By Billy Collins
Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows
the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.
In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news
that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—
the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.
So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.
And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.
Billy Collins (born William James Collins; March 22, 1941) is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York and is the Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute, Florida. Collins was recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004 through 2006. He is currently a teacher in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.
Source: Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (Random House Inc., 2001)
January 28th, 2014 at 7:18 am
There is always something special about a snow day, LMA
January 28th, 2014 at 1:48 pm
I LOVE Billy Collins … he’s tops. However, being a New Yorker, I must say that I do NOT have a love affair with snow … the flakes are pretty as they float past your window, and romantic if two of you are cuddled up watching … but weeks of dirty, increasingly dark snow on all the streets (especially the corners) rather stops the wonder of it !
January 28th, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Considering we only get snow once a year or so, and only once every five to ten years do we get accumulation, it’s pretty fun down here. Besides, by tomorrow afternoon or Thursday at the latest, it will all be gone. I’m afraid though we will have mostly ice and only a little snow this evening. I’m sure I too would hate it if I lived in a large city where it quickly becomes so dirty; however, out here in rural Alabama, it just adds to the beauty of the landscape.
January 28th, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Wait until you’re living in New York … let’s say with me. Wager on who complains first !
January 28th, 2014 at 3:01 pm
That’s no bet. I’d definitely complain first. Haha
January 28th, 2014 at 5:19 pm
Ha ! Agreed.
January 28th, 2014 at 5:23 pm
Although, come to Alabama in August. I’m pretty sure you’d complain first, lol.
January 28th, 2014 at 5:33 pm
No surprise there either … on the other hand, have you every experienced a hot, humid, summer day in New York … with thunderstorms at night. We have quite the extreme climate.
January 28th, 2014 at 5:36 pm
I have to admit that I’ve never been to New York, but I do hate it down here when as soon as you walk outside you break out into a sweat. Thankfully we have the southern summer cure all: ice cold sweet tea. 😉
January 28th, 2014 at 5:40 pm
Now, that we don’t have … we do have refreshing beverages of many sorts, but not that famous ice tea of yours 😉 … kisses can be nice on humid evenings, or so I’ve been told !
January 28th, 2014 at 5:43 pm
I do believe your right about the kisses. Besides, the heat tends to make us a bit…how to say this…randy.😊
January 29th, 2014 at 5:57 am
January 29th, 2014 at 5:56 am
No sweet tea in New York … but lots of humidity !