A snowy day in London made me think of poetry, and poems where snow takes centre stage, metaphorically or literally.

Louis MacNeice’s Snow, for example:

‘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.’

What wondrous lines, inspired by snow, yet suffused with a meaning that extends way beyond something physical and tangible.

Another of my favourites is the Czech poet Vladimir Holan’s poem Snow:

‘It began to snow at midnight. And certainly

the kitchen is the best place to sit,

even the kitchen of the sleepless.

It’s warm there, you cook yourself something, drink wine

and look out of the window at your friend eternity.

Why care whether birth and death are merely points

when life is not a straight line.

Why torment yourself eyeing the calendar

and wondering what is at stake.

Why confess you don’t have the money

to buy Saskia’s shoes?

And why brag

that you suffer more than others.

If there were no silence here

the snow would have dreamed it up.

You are alone.

Spare the gestures. Nothing for show.’

The pureness of words and poetry, like just fallen snow, white and luminescent, and untainted. Brief magic.