ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Walkin' in my Winter Wonderland: Frost Poems and Pictures

Updated on September 22, 2015
RedElf profile image

Elle Fredine (RedElf), photographer, published author - strong supporter of pet neutering/spaying, fierce advocate for no-kill shelters

Hoar Frost

When Mother Nature hits us with a sudden blast of cold, at least in this part of the country, she sometimes softens the blow with an indescribably beautiful phenomenon called "hoar frost." Some call it frozen dew, or white frost.

According to Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, hoarfrost is:

hoarfrost [ˈhɔːˌfrɒst] n (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point.

While the National Snow and Ice Data Center defines hoarfrost as:

Hoarfrost: a deposit of interlocking ice crystals (hoar crystals) formed by direct sublimation on objects, usually those of small diameter freely exposed to the air, such as tree branches, plant stems and leaf edges, wires, poles, etc., which surface is sufficiently cooled, mostly by nocturnal radiation, to cause the direct sublimation of the water vapor contained in the ambient air.

Frosted Grass
Frosted Grass | Source

Origin of the name

As you can see from Anne Burgess' lovely photo of hoar frost on grass (on the right), the frozen dew is deposited and frozen in layer after layer of needle-like ice crystals, giving the object a rime or beard of frost.

Perhaps a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet, but "hoar frost," even with its dry and scientific explanations, perfectly describes the trees and fences bearded with this ephemeral winter joy. In Old English, the word hoar refers to an old man's beard:

hoar - Old English: har "gray, venerable, old," the connecting notion being gray hair, from P.Gmc. *khairaz, from PIE *koi- "to shine." German retains the word as a title of respect, in Herr. Of frost, it is recorded in O.E. (hoar-frost is late 13c.), expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard.


Fleeting Beauty

Breathe on bearded post and rail, frost crackles faintly, swiftly fades,

Leaving icy dew behind, beaded, gleaming in the sun;

One puff of breeze on crystal rime, frost feathers shatter, flutter, flee,

Borne on high to melt in sunlight, winter glory, quickly gone...

Lace against an azure sky,
Marshmallow frosting on each branch -
Winter's cotton-candy coating -
Softens twig, and leaf, and prickle;
Bearding line, and pole, and twiglet,
With delicately frozen grace;

Faintest tint of rose on azure, lilac streaks the hazy sky,

Mother Nature's chilly present, feast for shutter fills the eye,

Quickly capture fleeting grace, by softest zephyr borne away;

Winter's gift, her frosty treasure, fading with the too-short day...


...and one, in fun, for Flora

I do not like the snows that fell;

The reasons why, I'll quickly tell:

Yes, this I know, and know right well,

I do not like the snows that fell;

The fluffy flakes that downward drifted,

Over road and lane have sifted,

Coating lane, and path, and stair

With slippery frosting, everywhere;

Some, they dream of skis and sleigh;

I wish that it would melt away;

Snow creeps in each unguarded crack,

Sneaks up my pant-legs, down my back;

Mitts and scarf shield hands and nose,

And clomping boots protect my toes

While I slip and slide in cold un-grace

To keep chilled self upright and safe;

I'd like to move to warmer climes,

And leave this drifted stuff behind;

Somewhere sand and palm trees beckon,

Thatched huts are for me, I reckon;

I'd rather surf and sail, by heck,

But I must go and sweep the deck!


Text and photos by Elle Fredine

The photos in this hub were all taken by the author at about 3:30 pm, at the end of the back lane, looking across the fields, towards the Peace River Valley.

© 2011 RedElf


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, Green Bard! We always seem to miss what we don't have - I have spent enough winters on the west coast to miss the snow and frost, but not for long.

    • Green Bard profile image

      Steve Andrews 5 years ago from Tenerife

      Living in Tenerife as I have done for the past eight years, I must admit I miss seeing frost! I have voted up and beautiful for this hub and your equally beautiful photos and words!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Hoarfrost is amazing, isn't it, James A Watkins?! Thanks so much - I was thinking about "the doctor" when I wrote the poem, as well as a very old one I based it on that begins "I do not like thee Dr. Fell; the reasons why I cannot tell, but this I know and know right well; I do not like thee, Dr. Fell."

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed this journey. I love hoarfrost. Your pictures are magnificent and your poetry sublime. Great Hub!

      When you wrote, "one, in fun, for Flora," I was hearing Dr. Seuss in my head. :-)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, MovieMaster. I enjoy writing poetry and taking pictures is a great inspiration for the words.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Fabulous photos and wonderful writing, I love the poem.

      Thank you and voted up

      best wishes MM

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Absolutely lovely, fabulous poem and stunning photos.

      Thank you and voted up

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      RTalloni, we have some heavy frost here right now (I am visiting at the coast), but back home, our temporarily high humidity had caused the snow to turn into crunchy diamonds - it sounded like we were walking through sparkling sugar crystals. Thank you - always lovely when you stop by and comment.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      "Lace against an azure sky" certainly is a beautiful description of the delicate winter scenes I've seen. Having lived in Florida nearly all my life I am still amazed at the snow and ice we get to see here in the Carolinas. Having seen some of the snowy weather in Alaska, I've learned that snow does interesting things in varying lights. Thanks much for sharing a lesson on frost and your captivating poetry.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so very much - I am so pleased you stopped by for a look-see! I enjoy working on the HubNuggets Team - thanks!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Enchanting Hub, with lovely pictures.

      Loved Fleeting Beauty; captured the magic.

      Thanks. Will read more of your poetry now.

      (Thanks too for all the work you must have done on the HubNuggets).

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Hi there, DF - I am off to the coast for a visit, but doubt it will be terribly warm there, either :D Glad you enjoyed the poems and pictures!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

      Awesome poem, Redelf, and the pictures are beautiful. l like them as pictures , though and long for the days when l lived in a sunny climate. Cést la vie.!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      So pleased you enjoyed the photos and poems, Peggy! I'd like to move south right about now, too.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Enjoyed your poem and the photos are beautiful...but brrrrr!...made me feel cold just looking at them. I loved living up north as a child, but am happy to live in the south as an adult. It is in the low 70's today on December 3rd. Might get some much needed rain tomorrow. Voted up and beautiful!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, kingphillipIV - I appreciate your stopping by to read and comment.

    • kingphilipIV profile image

      Ramphil Basco 5 years ago from Iloilo, Philippines

      To all the poems that I've read from your own set of hubs... This is one of the best.. Promise..

      King Philip IV

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, Rosemay50! They can be far more chilling than beautiful, some days.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I liked both poems and the photos are lovely.

      I am just s pleased that I no longer have to live in those very cold winters. They look beautiful but far too chilling for me

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so very much sagebrush_mama! I am so pleased you like the poems and the photos.

    • sagebrush_mama profile image

      sagebrush_mama 5 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

      I absolutely loved both of these, along with the photos! Beautiful work!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Jaspal, climbing in the Himalayas sounds like quite an adventure - maybe one you could write about on HubPages? *nudge, nudge*

      Thanks so much, drbj. Some days I wish I could say I live among the palm trees, too.

      Paradise7, so glad you liked the photos and poems - thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      livelonger, thank you too. I am so pleased you enjoyed my photos and words! On days like today, I'd prefer to appreciate the frost in a photo, too.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Stunning pictures, and beautiful poetry alongside them. I have to admit that it's easier to appreciate the hoar frost in pictures than to be out in the cold and see them up-close! Thank you for sharing these with us, RedElf.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Lovely pics and poem, thank you RedElf!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Lovely photos, Elle, and I enjoyed your poetry - both serious and light. Living in the sub-tropics I do not miss the snow but visit the north every once in a while just to remind myself how lucky I am to be living where 'sand and palm trees beckon.'

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Enjoyed the poems and the beautiful pics, Red.

      The etymology was also most interesting. This old man's beard, quite black in 1976, had been clean frosted off the right side of his face after being caught in a snow blizzard while climbing in the Himalayas. :)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so very much, Xenonlit. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and writing, and left such a complimentary comment :D:D

      Flora, sometimes the old-fashioned words just fit the best. It must be my music background. Glad you enjoyed "your" poem :D

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Oh, I'm thrilled to have you dedicate a poem to me. Yes, this does sound like me talking. :)

      As for the first poem, it is beautiful. I rarely hear or read people using words like zephyr anymore. The ice crystals are fascinating and intricate.

    • Xenonlit profile image

      Xenonlit 6 years ago

      Wondrous pictures and great writing. I enjoyed this too.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      So glad you enjoyed the pictures, mary. I will "almost" miss the snow too, when I visit the West Coast.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      I feel fortunate to live in S. Fl. but your photos are so beautiful, it almost makes me miss the snow and ice. Notice I said "almost". Your photos are absolutely beautiful. When I lived in Atlanta, Ga. we would awaken to a view such as the ones you have. Thanks for sharing these lovely sights.