Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow Day!

It's the third snow day in less than a week, here in Missouri, and I wanted to share the magic.  There's something about snow days that bring out the kid in everyone.  What a weird phenomenon -- first crouching around the radio or T.V. to be extra sure your school or place of business is, indeed, closed; then the celebratory jig or sigh; then the "free" day to spend shoveling, cooking, eating, playing.  Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins nails the essence of a snow day in his poem bearing the same title.  Enjoy!

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.

Billy Collins, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Billy Collins.


  1. Billy is hands down my favorite poet, followed closely...okay, maybe tied...by/with Mary Oliver. I love this one, Debra. While I a grateful for the warmth of Southern California, I do miss the snow.

  2. Isn't this a great poem? He is amazing!

  3. I just read the Smoky post and feel a kinship here--Mary Oliver is my favorite poet. I like Billy Collins, too. This is the first long snow-in that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Guess that pleasure is a well known one.

  4. I also adore Mary Oliver! I'm glad you've enjoyed your snow-in, Rose Marie. It is wonderful to take some forced down time, isn't it? :)