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Remembering Snow


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snowy street

Night Snow. Photo by drew leavy/flickr

It is very cold here in England, and there is lots of snow on the ground. What do you think about snow? Yes, snow can be cold and wet and miserable. But it can also change familiar things – our houses and gardens, our streets and our cities – into something strange and new and beautiful.

Good poetry is like snow – it too can change familiar things into something strange and new and beautiful. So I looked for a poem about snow to read you, and I have found one by a poet called Brian Patten.

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Brian Patten

Brian Patten was born in Liverpool in 1946, which means that he is nearly as old as I am! In the 1960s, he was one of a group of young poets from Liverpool whose poems became very popular and widely read. It is easy to understand why – the poems are direct, simple and often funny. Brian Patten is today one of Britain’s leading poets, and he has written lots of poems both for adults and for children. There are links to some of his poems, and to more information, on the website. I sent him an e-mail, to say that I would like to use this poem in a podcast, and he has kindly agreed that I can. So here it is, Remembering Snow.

I did not sleep last night.
The falling snow was beautiful and white.
I dressed, sneaked down the stairs
And opened wide the door.
I had not seen such snow before.
Our grubby little street had gone.
The world was brand-new, and everywhere
There was a pureness in the air.
I felt such peace.
Watching every flake
I felt more and more awake.
I thought I had learned all there was to know
About the trillion million different kinds
Of swirling frosty flakes of snow.
That was not so.
I did not know how vividly it lit
The world with such a peaceful glow.
Upstairs my mother slept.
I could not drag myself away from that sight
To call her down and have her share
The mute miracle of the snow.
It seemed to fall for me alone.
How beautiful our grubby little street had grown!

(Copyright Brian Patten. Used here with permission.)

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