Poetry Sunday: Snow Day by Billy Collins

We don't generally get a "revolution of snow" where I live. Indeed, if we got snow it would be a revolution of sorts. But Billy Collins writes of places that are more...wintry. Where snow can cause the closing of schools and interrupt the plotting of children. 


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.

Comments

  1. A lovely poem! I enjoyed it very much!

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  2. nice. there's a special silence that comes after a heavy snow fall; sort of a feeling of hidden things coming a bit closer...

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    1. I remember that silence that you speak of after the heavy snows of my childhood. It was a unique feeling. In the countryside even the birds were momentarily still and quiet.

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  3. I liked this! Revolution of snow is a pretty great phrase, isn't it? We had one Sunday night/Monday (16") which has evaporated a bit, but we'll mostly be stuck with now until April...

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    1. "Revolution of snow" is a particularly descriptive and evocative way of describing it.

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  4. It really does capture the essence of a serious snowfall and the image of the three girls plotting is precious. I hope they conjure up some creative mischief!

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  5. I kind of miss the mounds of snow described in the poem. We have been having light dusting or scatterings of snow, no more than an inch.

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    1. Even an inch would be welcome here. Recently we've had quite cold (for us) weather but no sign of any white stuff.

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  6. Thank you for sharing another beautiful poem!

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  7. I've experienced some heavy snowfalls in my life. I used to love walking out in snowstorms and experiencing how everything is muffled, everything is slowed. Now, as an older adult, my speed is more listening to the plastic radio giving the school closings as I brew a pot of tea....lovely poem.

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    1. Yes, I, too, can remember enjoying those heavy snowfalls when I was younger. Not so sure I would find them enjoyable today.

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  8. As hard as it is for me to identify with what is being described, the poet still managed to paint a very clear image in my mind of something I've never experienced for myself. I'd probably wave my own "white flag" if it ever happened here.

    Quick Note: Dorothy, I'm putting Book Chase to bed after 15 years, and I didn't want to just disappear on everyone so I'm leaving notes around letting people know. I'll still be around cheering from the sidelines, commenting and tweeting, etc. as much as I can, and I'll look forward to reading about you 2022 discoveries.

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    1. I'm so sorry I'll no longer be able to read your reviews on Book Chase, Sam, but thank you for letting me know. I would have wondered and worried. I do hope you will still find time to visit me here.

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  9. We don't get winter here either and this poem just makes me want to move more north even more!

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    1. Our winters are typically mild, although recently we've had more than our share of cold weather. We don't generally get snow, however.

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  10. I don't even need snow to shut down like this...all it takes for me is a dismal gray and cold day like today.

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  11. Love the phrase "the grandiose silence of snow" and remember last year's February and extremely rare snow and ice that shut down the traffic and invited so many birds to the yard.

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    1. That's the thing about snow here. We don't really know how to deal with it and even an inch of the stuff can shut everything down!

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