A Poem for Tuesday

It is Day 2 of cancelled school in Central Minnesota. The snow has been falling and falling and falling and falling. I let the dog out yesterday and he bounded off the step and was in over his head. It was like a cartoon. I could just see this tunnel of snow as he ran out toward the swing set.

There was much rejoicing when school was cancelled again today. I may have to have my own snow day if this keeps up . . . preferably with pedicure and a pina colada. In the meantime, enjoy this Billy Collins poem which I have stolen off the Atlantic Monthly website. I am hoping they don’t notice.

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 is the author of several poetry collections, including The Art of Drowning(1995) and Picnic, Lightning(1998). He teaches in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College.

Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 2000; Snow Day; Volume 285, No. 2; page 86.

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