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London Snow
by
Robert Bridges


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When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
    Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
    Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
    All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
    And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled — marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
    The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
    Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
    Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
‘O look at the trees!’ they cried, ‘O look at the trees!’
    With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
    When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul’s high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
    For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
    But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

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Robert Bridges (1844 –1930) was an English physician and writer. Illness forced him into retirement from the medical profession at the age of 38, leaving him free to write full-time. His primary interest was poetry, though he also wrote plays and some nonfiction. Many of his poems were set to music and, in addition, Robert wrote and translated a number of hymns. Although he served as England’s poet laureate from 1913 to 1930, Robert‘s work is not nearly as well known as that of other poets who served in that post.

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
JanetruthMartin:
I look forward to your foreword and the daily poem each morning almost like I anticipate my coffee! Poems like this is why.
Posted 12/07/2012 06:03 AM
Katrina:
Not many people possess skis in England; most do in Aberdeen.
Posted 12/07/2012 05:41 AM


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