Snow – Louis MacNeice – Analysis


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.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes–
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of your hands–
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Louis MacNeice (1907 – 1963) 1935

S1 … The bay window spawning snow – spawn = mass of eggs of a fish … white eggs of course, and it gives that image of a flurry of snow suddenly thrown against the window causing someone inside LN to move his attention to the bay-window. The pink roses inside are attacked for snow and roses are quite incompatible entities, you could say snow is a killer.

I do like that word ‘suddener’ … we are continually getting sudden impacts from the world … more than we fancy … also if we are fully focused on something a sudden sound will draw our attention elsewhere … and today the natural world is making a lot of noises due to climate change!

S2 … The word is crazy. The Greeks realised this years ago when they defined the primal state as one of chaos. However there is always plentyincorrigibly plural, and taste and touch add to that understanding of the plenty as shown by the example of peeling and eating a tangerine and spitting the pips. And things are so various in the ways they present to our senses. And we often see things differently when we see them the next time independent of alcohol! A drunk sees and emotionally responds to things in many ways!

S3 … I think spit and spiteful go together so nicely connecting the last two stanzas. There is more than glass separating the roses and the snow. They affect our senses in so many different ways. Our connection with the material world is something for contemplation. And this is a poem that celebrates how the plural abundance in the world communicates with humanity.

Louis MacNeice on Wikipedia

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