Monday 2 February 2009


Well here I am, snowbound in Suburbia. I am tempted, as ever, to blame global warming - but, being a true sceptic, I shan't, even though I know very well that at the next heatwave the media will be alive with warmist pundits telling us that this is how it's going to be, etc. Where are they now? Strangely silent. I just hope no gardeners took any notice of all that earnest advice over the past couple of years about switching to Mediterranean-style plants - they'll have an awful lot of dead vegetation on their hands now...
Here's Hardy on Snow in the Suburbs. As so often, he somehow achieves greatness while teetering on the brink of extreme badness.


  1. Lovely poem but, as you say, it is very close to being written by Pooter.

  2. When I first started chipping in my five pen'oth on this blog last year, save Larkin, I had always given 'poetry' a wide berth. I was sure there were rewards there a-plenty, but I didn't quite know how to find them, nor where to look.
    All I would say on this crystalline morning, with thanks, is that your posts have helped to move me along.
    I must now try and work out why you feel this touching piece by Hardy achieves greatness and (more difficult this) also teeters on the brink.

  3. That last line, Mahlerman, epitomises Hardy's brinkmanship: "And we take him in" - referring to a bloody cat.

    Bathetic, oddly specific, mundane to the point of being comic. But somehow hits a target you didn't know was even there.

  4. Hardy does harrowing like no other, Jude takes weeks to recover from.
    Call that snow, huh, the ice road truckers wouldn't even have bothered to switch their wipers on, real snow is a least a meter deep.

  5. I rather suspect we are all "very close to being written by Pooter" these days. Where are the heroes now. At least this patch of hard weather is a reminder of what winter always used to be like till fairly recently. And that pleasing poem is a reminder of how people always used to respond to it, too, I'd guess. All over the country today, extra scraps will be put out on bird tables. Black cat, blackbird. Hard weather reimposes a pretty direction connection it's Pooterishly easy to forget.

  6. And overturns him
    And near inurns him...

    Halfway to McGonnagall - and then that ending! As Brit says, it hits a target you didn't know was there.

    A line in Ashbery's The Skaters always occurs to me at times like these - 'The pump heaped high with a chapeau of snow'. If I had a pump, it wld be sporting a mighty high chapeau today.

  7. I like that poem, and I'm so glad they take the cat in at the end! Because I am immersed in "Gilgamesh" right now, when I see the bird tracks on snow I think they are trying to tell me something in cuneiform.