Especially when it snows

5 February 2012

Waking in London to a landscape of snow sent me looking for an Adrian Mitchell poem I half-remembered. I couldn’t find it, but stumbled on this one instead, an elegy written after the death of their ‘extra daughter’, Boty Goodwin, who adopted the Mitchell family after being orphaned by the sudden death of her father.

Especially when it snows

for Boty

especially when it snows
and every tree
has its dark arms and widespread hands
full of that shining angelfood

especially when it snows
and every footprint
makes a dark lake
among the frozen grass

especially when it snows darling
and tough little robins
beg for crumbs
at golden-spangled windows

ever since we said goodbye to you
in that memorial garden
where nothing grew
except the beautiful blank-eyed snow

and little Caitlin crouched to wave goodbye to you
down in the shadows

especially when it snows
and keeps on snowing

especially when it snows
and down the purple pathways of the sky
the planet staggers like King Lear
with his dead darling in his arms

especially when it snows
and keeps on snowing

I took the text of the poem from Poetry International Web, rather than re-type it, a rich trove that is well worth a visit. The poem is published in the book Blue Coffee by Bloodaxe Books, which remains Britain’s most consistently innovative poetry publisher. The Bloodaxe site also has a video of Adrian Mitchell reading this poem.

The picture at the top of this post was taken by Andrew Curry. It is published here under a Creative Commons licence: some rights reserved.

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