Monday, March 24, 2014

Snow Night

When I was a kid, lots of snow meant no school. The "snow day" represented a whole lot of time messing around creating and destroying a whole lot of stuff. Wars and sliding would leave no mark unless someone misfired on another's eye, got busted up on or by an invented sliding apparatus, or caught a chill from being in clothing not built for kids hyped up on primal adrenaline for hours on end.

To celebrate the memories of all of those snow days of the past, here's a poem by Billy Collins I found and love. After a lifetime of thinking all fun stops when the sun goes down, this painting is an appreciation for the other side of the snow day (which needless to say I did not have as a child), the snow night.

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.
The Snowy Night • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

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