Editor's Choice "winter solstice" Haiku Thread





Winter Rituals


John Daleiden, US


The "winter solstice" occurs exactly at the instant when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. The seasonal significance of the "winter solstice" establishes a point in time when the shortest day and the longest night of the year take place.  Culturally, the term is used to identify Midwinter events to give recognition to concepts of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals and other celebrations around the time of December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere or June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.

In this "winter solstice" November / December Haiku Thread forty-two poets from thirteen countries contributed 209 poems.

The "winter solstice" is like a journey through the long tunnel of time: while there is a gradual change in the amount of light at the beginning and end of the journey, there is also a significant period of darkness in the middle of the journey.  People around the world have devised many ways to celebrate the "winter solstice" and the Sketchbook poets have expressed some of these experiences in delightful haiku.

One significant group of haiku celebrates "winter solstice" with the obvious effect that the changes of time impose on human lives:

summer solstice
the long and short of it
winter solstice

# 19. Bernard Gieske, US

sharing the sun—
your shortest is
my longest

# 189. Barbara A. Taylor, AU

winter solstice
as our paths diverge
days darken

# 11. Gerry Bravi, CA

winter solstice—
somebody gives me a sign
to turn on the headlights

# 71. Tomislav Maretic, Croatia

shortest day...
a string of tail lights
exits the mall

# 72. Michele L. Harvey, US


winter solstice—
the shadows teeter
between day and night

# 10. John Daleiden, US

longest night—
the street lamps catch
a flurry of snow

# 140. Jacek Margolak, PL


The longest night—
alone in bed, I listen
to the sound of the sea.

# 12. Zhanna P. Rader, US

snowy summits—
last sunlight triggers the
dark silence

# 180. Wolfgang Beutke, DE

winter solstice—
an avalanche of darkness
crashes into the fjord

# 178. Wolfgang Beutke, DE


Winter solstice—
the snow and the moon
brighten the night.

# 112. Zhanna P. Rader, US

a black, cloudless sky,
stars, and a cinnamon moon—
Christmas lights below

# 139. Ruth Walters, UK

winter solstice...
summer never seemed
so close

# 167. Dejan Pavlinovic, CR

Accompanying the changes of time, of course, are the changes in weather elements: snow, ice, cool temperatures: Humans engaging with the weather—often a test of human survival:

two white snowflakes
falling down—
winter solstice

# 168. Juhani Tikkanen, FI

against the blizzard
trying to find
some festive cheer

# 187. Barbara A Taylor, AU

whistling tea kettle—
from the dark sky
some more snowflakes

# 170. Juhani Tikkanen, FI

winter solstice
icicles under the eaves
longer and longer

# 144. Jacek Margolak, PL

mid-winter evening
still no footprints in
the porch snow

# 125. Elliot Nicely, US

shortest day
cinders from the stove spread
on the walk

# 184. Michele L. Harvey, US

gentle snowfall
beauty comes
before the slush

# 104. Patricia Carragon, US

home-made quilts
covering her bed
scent of pine

# 158. Terrie Relf, US (semi)

old sweaters
how much colder
it is tonight

# 160. Terrie Relf, US (semi)

A second significant celebration of "winter solstice" are the seasonal events held during this time of year:

Mistletoe and kissing:

first kiss
under the mistletoe
winter solstice

# 15. Peter H. Pache, US

sometimes the wish to be
someone else

# 192. Michele L. Harvey, US

The giving of gifts:

longest night...
hiding the gifts deeper
in the closet

# 195. Michele L. Harvey, US

Singing Christmas Carols:

winter solstice...
the whole family
singing carols

# 127. Keith A. Simmonds, TT

Burning the Yule Log:

Yule log...
the nooks and crannies
at granddad's house

# 62. Michele L. Harvey, US

Attending a "winter solstice" party or a seasonal event:

after the party
walking home with a tilt
winter soltstice

# 41. Bernard Gieske, US

winter solstice—
more and more friends
in the pub

# 73. Tomislav Maretic, Croatia

Trimming the Christmas tree:

winter solstice—
one winged angel
on the christmas tree

# 138. Jacek Margolak, PL

December snowfall
Christmas decorations
without the fuss

# 96. Patricia Carragon, US

It’s snowing outside
I hang Christmas doilies
on my windows

# 98. Patricia Carragon, US

Preparations for Santa Clause:

perfect penmanship—
a year between letters
to Santa

# 151. Michele L. Harvey, US

midwinter snow—
strewing hay for the deer,
cookies for Santa

# 155. Michele L. Harvey, US

The list would not be complete without a few senyru:

longest night—
the department store Santa
lies about his age

# 197. Michele L. Harvey, US

Christmas eve...
church overflowing with
once-a-year christians

# 206. Keith A. Simmonds, TT

St. Thomas' Day
the midget makes a beeline
for the man in red

# 152. Ralf Broker, DE

*Venerated as a saint, in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Thomas' feast day is on December 21.

A third group of "winter solstice" haiku written by this group of poets reflects the effect of this yearly event on other animal creatures:

winter solstice
even the owl
becomes hoarse

# 33. Bernard Gieske, US

longest night...
an owl passes
through my dreams

# 58. Michele L. Harvey, US

five PM—
all the house sparrows
fast asleep

# 61. Janice Thomson, CA

the darkened barn,
the white-faced calf

# 68. Michele L. Harvey, US

cuddling puppies
under a warm blanket
winter solstice.

# 79. Priyanka Bhowmick, IN

the shortest day—
our tom-cat sleeps by
the fireplace

# 117 D. V. Rozic, Croatia

early dusk—
the tit on the windowsill
can't see me

# 122. D. V. Rozic, Croatia

winter solstice—
amid heaps of sea-thrown kelp
the corpse of a sunfish

# 130. Jon Davey, UK

midwinter dusk—
startling each other
the dog-fox and i

# 136. Jon Davey, UK

midwinter moon
irregular prints
where the fox has been

# 157. Michele L. Harvey, US

midwinter moon
round the boundary line
coyote calls

# 163. Michele L. Harvey, US

A fourth group of "winter solstice" haiku focuses on the seasonal effects on plants:

winter solstice
he takes his time
to smell the lilies

# 81. Michele L. Harvey, US


winter solstice—
the gorse thicket's
first few blooms

# 132. Jon Davey, UK

A fifth group of "winter solstice" haiku delineates a wide range of human responses to the this seasonal change:  depression, physical adaptations, tragedy and death.

the longest night—
all my nightmares
repeat broadcasts

# 166. Juhani Tikkanen, FI

shortest day...
the flare of tempers
in the aisles

# 76. Michele L. Harvey, US

Human physical changes:

winter solstice—
one more child expected
next September

# 51. Zhanna P. Rader, US

longest night—
heavy with our second child
my wife slumbers fitfully

# 134. Jon Davey, UK

winter solstice
she rubs his frozen shoulder
with tiger balm

# 169. André Surridge, NZ

Psychological impact:

winter solstice—
boiling the teakettle
again and again

#59. Janice Thomson, CA

winter solstice
as our paths diverge
days darken

# 11. Gerry Bravi, CA

The longest night—
alone in bed, I listen
to the sound of the sea.

# 12. Zhanna P. Rader, US

home from our walk—
truffled popcorn with butter
on the shortest day

# 32. Neal Whitman, US

Winter solstice—
listening to the rhapsody
on the old gramophone

# 198. Maria Tirenescu, RO

house bound
solitaire played out
winter solstice

# 24. Neal Whitman, US

at the Save-Mart
winter solstice

# 01. Neal Whitman, US

Human tragedy:

Christmas snow
the disappearance
of another climber

# 159. Michele L. Harvey, US

husband’s death…
on the longest night
I grasp for dawn

# 60. Karen O'Leary, US

Actions humans take to divert winter ennui:

winter solstice
lovers sip champagne
by candlelight

# 14. Karen O'Leary, US

winter solstice
the trapeze artist flips
for his return journey

# 102. Audrey Downey, US

A sixth group of haiku celebrate seasonal foods:

Mexican chocolate
how the moon rises
above the palm trees

# 67. Terrie Leigh Relf, US

cup of hot coffee
mixed with cream and chocolate
winter solstice.

# 88. Priyanka Bhowmick, IN

A seventh group of haiku celebrate authors:

midwinter night
in the crime novel
the plot thickens

# 199. Michele L. Harvey, US

the midwinter darkness
of his neighbor's house

# 89. Michele L. Harvey, US

longest night...
the abbreviated version
of Dickens

# 87. Michele L. Harvey, US

at midnight
the last page read—
winter solstice

# 57. Janice Thomson, CA

Taken all together, these "winter solstice" haiku offer readers a wide variety of themes.









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