Winter Morning

Winter Morning

by Ogden Nash

Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue!
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing.
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.

Summary of Winter Morning

  • Popularity of “Winter Morning”: A short and direct poem “Winter Morning” by Ogden Nash, a popular American poet, is a descriptive poetic piece. This interesting metaphorical poem describes the surroundings during the weather using a metaphor of a snowman. The popularity of the poem not only lies in its simplicity but also in its seductive rhyming pattern and the poet’s intervention in the last line.
  • “Winter Morning” As a Representative of The Beauty of Nature: The poem opens with a bang from the poet when he declares that winter is not just the best of the seasons, but the king of the seasons. He means that all seasons are showmen but winter is their king and creates several things to prove itself a king. It turns the tree stumps into snowmen and loads the houses with snow, making them appear as if they are birthday cakes. It transforms lakes into sugar plates and the world into a fine pastry to bite it. The poet is happy that such seasons make a person young or at least he/she wants to be young when he/she tries to catch snowflakes with his/her tongue – an activity typically associated with the youthful period. Then the poet intervenes saying that when it snows, it seems snowy and good but it becomes wet and discomforting when the winter season retreats.
  • Major Themes in “Winter Morning”: Beauty of nature, one’s mood and winter seasons are three major themes of this poem. The poet has started pointing out the beauty of nature through the description of winter. Although winter is the month of disappointments and memories, Ogden Nash has looked at it differently from other poets and has tried to make it a season of the young people when all the old folks, too, try to become young touching the snowflakes with the tips of their tongue. In a way, it depends on the mood of a person whether he/she wants to enjoy it as a young man or an old man. However, typically associated with passivity, Nash has transformed this season into an active presence among the people to transform their moods and make them feel young.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Winter Morning”

literary devices are literary tools essential for poetic or prose writing for making the poetic piece a treat to read. The analysis of these devices in the poem “Winter Morning” as given below shows this fact.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “Winter is the king of showmen”, /a/ in “And houses into birthday cakes” and the sound of /oo/ in “The world looks good enough to bite.”
  2. Alliteration: It is the use of successive consonant sounds in the first letters of the successive words such as /s/ in “spreading sugar” and the sound of /t/ in “Turning tree” shows.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /r/ and /m/ in “Turning tree stumps into snow men”, /s/ and /n/ in “Snow is snowy when it’s snowing” and the sound of /g/ in “And spreading sugar over lakes.”
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example,

Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “And houses into birthday cakes”, “Smooth and clean and frosty white” and “The world looks good enough to bite.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. The poem shows the use of metaphor as the winter is shown as a king of the snow men.
  3. Personification: The poet has shown the use of the weather as if it has life and emotions of its own and can change things according to its will.
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. The poem shows the use of the symbols of snow and frost bringing rejuvenation to the deadened spirits.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Winter Morning”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: The poem shows descriptive diction having metaphors.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the AABB rhyme scheme.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There is a single stanza having a total of 10 lines/verses.

Quotes to be Used 

These lines from “Winter Morning” are relevant to use when teaching about enjoying different natural seasons.

That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue!
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing.
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.