The Snowman in the Yard
(For Thomas Augustine Daly)
by Joyce Kilmer
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 the seas;
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 lot,
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 mansion fair;
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 made,
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 is laid
For the tiny house with the trampled yard,
the yard where the snowman stands.
They say that after Adam and Eve were driven away in tears
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.