Tag Archives: Ezra Jack Keats

Winter Haiku

Here are some winter haiku from Japan, paired with illustrations from around the world.

Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

Koson Ohara

Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

Alois Garigiet

Carlos Marchiori

Ezra Jack Keats

Antonio Frasconi

Yury Vasnetsov

Most of these haiku came from the website Japan Powered. Please click here to read more Winter Haiku.

A traditional haiku has 17 syllables written in 3 lines (5/7/5) often using images from nature. I hope these poems will inspire you to write a winter haiku of your own. If so, please send it in to the comment section! Or send a haiku that someone else wrote that you like.
Here is my attempt.

Black branches scribble
Crooked words on chalky sky –
Twigs snap the cold spell

And here is a winter haiku I saw on a friend’s tee shirt.

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense

Let It Snow

Seattle at this time of year is dark, wet and coldish. But it is not snowy, and in December I want snow.  Let it snow!Midnight Ski, Julie Paschkis

This illustration was painted by Alois Garigiet for the 1958 book The Snowstorm by Selina Chonz.snowstorm, alois garigiet

Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire wrote and illustrated Ola in 1932. I saw a documentary once where they demonstrated their technique. Every color was drawn in black and white on a separate sheet of translucent paper or acetate. They both worked on every drawing. The results shimmer.Ola, Parin d'Aulaire

Ivan Bilibin’s 1932 painting of Father Frost is stylized, but based on perfect observation of snow on trees. Also he uses color sparingly; the warm tones are a gift just like in a real winter landscape.bilibin father frost

Last winter this painting was on my favorite blog, Animalarium. The palette is crazy and exhilarating.fortnum bag

Kamisaka Sekka’s snowy traveler has a completely different mood from Ezra Jack Keat’s Snowy Day illustration, but there is an echo in tilt of the bodies.keats snowy day

kamisaka sekka

Despite the beauty of snow and the cheer of holiday lights I often feel the underlying melancholy of December. Maybe that is why this is my favorite winter poem:
In The Bleak Midwinter,  by Christina Rosetti

In the bleak mid-winter
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 mid-winter
Long ago.

And here is a final painting by Alois Garigiet from The Snowstorm to banish any melancholy.carigiet procession