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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, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (Random House Inc., 2001)

  • Activities
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Billy Collins
Billy Collins is that rarest of phenomena—a best-selling poet. Cherished for his wry humor, ingenious metaphors and uncanny ability to turn the most humdrum of domestic situations into occasions for memorable poetry, he came to prominence in 1998 with his volume Picnic, Lightning. Born in New York City, and a professor at Lehman College there, he served from 2001 to 2003 as the United States’ poet laureate. See More By This Poet

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