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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Billy Collins's poem Neither Snow

1 Comment

  1. Pamela Brown says:

    Has Collins lived in NYC? I must ask where on 6th Avenue (Ave of the Americas) are there ‘tons of people’ on any Sunday afternoon?

    The imagery of swirling snow (I recall more wimpy and soggy, rather dirty snow) is charming and reminds me of Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale”.

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