Bad news: an unexpected slip in the snow

It was as the snow started falling
that she blurted it out

not meant for the kids, not meant for here,
for the snowwoman with her pink hat
and old carrot nose,

And once it was out
she wished she could call it back in,
like a dog you could whistle to,
but it wouldn’t, you couldn’t

Extract from Snow, by Sarah Broom. – full (short) poem Snow .


Sarah Broom was a New Zealand poet who found she had lung cancer when pregnant with her third child in 2008. She died in 2013.  She said that this poem was written before she knew her diagnosis. If so, it feels as if she was anticipating it.

Her poem Ward 64 (from Tigers at Awhitu, Oxford Poets / Carcanet Press Ltd, 2010) is featured in Tools of the Trade, a short book of poems given to all new doctors graduating in Scotland.

Further info

Contributed by

Neil Turner

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Sarah Broom: Ward 64

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