Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

Neither Snow


When all of a sudden the city air filled with snow,
the distinguishable flakes
blowing sideways,
looked like krill
fleeing the maw of an advancing whale.

At least they looked that way to me
from the taxi window,
and since I happened to be sitting
that fading Sunday afternoon
in the very center of the universe,
who was in a better position
to say what looked like what,
which thing resembled some other?

Yes, it was a run of white plankton
borne down the Avenue of the Americas
in the stream of the wind,
phosphorescent against the weighty buildings.

Which made the taxi itself,
yellow and slow-moving,
a kind of undersea creature,
I thought as I wiped the fog from the glass,

and me one of its protruding eyes,
an eye on a stem
swiveling this way and that
monitoring one side of its world,
observing tons of water
tons of people
colored signs and lights
and now a wildly blowing race of snow.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie Robert Paterson (1/6/2014 5:58:00 PM)

    I love this poem. I set it to music (with permission directly from Collins himself) as part of a larger work entitled Winter Songs, with other poems by Wallace Stevens, Richard Wilbur, Robert Creeley and A.R. Ammons: http: //amzn.com/B00FDX26W4 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Matthew Coombe (7/8/2008 1:48:00 PM)

    I love this! I'm a teacher and I used this with a class of 8 year olds! ! They loved it too and understood it perfectly and poetry like this is giving them a real love of it.

    I just think BC is fantastic. His writing started me writitng. Thanks Billy (Report) Reply

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