Johnjoe's Snowman

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.

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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1The Flying Spring Onion

2Cows on the Beach

3Cecil the Spider

4Fishbones Dreaming

5Lucy's Gosling

6James' Mum

7Johnjoe's Snowman

8Blue Hair

9The Red House


11My Dear Mungo

12Night Boy

13All the Dogs

14Me and Benjy

15After Dinner

16Up on the Roof

17Dog in Space

18The Money Tree

19Worrying Days

20Flat Bird

21Ghost Story


23A Boy


25Off School

26The New Boy

27Only the Wall

28In the Desert

28The Silent Knight

30The Not-So-Slow Loris

31The Nobody on the Hill

32A New Me


34The Field

35The Bad Girl Haiku

36While I Practise my Piano

37My Party



40The Moon

41The Burglar

42The Butcher


44The Sleeping Sailor


46I Went to the Future

47Maggot Song