Only Snow – a poem by Allan Ahlberg

I don’t think anything excites Brits, weather-wise, more than snow.  There’s a sense of awe and wonder when it first arrives – quickly followed by panic-buying and a media-frenzy that puts us to shame. I love this poem by Allan Ahlberg which captures beautifully the yearning children have to be out it it, instead of stuck in the classroom.


Only Snow



Outside, the sky was almost brown

The clouds were hanging low.

Then all of a sudden it happened:

The air was full of snow.




The children rushed to the windows.

The teacher let them go,

Though she teased them for their foolishness.

After all, it was only snow.




It was only snow that was falling,

Only out of the sky,

Only onto the turning earth

Before the blink of an eye.




What else could it do from up here,

But fall in its usual way?

It was only weather, really.

What else could you say?



The teacher sat at her desk

Putting ticks in a little row,

While the children stared through the steamy glass

At the only snow.


Taken from the anthology Please Mrs Butler (Puffin 1983)


mrs b


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4 Responses to Only Snow – a poem by Allan Ahlberg

  1. Jenny Ritchie

    I love Allan Ahlberg’s poem about snow. It has inspired me to write a poem about the disappointment felt by my Year 3 children and the rest of the school on Friday, as they awaited a heavy snowfall in St Asaph, which never came:

    Spoilsport Snow –
    Where did you go?
    Not here I know.
    You teased us all day
    with your fancy
    dancing and twirling,
    turning our school yard
    into a merry-go-round
    of squealing bumper cars.
    But a sparse sprinkling
    of castor sugar
    was hardly enough to
    make a Snow Queen grow –
    Spoilsport Snow!
    As you tucked in the country
    with awesome linen sheets,
    we want to know –
    Why did you miss us out?
    Where was our blanket of snow?
    Not here I know.

    by Mrs Ritchie

    • Allan Ahlberg’s poems are always spot-on, I think. He knows children and he knows schools. As for your response to ‘Only Snow’ – wow! You’ve captured that disappointment perfectly. I do hope you’re keeping all your poems together somewhere? For when you start writing in earnest?

  2. Shannon Challoner

    Hello helana i am shannon from ysgol esgob morgan . i like your books alot

    • Hi Shannon. How lovely to hear from you. Whose class are you in? Come and say hello next time I visit (in May). I am happy that you like my books! 🙂