Johnjoe’s Snowman

Johnjoe built a snowman
shaped like a wigwam
and postbox-sized.

What he didn’t tell
was that inside the snowman
he’d stuffed the cat.

All Sunday morning
he patted with his shovel
the sides of that snowman.

He didn’t bother with a head.
He’d never seen a snowman
that looked real yet.

How was it a snowman?
Because Johnjoe said so,
and he should know.

When it was finished
he stared at the snowman
and saw it wasn’t right.

What the world didn’t need
(apart from frozen cats)
was another white snowman.

In memory of the cat
he took the snowman
and sprayed it black.

Copyright: from Up on the Roof: New and Selected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2001), © Matthew Sweeney, 2001, used by permission of the author and publisher.

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Born in Donegal in Ireland, Matthew Sweeney was one of the most original poets writing for children. The author of eleven books of ...

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