I teach creative writing and love helping my students improve their technique.
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.
The Essentials of Writing Haiku
A haiku poem has:
- Three lines
- 5, 7, 5 syllable pattern
- Uneven line length
Traditionally they are:
- About nature
- Contain emotion
- The third line describes the result of the actions outlined in lines 1 and 2.
Create Your Own Winter Snow 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 affects nature in so many ways that you will be spoilt for choice. For example, you could concentrate on the weather itself; try snow, ice, or frost. Or you could look at the effect of winter on animals behavior; like hibernation, migration or changing into winter plumage.
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.
drawings cover my windows;
Jack Frost’s calling card.
I wrote the next poem 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.
White frosting on autumn leaves
A breath of cold air
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 outside.
White dots in summer;
when winter comes they vanish
belly deep in snow
The next 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
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
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.
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.