In China they talk about winter coming in nine sets of nine days beginning with the winter solstice. This poem describing the change in weather sounds really nice when spoken aloud in Chinese. I wish this page could talk!
1st nine, 2nd nine, don’t take hands out of your pockets;
3rd nine, 4th nine, walking on ice;
5th nine, 6th nine, at the river’s edge we look at willows;
7th nine, river’s open; 8th nine, swallows return;
9th nine plus nine, plow oxen are everywhere in the fields.
Just for fun… the Mongolian Version
This is so lovely to think about… In colder places, like Mongolia, they have a different version! Here it is:
First nine – shimijn arkhi (mild alcoholic beverage made of milk) freezes
Second nine – arkhi (vodka) freezes (second distillation, also sometimes, they say Russian vodka freezes)
Third nine – tail of three-year-old yak freezes
Fourth – horns of four-year-old yak freeze
Fifth nine – boiled rice does not congeal any more
Sixth nine – roads blacken (ie, snow melting on blacktop)
Seventh nine – hilltops blacken (snow melting on the lower hills)
Eighth nine - ground becomes damp (snow melting on grass)
Ninth nine – warm days set in
Perhaps it would be fun to make your own version of this poem for your own surroundings?