(For Thomas Augustine Daly)
The Judge's house has a splendid porch, with pillars
and steps of stone,
And the Judge has a lovely flowering hedge that came from across
In the Hales' garage you could put my house and everything I own,
And the Hales have a lawn like an emerald and a row of poplar trees.
Now I have only a little house, and only a little
And only a few square yards of lawn, with dandelions starred;
But when Winter comes, I have something there
that the Judge and the Hales have not,
And it's better worth having than all their wealth --
it's a snowman in the yard.
The Judge's money brings architects to make his
The Hales have seven gardeners to make their roses grow;
The Judge can get his trees from Spain and France and everywhere,
And raise his orchids under glass in the midst of all the snow.
But I have something no architect or gardener ever
A thing that is shaped by the busy touch of little mittened hands:
And the Judge would give up his lonely estate, where the level snow
For the tiny house with the trampled yard,
the yard where the snowman stands.
They say that after Adam and Eve were driven away
To toil and suffer their life-time through,
because of the sin they sinned,
The Lord made Winter to punish them for half their exiled years,
To chill their blood with the snow, and pierce
their flesh with the icy wind.
But we who inherit the primal curse, and labour
for our bread,
Have yet, thank God, the gift of Home, though Eden's gate is barred:
And through the Winter's crystal veil, Love's roses blossom red,
For him who lives in a house that has a snowman in the yard.