Poetry Sunday: Snow Day by Billy Collins

There have been a lot of "snow days" over the past ten days or so, even in places that don't usually have snow like here in Southeast Texas. Even though the weather brought hardship because our state's power grid was not prepared for it, many kids still found joy in the white stuff. For many, it was the first time they had ever seen snow.

Billy Collins writes of a snow day when the schools are closed and the girls "whispering by the fence" are plotting ways to have fun in the snow.  

Snow Day

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.


  1. It captures the image of snow and the sheer delight children take in it. A snow day when my daughter was in grade school was a big event. Somewhere in all of us, despite the grumbling, I think a little of that remains. Except that a snow day for me means shovelling the driveway!

    1. Shoveling the driveway would not have been a problem for the two inches that we got!

  2. So perfectly lovely. I love winter, but I am a Minnesota Girl through and through so that is no surprise. We were supposed to get 1-3 inches and now the forecast has changed to 4-8. I love it, but I also have to pick Eleanor up from her dad's at 6 PM. It concerns me only because Omaha drivers are not the greatest in winter weather, to put it politely.

    1. A Minnesota girl who loves winter is perfectly understandable!

    2. My Nebraska friends think I'm crazy when I say winters here are nothing. They think this amount of snowfall is unusual, lol.

    3. We had about 2 to 3 inches of snow during our recent cold snap and of course everything ground to a halt here!

  3. That is great verse. It really does capture the image and feel of a snow day.I need to read more fairly modern poetry.

    1. Billy Collins would be a good place to start. His poetry is very accessible and often quite humorous.


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