After a long, tiring month (or two, let’s be real) of holiday shopping, cooking, and decorating, you definitely deserve a day to relax with a good book, a warm, comfy blanket, and a hot beverage of choice. The most difficult part (at least for me), is deciding what to read! With so many amazing novels out right now, it’s hard to commit to just one. Which is why I like to cuddle up with a sampler of poems. Poems are short(ish), sweetly complex, and just the thing for a chilly winter night.

Here are eight cozy winter poems that perfectly polish off the month of December! Sit back, get the sound of a fireplace crackling, and enjoy some much-needed R&R.

1. “After The Winter” by Claude McKay

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

Both winter and summer make appearances in this poem, and they go together so beautifully. McKay’s message that hope is always around the corner will warm you right up. If you’re not fond of the frost this season, then don’t worry, the sun will rear its head in no time.

Read the full poem here.

2. “It Sifts from Leaden Sieves” by Emily Dickinson

It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.
It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain,
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

Come on, what’s winter without snow? Dickinson’s descriptions are so detailed and delicate, that you can practically feel the chill against your skin as you read, though luckily this way you don’t have cold soggy hands afterwards. You can interpret the snow in this poem in a number of ways, as critics have done. Does it represent time? Eternity? Oblivion? Is it just snow? It’s up to you!

Read the full poem here.

3. “A Winter Ride” by Amy Lowell

So with the stretch of the white road before me,
Shining snow crystals rainbowed by the sun,
Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows,
Strong with the strength of my horse as we run.
Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight!
Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one.

Have you ever ridden a horse through the snow? I think I had the experience in a dream once, but my answer would be a sad “no.” Fortunately, we are given a sneak peak at an exciting snowy horse ride in Lowell’s colorful poem. You can practically see the twinkling snowflakes, and feel the wind in your hair as she rides through the chill.

Read the full poem here.

4. “Winter Heavens by George Meredith

Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home
More than the nest whereto apace we strive.
Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive,
In swarms outrushing from the golden comb.

At first glance this looks like a poem that’ll bum you out; while Meridith’s words discuss the awareness of mortality, they’re really just about the idea of an awaiting heaven, peace and rest. If you want to look past the symbols of mortality, then you can look at this poem as describing a journey in the cold. You may have frozen finger tips and a red nose, but at the end of the day you’ll be back home, back into the warm embrace of a loved one, bath, or bed.

Read the full poem here.

5. “Winter Slitude” by Matsuo Basho

Winter solitude
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

Short and sweet! The great thing about poetry, and especially the haiku, is that there are so many different ways to interpret the words. The simplicity of this poem gives you the chance to see your own story within the lines; where do you go for your winter solitude? What scene do you see when you imagine the wind blowing around the monotone landscape?

6. “Winter Time” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

“Winter time” describes a warm and fuzzy laze by the fireplace on a cold frosty day, followed by a brisk walk in the snow. Though this is technically a children’s poem, it’s great for all ages.

Read the full poem here.

7. “A Winter Song” by Lang Leav

Yours was the melody
she wanted to learn;
it clung to her lips,
in silence it yearned.
It seems as though now,
you forgot every word;
In a field full of flowers,
she was the first.

This one isn’t so much about the winter season, as it is of a romantic tale about how someone can be the summer to your winter. It’s a good poem to read as winter fades, giving way to the flowers of spring, and the hope of new love.

Read the full poem here.

8. “Winter Sleep” by Elinor Wylie

Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr
Is lined within with the finest fur,
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull’s feather,
Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled,
Sweeter than anything else in the world.

My favorite part of this poem is the rhyme —it’s so bouncy you could sing it. The poem also has the staple images of winter; chestnuts, snowy rooftops, animals hibernating and birds emigrating, the end of the year and the beginning of new life. By the time you reach the end, you’ve realized that all along it was lulling you closer to a gentle sleep.

Read the full poem here

[Photos 1, 2, 5, 6, & 8 by me, and other photos found here: x, x, x x x x x x x Main image: via]