William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Winter - Poem by William Shakespeare

When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When Blood is nipped and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who;
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who;
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


Comments about Winter by William Shakespeare

  • Gold Star - 32,821 Points Akhtar Jawad (1/9/2015 4:17:00 PM)

    A beautiful poem................................ (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Silver Star - 3,852 Points John Richter (1/9/2015 12:25:00 PM)

    Not a huge Shakespeare fan - though this poem seems palatable. Still the language barrier causes me to wonder too much to really enjoy. Blowing a nail? I agree that 'ways be foul' probably means any trek outdoors. A commenter below mentioned that the narrator might be in love. I didn't get that feeling. Unless 'greasy Jane' is a heck of a lot more attractive than she sounds! (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 789 Points Stephen W (1/9/2015 8:01:00 AM)

    'ways be foul' probably means 'paths are muddy' (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 789 Points Stephen W (1/9/2015 8:00:00 AM)

    'ways be foul' probably means 'paths are muddy'. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 184 Points Karen Sinclair (1/9/2014 8:15:00 PM)

    A nice warming write of Tom Dick Marion and Joan Surprisingly easy calming write by The Man. Seems to be the write of a man in love who is appreciating the smaller niceties in life with humour. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 16,998 Points * Sunprincess * (1/9/2014 12:58:00 PM)

    ..........a perfect poem for winter... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mark Jensen (1/9/2013 3:10:00 AM)

    Starring the staring owl! And greasy Joan.

    I see someone on a website says 'Joan' means 'prostitute, ' but Norman Blake in his 'Shakespeare's Non-Standard English' (2006) has a long long list of terms Shakespeare uses to mean 'prostitute' and 'Joan' is not among them. This poem appears late in the very early comedy 'Love's Labour's Lost' but there is no character named Joan in the play. It appears as part of the rather bizarre end of the play as the second of two poems, the first being on 'Spring, ' which Armado introduces as the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled in praise of the Owl and the Cuckoo, adding that It should have followed in the end of our show. I like this poem but find the play rather tiresome. I never have much liked Shakespeare's comedies. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mark Jensen (1/9/2013 3:10:00 AM)

    Starring the staring owl! And greasy Joan.

    I see someone on a website says 'Joan' means 'prostitute, ' but Norman Blake in his 'Shakespeare's Non-Standard English' (2006) has a long long list of terms Shakespeare uses to mean 'prostitute' and 'Joan' is not among them. This poem appears late in the very early comedy 'Love's Labour's Lost' but there is no character named Joan in the play. It appears as part of the rather bizarre end of the play as the second of two poems, the first being on 'Spring, ' which Armado introduces as the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled in praise of the Owl and the Cuckoo, adding that It should have followed in the end of our show. I like this poem but find the play rather tiresome. I never have much liked Shakespeare's comedies. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mark Jensen (1/9/2013 3:09:00 AM)

    Starring the staring owl! And greasy Joan.

    I see someone on a website says 'Joan' means 'prostitute, ' but Norman Blake in his 'Shakespeare's Non-Standard English' (2006) has a long long list of terms Shakespeare uses to mean 'prostitute' and 'Joan' is not among them. This poem appears late in the very early comedy 'Love's Labour's Lost' but there is no character named Joan in the play. It appears as part of the rather bizarre end of the play as the second of two poems, the first being on 'Spring, ' which Armado introduces as the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled in praise of the Owl and the Cuckoo, adding that It should have followed in the end of our show. I like this poem but find the play rather tiresome. I never have much liked Shakespeare's comedies. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 16,998 Points * Sunprincess * (10/18/2012 11:05:00 AM)

    I believe the people mentioned were actually friends
    or relatives..the poem portrays a harsh winter..excellent write.. :) (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,702 Points Ramesh T A (1/9/2012 3:04:00 AM)

    Picture of winter is wonderfully depicted in his characteristic style that no one other than Shakespeare can do better! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie R W (5/14/2007 9:07:00 PM)

    Oh, and for the people who don't know-'blows his nail' means he's blowing on his fingernails to warm them. Roasted crabs= roasted crab apples, not the seafood. Greasy joan keels the pot= stirs the pot to cool its contents. Also, the 'parson's saw' means the 'preacher's sermon.' It's almost impossible to appreciate this poem if you don't understand these terms. Excellent poem! (Report) Reply

    Freshman - 789 Points Stephen W (1/9/2015 5:44:00 AM)

    well done for giving us this info.
    I don't understand why some people don't like this informative post? There are some mad people on here.

  • Freshman - 644 Points Paul Butters (1/9/2007 5:12:00 PM)

    As I type this, the poem above has a rating of 6.5 from 39 members! Heaven Help the rest of us then! Okay, this isn't, 'To be or not to be...' so surely just a Low Ten? ! ? Feel the bard is only playing here but it's still rather wintry! PaulB. (Report) Reply

    Freshman - 789 Points Stephen W (4/18/2015 6:00:00 PM)

    Very good point. I've given it a 9. I don't know why masterpieces get low ratings on here while beginner's efforts by members get a 10. This is a brilliant poem, of wonderful skill. It brings us back into Shakespeare's time, I can just see Joan keeling away at the crabapples.

  • Rookie Paul Myers (9/24/2005 2:09:00 PM)

    What can one say that hasn't been said already about Shakespeare? He really makes me feel like I'm in the middle of winter. I especially like the line 'And greasy Joan doth keel the pot.' (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: snow, red, home, wind, winter



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, January 9, 2012


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