Chesapeake WINTER


.. .. .. .. The Chesapeake Saijiki – WINTER

The Chesapeake Bay is on the East Coast of North America.

Please read the general introduction here.

Please add your kigo and information.

M. Kei, April 2006
Editor of the Chesapeake Bay Saijiki


The Collection of Seasonal Words

.. .. .. WINTER

.. .. Season

cold --

winter day --

winter night --

winter solstice --
World Kigo Database: Winter solstice (tooji)

.. .. Heaven

deep snow --
It rarely snows in the Chesapeake Bay region, but when it does, it dumps a deep snow. These snows usually occur late in the season and may range from eight to twelve inches up to thirty inches. Owls are usually a summer topic when outdoor lifestyles permit people to encounter them more readily.

World Kigo Database : Snow

last night a deep snow
on a porch rail this morning
two owls side by side

~ Denis Garrison, US
Previously published in Haiku Harvest and Eight Shades of Blue, Lulu Press, 2005.

drizzle --
The infamous winter drizzle. It rarely snows here. It rains, sleets, drizzles, and drips.

World Kigo Database: Rain in various kigo

December drizzle --
even the weeds turn purple
with the cold.

~M. Kei, US

thunder snow, thundersnow --
The unique topography and meteorology of the region sometimes combined to produce ‘thunder snow’, the Weather Service’s name for snowstorms that include thunder and lightning.

a couple dance
the blues away

Alan Summers
Hull, Yorkshire, England, December 2010


winter moon --
Although the winter moon may not be as large and bright as other moons, when it can be seen through the naked branches it is particularly effective, and even more so when it becomes our companion on a long trip.


“For half of the year, thick foliage hides the houses in the Virginia woods. It gives such a pleasure, therefore, to see the lighted windows among the leafless boughs, although of course it has been expected. On one such evening, in the distance, I saw a single light slowly moving up… and up…”
~ Tei Matsushita

lights in the woods…
one inching upward
--the yellow moon

~ Tei Matsushita, US
Previously published in Matsushita: a fusion of painting and poetry , 2003.


winter rain --
While rain can fall at any time of year, in the Tidewater region the weather is usually not cold enough for snow. Therefore we get cold, hard, chilly, gray, unpleasant rains during the winter. The winter rains are essential to replenish the reservoirs and groundwater for the coming year. Without it, the spring will be dangerously dry, damaging to crops, and with great risk of wildfires.

World Kigo Database: Rain in various kigo

winter sun --

.. .. Earth and Sea

.. .. Humanity

Fireplace fires/chimney smoke --
In Maryland, winters are moderated by the Chesapeake Bay; nevertheless, there are some weeks of bitter cold (by local standards) and many homes are furnished with working fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, etc., to supplement heating. So, in Maryland, chimney smoke is a sign that someone has felt the chill of winter deeply enough to fire up their stove or fireplace. See also boat-tailed grackles, Summer.

chimney smoke
caught by the wind
endless flock of grackles

~Denis Garrison
Previously published in Haiku Harvest and Eight Shades of Blue, Lulu Press, 2005

lack of tourists --
During the winter, tourists are few and far between, parking is plentiful, and the ducks and geese and other forms of wildlife ignore the humans as they know the locals won’t feed them.

the tourists have all gone,
but the herons remain

~ M. Kei, US
Previously published in ‘Wandering the County,’ Runner-Up, Lighthouse Poetry Contest, 2006.

Martha Lewis --
Youngest skipjack built for oyster-dredging and still in operation. Martha was built in 1955, the last year anyone thought a skipjack could make a living. Now operated by the non-profit Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy and still oystering. Also takes charters.
For more info on Skipjack Martha Lewis:

Aboard the Martha Lewis,
with a sky half sun and half storm,
we race for flat water.

~M. Kei, US
M. Kei is a crewman aboard the Martha Lewis.

Rebecca T. Ruark --
Oldest skipjack still sailing, oldest United States Coast Guard certified vessel still in operation, Rebecca was built 1884. No longer oystering, she is now a charter vessel.
For more info,

skipjack --
Skipjacks are the official Maryland State Boat. Skipjacks are a traditional wooden sailboats used for dredging for oysters. Skipjacks are muscular sloops distinguished by their wooden hulls and masts and very large sails. The Chesapeake Bay skipjacks are the last fleet of commercial sail still working at their original purpose. Since they dredge only in the winter months, November - March, ‘skipjack’ is a winter kigo.

These days few skipjacks are left and they must support themselves with summer charters and educational programs so they can be seen in any season, but they are indelibly associated with winter oystering. In 2002, the skipjack fleet was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of http://www.nationaltrust.org/news/docs/20020606_skipjacks.html America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

oysters in my bed
boats above me
watch out, the dredge!

~Amora Johnson, US

Nothing colder--
skipjacks dredging
for oysters

~M. Kei, US

slack time --
Winter, or any other time when boating is not feasible.

I'll wash it ashore.
slack time is for maintenance.
distant islands wait.

~Harry Armistead, US
Previously published in ‘Chesapeake Bay Haiku,’ Audubon Naturalist News, Feb, 2002.

.. .. Observances

Babe Ruth’s Birthday --
George Herman Ruth, Jr, better known as Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, was born in Baltimore on February 6, 1895. The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is open to the public and offers events.
For more info,

Christmas --
World Kigo Database: Christmas

Edgar Allen Poe’s Birthday --
Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday is January 19, and is observed at his home and grave. The Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore.

Wedding jams-- (Late winter)
Cecil County in the Chesapeake Country was once home to numerous wedding chapels. People from all over the East Coast would run away to the ‘Greta Green of the East Coast’ to get married. While few wedding chapels are left in business, Valentine’s Day still brings hordes of couples to be married.
No one should attempt to drive Main Street in Elkton, MD, around Valentine’s Day as the one lane wide street will be choked with traffic jams of limousines for wedding parties. Famous people married in Elkton include Babe Ruth and Billy Holiday.
For more information on how to get married in Elkton, http://www.seececil.org/weddings.html


.. .. Animals

Canada geese (Branta Canadensis) --
Canada geese overwinter in the Chesapeake Bay in great numbers and are everywhere in the sky, the fields, and waters. Some decide they like it here and won’t go back where they came from. These RP (resident population) Canada geese can be a nuisance.

take back your geese!
We have too many!

~M. Kei, US

oyster (Crassostrea virginica) --
The American Oyster, also called the Eastern Oyster and Virginia Oyster, is native to the East Coast of the United States. The Chesapeake Oyster is a subspecies of the American Oyster. It is a hard shellfish, typically 2 - 6 inches in length, growing about one inch a year. It is a filter feeder and peforms an important ecological function in cleaning the Chesapeake Bay.
The oysters have been all but wiped out by pollution, disease, and overharvesting. Skipjacks are no longer economically viable and there is talk of declaring the Chesapeake oyster an endangered species.

snow geese --
Snow geese also over winter. Though not as numerous as the Canada geese, flocks of them can fill fields.
World Kigo Database : Snow Geese

.. .. Plants

holly berries --
American holly (Ilex opaca) is native to the eastern United States, and is especially common in the Mid-Atlantic region. Hollies are dioecious, meaning they have male and female plants and both are necessary for pollination and propagation. Bees are the principle pollinators. Notoriously hard to grow, some ancient hollies were planted in the colonial or early American period and persist to this day, and have given their name to many old mansions and houses. They are evergreen and broadleafed, providing cover to many birds. The red berries persist in winter and are an important supplemental food for birds. They are sold as ornamental plants, especially at Christmas.
World Kigo Database: Holly

A grey day --
even the holly berries
are dark.

~M. Kei, US


Christmas trees --
While most Christmas trees are cut elsewhere and shipped to the region, numerous small Christmas tree farms dot the area and often provide the opportunity for customers to cut their own Christmas tree.
World Kigo Database: Christmas Tree



All poems copyright by the authors and used with permission. All images, unless specified otherwise, are courtesy of the WikiCommons projectand are posted in accordance with the licensing agreement(s) accompanying each image on that site.


Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Spring

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Summer

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Autumn

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Winter

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Non-seasonal topics, miscellaneous

. BACK TO .. .. .. Chesapeake Bay, USA .


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