Snow in the Suburbs
Every branch big with it
Bent every twig with it
Every fork like a white web-foot
Every street and pavement mute
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.
A sparrow enters the tree,
A snow lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eyes
And overturns him
And near inurns him
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.
The steps are a blanched slope
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin
And we take him in.
I have always loved this poem ever since I came across it way back in the dark ages. I studied it as part of my A level literature but I think that it should be accessible to my more able year 5s and certainly year 6. I’m going to use it as a guided reading text sometime in the next couple of weeks and see what they think. I think that the images of the sparrow nearly being drowned in the snow and the poor cat will be as appealing now as they were to Hardy’s original readers over 100 years ago.