This is my response to Louis MacNeice’s poem Snow. It’s for Brendan over at Real Toads who asks us to respond to a poem that inspired us.
You came in, and suddenly
the room was full of roses,
as if you were the tipping point
that made it all make sense.
Inside, trapped warmth, rich scent,
and all those roses crawling up the walls,
across the curtains, and the glass vase
swelling on the wooden table,
one petal on the shiny surface, fallen.
Outside, winter,all lines and angles, woodcut.
The world turns in analogue, infinitesimal.,
but we see the moment when the load shifts.
World is evolution.
I’m struggling here. This room too
soft and fragrant. I could sink,
but there is something urgent
out there, beyond the glass.
BY LOUIS MACNEICE
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes—
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands—
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.