11 Poems That Capture The Essence Of The Holiday Season

The holidays are about a lot more than apple cider and hot toddies. And, whether you're all tea'd out and a little grinchy, or in the mood for some fa-la-la, there's nothing like poetry to capture the essence of the holiday season. After all, poems are like Christmas songs, with pedigree: they encapsulate all the hardest to capture emotions, feelings, and sensations of this magical (and, yes, intense) time of year. 

December is a perfect time to turn to poetry, especially if you're already gearing up for winter resolutions about reading. Spending time with a poem is always a good risk: you might wind up with some unexpected surrealism in your day, find yourself moved to goosebumps, learn new words, and, of course, discover fresh ways of seeing and making sense of the world. If your goal for 2017 is to read more, adding poetry to your literary diet is a good way to be sure that that goal becomes a reality. 

These poems are festive, as in about the holidays and all their accompanying expressions. They're as good for sharing with friends as any gif. Consider them gifts, free and easy ways of sharing the season. If you're sending e-cards, you might share a few lines; if you're into unconventional graces at holiday meals, you might read from some. No matter what you do with these poems, they're sure to help you celebrate the holiday spirit. 

1. "Hermeneutics" by Kerri Webster

All winter she’s been growing more powerful.
Radiant, says the man at the bar.
Voluptuous, says the docent.
Nervy, says God.
All winter her soul has been juddering.
It feels like drinking gold flakes!

2. "Poem For The New Year" by Devin Johnston

I’ve tracked myself from day to day
how many steps through a field of snow
how many hours have I slept
what have I eaten
what did I burn
calories or cigarettes
what birds have poured
through Bellefontaine

3. "Bumper Sticker" by Rebecca Wolff

icy winds
of winter warming
cold air with hot air
under it
accordion pleats
of natural disaster
my disaster

4. "White" by Pierluigi Cappello

where the sparrows tie loose knots
your palms on your eyes, chest on your knees
forehead in the snow.

5. "Cold Zodiac and Butchered Pig" by Sylvia Legris

Flirt fattened Thursday of December’s gorge.
The twelve pigs of the zodiac stew the zeal,
slow simmering giddy fizzling squeals.

6. "Sixth Ave. Green With Blue Corner" by Elaine Equi

How much greener
is paint than grass,
especially in winter.

7. "Snowfall" by Ravi Shankar

Particulate as ash, new year's first snow falls
upon peaked roofs, car hoods, undulant hills,
in imitation of motion that moves the way

8. "Advent Calendar" by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Panels of Nativity
Open paper scenes where doors
Open into other scenes,
Some recounted, some foretold.
Blizzard-sprinkled flakes of gold
Gleam from small interiors,
Picture-boxes in the stars
Open up like cupboard doors

9. "The Oxen" by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

10. "In The Bleak Midwinter" by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

11. "A Visit From St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 

Images: Igor Ovsyannykov/Unsplash; Giphy (9)

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