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 the put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.
babysitting is something i love to do, but i feel like i gained a new kind of love for it this weekend.
i babysat for my literacy professor; her three-year-old niece and five-year-old nephew were in town from richmond and she wanted some quality time with her sister and brother-in-law (totally legit). great kids, insanely sweet, absolutely precious, i could fill a blog post about how fabulous both of them are — and to think, i was their first babysitter! you would have never known. 😉
after i put them to bed, i had another little child to tend to: liam.
now, liam is the heavenly cherub of a baby that my literacy professor adopted.
he. is. perfection.
once the kids were asleep, liam and i relaxed on the couch together while i read him some billy collins — baby’s first poems! i’m honored that i was the one who read liam his first poems. i’m going in his baby book. that’s kind of a big deal.
there is something about having a warm bundle of new life asleep on your chest.
as my diaphragm expanded then contracted, expanded and contracted, he took his quick baby breaths and slept, arms down around my side like he was hugging me. i’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that reading poetry to liam that night counts as one of my favorite moments i’ve had with a child.
i love kids, but there is just something special about tiny babies that sneaks into my heart and captures me completely.
part of the reason i found billy collins poems appropriate for liam was because of something collins once said: “all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter.”
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.
_snow day, billy collins (sailing alone around the room, 2001)