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;

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