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Winter Haiku

December 2009

This short prompt was added for the busy end-of-year time. Write one or more winter, year-end haikuz.

It saddens me that haiku is a form that is treated very lightly in America. It is often relegated to classrooms for younger children and seen as an "easy" form for starting out.

It is the rare Poet (with books and paid readings) that will share haiku with an audience.

I also think American readers/audiences will often treat ten haiku like snacks to be gobbled up in handfuls without much chewing or savoring the taste.

Traditionally (in English) haiku are 3 lines: first line, 5 syllables, second line, 7 syllables third line, 5 syllables

In Japanese, haiku also has three parts, but can be written as one line. And instead of counting syllables, the Japanese count sounds.

Haiku is "required" to suggest a single season. It might be directly, by using a word like snow or ice for winter, or indirectly, by tone or imagery.

For sample haiku and good background information on the form, see The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa, edited and translated by Robert Hass.

For more on this prompt and others, visit the Poets Online blog.

winter here no snow
hibiscus in bloom all day
ice melting in glass

solstice turns the day
despite the cold and frost
each night is shorter

Lianna Wright

night snow
boughs dreaming
of first blossoms

Fog filled woods~
even the winter moon
has lost its way

a winter walk
tell no tales

the blue moon
silently closes the door
upon the year

Mary Kendall

Bare snowy branches.
The trees still talk about spring
on this New Year's Day.

Fresh snow melt for tea.
The steam gives back to the air,
the rest for the earth

Pamela Milne

Who needs umbrellas ?
Hail, gale or snow, you have me
Laughing in the rain

Vivien Jones

Prayer flags remind me
to sweep new snow from the steps.
Guests today for lunch

and still I stand here
fogging the window,staring -
a tree twice my age

new buds push old leaves
from the branch, a chickadee
leaps into January

Charles Michaels

canadian geese
dot the hay colored grass
blood yellow sun

first december snow
settles on slick black wings
year of the cow

Marie A. Mennuto-Rovello

Snow outside window -
I see myself in the storm
and warm, dry, inside.

The lake disappears
under a day long snow.
Ducks and I feel lost.

Ken Ronkowitz


snow covered grass
bare naked trees
tulips one day

Patty Joslyn