I can’t let bad news on Covid, narcissus fly losses and me griping about paying excessive prices on ebay (when no one is forced to part with their money) pass without offering something positive. So here’s a little poem for the shortest day.

Snowdrop – Ted Hughes  

Now is the globe shrunk tight 

Round the mouse’s dulled wintering heart. 

Weasel and crow, as if moulded in brass, 

Move through an outer darkness 

Not in their right minds, 

With the other deaths. 

She, too, pursues her ends, 

Brutal as the stars of this month, 

Her pale head heavy as metal.

As the globe has ‘shrunk tight’, predators weasel and crow struggle to survive in  winter’s dark, the mouse hibernates in the earth and, like stars in a cold sky, the snowdrop flowers, albeit ‘pale’ and with ‘metal’ for petal.


6 thoughts on “Ted Hughes ‘Snowdrop’ on the Shortest Day

  1. I detect a positive note. Be careful, it might be difficult to shrug it! (I'm in the Bah-Humbug camp of life! LOL)Positively speaking, more and more snowdrops are showing noses and colour and we should be in to main season shortly and that's good news indeed.


  2. I'm called a grumpy old man by my wife. Yes, lots of buds showing colour and the narcissus more advanced than usual. I won't be seeing 'Joe Spotted' though. Nothing in the pots. Luckily it was a gift and I can replace. I'm sure I don't get so excited about the first roses.


  3. Started off like a train on fire. In shunting yard now. Latest but not necessarily greatest cultivars. Mind you, as I am not flogging them on Ebay I can cover the successes and failures. Of which there have been a few.


  4. I have been most scalded by losses of gifts from friends or one particular uncommon Irish which was given to me because it was thought I would be the one to keep it going — I got it to a clump of over 100 and the next year there wasn't one. By huge good luck I had given a few bulbs to a botanical artists to print – a book I was co-editing on Irish garden plants – and she had three bulbs still going in the pot in which I had given them to her. It has two flowers and a side shoot this year! Relief as everybody else seems to have lost it. G 'Longraigue', named after the house in which it was found.


  5. I've just looked up 'Longraigue', the photograph courtesy of yourself and discovered the Irish Garden Plant Society. Nice snowdrop; haven't looked at the society yet. Good that you saved the bulb. I bought 'Ecusson d'Or' through although not on Ebay five years ago and got friendly with the seller. Two years ago I sent one back as he'd lost the lot. Kindness pays. Just about to delve into your blog now.


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