Introduction

Snowdrop written by Ted Hughes discusses the cruel behaviour of nature towards animals and plants. In the poem, the poet explains what happens to the animals when the winter approaches. As in poetry, winter season symbolises death in this poem. And the flower, snowdrop which grows in winters does not bring any joy. It is like a star which does not show way but symbolises death. The poem is written in a single stanza and comprises of eight lines.

Poem

Now is the globe shrunk tight
Round the mouse’s dulled wintering heart.
Weasel and crow, as if moulded in brass,
Move through an outer darkness
Not in their right minds,
With the other deaths. She, too, pursues her ends,
Brutal as the stars of this month,
Her pale head heavy as metal.

Video

Summary

The poet begins the poem with “Now” which depicts that the poet wants us to feel the winter. According to him, the globe has shrunk tight. Globe here symbolises our world and shrinking refers to winter season. The round heart of mouse is dull with extreme cold. In other words, the mouse which remains swift and active does not show any movement as its heart beat has slowed down because of extreme cold.

On the other hand, weasel and crow which prey upon the mouse are also in a bad condition. They appear to have been moulded in brass i.e. they are as motionless and metal-like as brass. They move through an outer darkness without any consciousness with the other deaths.

Outer darkness refers to the extreme winter which makes it difficult for weasel and crow to see. Hence they lose their active state of mind and they look like those who died of cold i.e. it is difficult to know whether they are alive or dead as they appear lifeless.

Next, the poet talks about snowdrop flower which blooms in winter season.. According to him, snowdrop also pursues her ends. The word ends probably refer to “goals” or objectives. In other words, her growth depicts death and doom. Her blooming is as brutal as stars of winter.

In old days, stars were a means of finding way. Hence they were considered life-saving. However during winters, the same stars symbolise extreme cold which can easily kill us. Hence appearance of snowdrop is as brutal as the stars of winter.

The pale (colourless) i.e. white head (flower) is as heavy as metal (because of snow on it). In other words, snowdrop does not have colours as usually spring flowers have. Hence it does not represent beauty or life but death and doom.

Further Reading

Snowdrop Poem Questions and Answers (Class 10)