We rode through the night

On green, marbled

Water, and, half-waking, watched

The white, eroded peaks of icebergs

Sail past our windows;

Rode out the night in that north country,

And awoke, the house buried in snow,”

2.  Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Poet - Robert Frost

Robert Frost is practically the American spokesperson when it comes to winter. Years spent in the cold Vermont mountains translate into Frost’s iconic poetry. This poem captures the stillness of snowfall and its hypnotic effect on a traveller. A gentle rhyme lulls the reader into a trance as snow falls gently around them.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

1.  A Winter Night

Poet - Sara Teasdale

This poem captures the true spirit of this season. When safe inside the warmth of home, the poetic voice reflects on the concept of homelessness. Those who are less fortunate walk the cold streets outside. In the winter season it is important to remember that not everyone has equal access to comfort and safety, and at this time of year especially, to reflect on what are grateful for.

God pity all the homeless ones,

The beggars pacing to and fro.

God pity all the poor to-night         

Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.”

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By Kevin Kissane, Paperfox Editor

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