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Hello, poets! Welcome to Haibun Monday, where we combine prose and haiku into the form known as haibun. I am Frank J. Tassone, your host today, and I want to get seasonal. Let’s talk about winter!

A Nor’easter struck the Northeastern United States this weekend. In my corner of New York’s backyard, I lucked out with a down fall of 5 to 7 inches. Areas closer to the coast received more. Of course, that’s par for the course in January. What else can we expect from winter?

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate zones. It occurs between autumn and spring. The tilt of Earth’s axis causes seasons; winter occurs when a hemisphere is oriented away from the Sun. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a definition based on weather.

When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. In many regions, winter brings snow and freezing temperatures. The moment of winter solstice is when the Sun’s elevation with respect to the North or South Pole is at its most negative value; that is, the Sun is at its farthest below the horizon as measured from the pole. The day on which this occurs has the shortest day and the longest night, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice.

The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates outside the polar regions differ from the date of the winter solstice and depend on latitude. They differ due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth’s elliptical orbit (see earliest and latest sunrise and sunset).

While days have increased in the northern hemisphere since December 22nd , nights still reign. Ten minutes to six in the evening, and the sky is already pitch black. The cold, snow, and shortened daylight may weigh oppressively on some. Still, there is a beauty to the coldest season.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Do we not sing of “Winter wonderlands?” Is this not the season for nestling by a roaring fire? On a deeper level, is this not the season of dormancy, a gathering of hidden life, waiting to burst forth into spring?

Let’s witness what some poets have to say about this season:

To Winter

Claude McKay – 1889-1948

Stay, season of calm love and soulful snows!
There is a subtle sweetness in the sun,
The ripples on the stream’s breast gaily run,
The wind more boisterously by me blows,
And each succeeding day now longer grows.
The birds a gladder music have begun,
The squirrel, full of mischief and of fun,
From maple’s topmost branch the brown twig throws.
I read these pregnant signs, know what they mean:
I know that thou art making ready to go.
Oh stay! I fled a land where fields are green
Always, and palms wave gently to and fro,
And winds are balmy, blue brooks ever sheen,
To ease my heart of its impassioned woe.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 21, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

Sounds of the Winter

Walt Whitman – 1819-1892

Sounds of the winter too,
Sunshine upon the mountains—many a distant strain
From cheery railroad train—from nearer field, barn, house
The whispering air—even the mute crops, garner’d apples, corn,
Children’s and women’s tones—rhythm of many a farmer and of flail,
And old man’s garrulous lips among the rest, Think not we give out yet,
Forth from these snowy hairs we keep up yet the lilt.

This poem is in the public domain.


Michael Cantor

Plover Island is a fragile barrier beach that hovers in the Atlantic, north of Boston. A community of wind-and-sea-salt-blasted wooden houses hides in its sand and shrub brush. From October through April the water turns steel gray, and seals can be seen playing in the channel and sometimes on the beach. The summer people are gone. Those who choose to winter in a place like this do so willfully. They have been captured by the way the sea grass waves in the wind and then nestles under snow. They are infatuated with the damp brine and seaweed smell of mornings. They stand at dusk behind thick glass deck doors, and watch the low, dark storm clouds scud down from the north. They seek silence and solitude.

the surf, the moon
and summer renters
drunk and loud

The day after a heavy January storm buries the island it is totally silent. You cannot hear the wind. You cannot hear the surf. The house feels compressed by the immense weight of snow it bears. It is smaller, tighter. The flames of the wood stove push back the walls, keep us alive. We whisper. Outside, the noon landscape is whiteness, punctuated by a few small pines. I read Kawabata’s Snow Country again. Beyond the bleached and frozen beach, the winter ocean waits, dead black.

gray-rimmed and bare,
this pale midwinter beach
lets gull bones bleach

2nd place, Haiku Society of America Haibun Awards 2017

Brrrr! Let’s warm ourselves up by writing about winter! Write a haibun about this chill season.

For those new to haibun, the form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.

New to dVerse? Here’s what you do:

  • Write a haibun about winter.
  • Post it on your personal site/blog
  • Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky
  • Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
  • Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so
  • Have fun!