Write Haiku Poems About Winter Snow and Frost

Updated on August 8, 2018
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

I teach creative writing to adults and I love helping my students improve their writing skills.

Snow angel makes wings in the snow.
Snow angel makes wings in the snow. | Source

Haiku Poetry and Nature

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry used to describe nature. It is particularly good when used to describe emotions in relation to the seasons. This hub contains haiku poems relating to winter weather.

The classic form of haiku poetry writing is thought to originate in 17th century Japan. There are examples of haiku poems published in Europe during the 18th century, but it was not until the late 20th century that writing poems as haiku became really popular worldwide.

The rules of writing modern haiku vary depending on the country. North American haiku are usually written as a three line poem with a total of 17 syllables. These are split so that the first line has five syllables, the second has seven and the third finishes with five syllables.

Haiku Elementary Lesson

A Traditional Japanese Poem

Winter solitude -

in a world of one color

the sound of wind

Written by Basho, a 17th century Japanese haiku master.

Essentials of Writing Haiku

Subject Matter
Nature
Number of Lines
Three
Syllable Count
5, 7, 5
Line Length
Uneven
Leaves glisten with hoar frost on a cold winter's day.
Leaves glisten with hoar frost on a cold winter's day. | Source

The Arrival of Winter Weather

Winter brings many changes with colder temperatures and snow in many regions. Snow makes everything very quiet and alters the landscape. Warm clothing and snow boots make it fun to play outside in the snow.

Some winter games like building snowmen or throwing snowballs, cannot be done at any other time of year. Here are a couple of haiku I have written on the theme of winter.

This is a haiku poem about the effect of snow in the city.

Snowflakes glitter on

the sidewalk, the sound of cars

swallowed by snowdrifts

This next one is a haiku poem about my love-hate relationship with snow.

So long as there is

somewhere to dry my wet clothes

I enjoy the snow

Winter snowfall in the city inspires poets.
Winter snowfall in the city inspires poets. | Source

Haiku Master Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

One of the earliest Japanese haiku masters was Matsuo Basho. He lived in the seventeenth century. Luckily many of his poems have survived as they are as relevant today as when they were written.

This is a translation of one of his poems about the arrival of winter. (In the original Japanese the syllable count on each line was correct, but this has been altered in order to retain the meaning of the piece rather than its rhythm.)

The first cold shower

even the monkey seems to want

a little coat of straw

Pen and ink portrait of the Japanese haiku master Basho.
Pen and ink portrait of the Japanese haiku master Basho. | Source

Wise Words From a Haiku Master

He who creates three to five haiku poems during a lifetime is a haiku poet. He who completes ten is a master.

The wise words of the 17th Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō.

Create Your Own Haiku Poem

Haiku are deceptive in their simplicity. They are short and bitter-sweet and can be a good way to introduce children to poetry. Anyone can create their own thought-provoking verses and keep more or less within the rules of the haiku tradition.

However, as you read and write more haiku poems it's useful to have an authoritative guide to refer to. Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-On Guide by Jane Reichhold will encourage you to write better and more impactful stanzas. She gives practical advice on how to choose the right words in haiku and the punctuation conventions in this genre. She also refers to the spiritual aspect of haiku poetry.

This 19th century Japanese print shows two women holding "poem letters". Writing poetry demonstrates their intelligence and desirability.
This 19th century Japanese print shows two women holding "poem letters". Writing poetry demonstrates their intelligence and desirability. | Source

Have a Go and Write Your Own

Kids and adults can have fun writing haiku. The best way to start writing your own haiku poetry is to put pen to paper and just go for it! Begin at the beginning, go on until you come to the end, and then stop. The theme of your haiku can be anything to do with nature.

Winter is a season that brings so many things that affect nature so you will be spoilt for choice. You could concentrate on the weather itself; for example snow, ice, or frost. Or you could look at the effect of winter on animal behavior; for example, hibernation, migration or gaining winter plumage.

Snow Day Haiku

Winter Haiku

Which winter topic for haiku inspires you the most?

See results

Haiku About Frost Patterns

Children love to see the designs created by the frost on a cold winter's morning. This poem is about the amazing patterns that cold weather paints on windows.

Delicate lacy

drawings cover my windows;

Jack Frost’s calling card.

Ice crystals make random patterns on window glass.
Ice crystals make random patterns on window glass. | Source

This is a poem I wrote when the weather was cold and icy. My breath billowed out as clouds of pale vapor as I spoke. The ground was coated with a crispy layer of white rime.

Crunchy underfoot

White frosting on autumn leaves

A breath of cold air

A flock of sheep in the snow.
A flock of sheep in the snow. | Source

I wrote this poem about the hardy sheep that cover the hills in the upland areas of the UK. Snow and wind don’t seem to bother them and they spend all winter out of doors.

White dots in summer;

when winter comes they vanish

belly deep in snow

Capture the sound of silence in a pine forest.
Capture the sound of silence in a pine forest. | Source

This poem is about the silence that descends as snow falls. I wrote it because I feel that snow makes the world turn into an alien place where nothing moves.

A silent blanket

giving earth a duvet day

Nature’s chance to rest

Winter Haiku

Haiku About Snow Storms

Getting caught in a snow blizzard can be very frightening. This poem is about the feeling of being lost and disorientated.

Can see no further

than the end of my fingers

That’s not far enough

Snowpocalypse in Baltimore

Counting Syllables

If you initially have an adjective in mind but your syllable count doesn’t quite fit the haiku pattern of five, seven, five syllables, then look for a synonym. The best way to do this is to consult a thesaurus. A thesaurus is a reference book a bit like a dictionary, except that instead of giving the definition of a word, it lists tens or more words that have almost the same meaning as your original one.

For example if you had originally had the adjective “big” but needed a word that has two syllables instead of one, a thesaurus would give you the options of “immense”, “massive” as well as many more.

Snow Haiku Written By Children

Here are some haiku written by kids who were in 3rd grade at Woodbury Central School Moville, Iowa in 2015

Snow is so awesome

I lick the snow on the trees

I like icicles

(by Avery W.)


Snow is in my yard

Snow is white and cold and cool

I made a snowman

(by Ashton L.)


I go out and play

I go sledding with a friend

I love the winter

(by Axton L.)

Students in New Jersey enjoy a snowball fight.
Students in New Jersey enjoy a snowball fight. | Source

What Would Be a Good Winter Topic For Haiku?

Haiku poems work best when they are about nature. The winter season has plenty of changes in the weather that affect both animals and plants.

Think about how you feel in winter. Are you excited or afraid? Do you dislike the cold or love having to light a log fire?

Think about animals and how they react. Many go into hibernation or slow down to cope with the colder weather. Flowers and leaves are scarce making food difficult to find. Trees and plants form ghostly silhouettes in the dark winter evenings.

Remember to include the five senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch in your haiku. That will make them come alive and hold the attention of your reader.

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