“Dust of Snow” is a short poem by Robert Frost, which was first published in his collection “New Hampshire” in 1923. The poem captures a moment of transformation in which a chance encounter with nature has the power to change a person’s mood.
Poem ‘Dust of Snow’ Outline
The poem “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost describes a transformative moment in which the speaker’s mood is lifted by a seemingly insignificant event.
The first four lines describe how a crow shaking the dust of snow from a hemlock tree has caused it to fall onto the speaker, giving them a small dusting of snow. Despite its apparent simplicity, this action has a profound impact on the speaker’s emotional state.
The second four lines suggest that the experience has changed the speaker’s mood, saving them from a day that they had been feeling regretful or unhappy about. The act of the crow shaking the snow onto the speaker has given them a sense of beauty and wonder in the world around them, and has transformed their perspective on the day.
Overall, this poem highlights the power of small, unexpected moments to lift our spirits and shift our moods, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Stanza-wise literal and literary explanation of the poem “Dust of Snow”
“The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree”
Crow – a large, black bird with a harsh call.
Shook down on me – caused to fall down onto me by shaking (in this case, the dust of snow).
Dust – fine, dry powder made up of tiny particles.
Snow – precipitation in the form of ice crystals, often falling from the sky as flakes.
Hemlock tree – a type of coniferous tree with small, needle-like leaves and small cones.
The poet describes an incident where a crow shakes the dust of snow from a hemlock tree and it falls on the poet.
The crow is a symbol of death, and the hemlock tree is also associated with death. The dust of snow represents something pure and beautiful that comes unexpectedly into the poet’s life.
“Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.”
“Has given” – something or someone has provided the speaker with something
“My heart” – the speaker’s emotional state or feelings
“A change of mood” – a shift in the way the speaker is feeling or thinking
“Saved some part” – prevented a day from being entirely negative, salvaging some of it
“Of a day” – a specific day that the speaker had experienced
“I had rued” – the speaker had previously felt regretful or unhappy about the day in question.
The poet’s mood is uplifted by the incident, and it saves a part of the day that he was regretting.
The poet finds hope in the midst of despair. The dust of snow represents the beauty and purity that can come unexpectedly into our lives and change our mood. The crow and hemlock tree represent death and sadness, but the dust of snow brings a moment of joy and redemption. The poem teaches us to find beauty and hope in the unexpected, and to look for the small moments of joy that can save us from a day we regret.
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Analysis of ‘Dust of Snow’
The poem is only eight lines long, but it manages to convey a powerful message about the impact that small moments can have on our lives. In the poem, the speaker is feeling down and unhappy, perhaps because of something that has gone wrong in their day. But then a crow shakes the dust of snow from a nearby hemlock tree, and the falling snowflakes land on the speaker. This unexpected moment of beauty and wonder has the power to transform the speaker’s mood, to “give my heart / A change of mood” and to “save some part / Of a day I had rued.”
The poem is notable for its simplicity and its use of natural imagery to convey a deep emotional truth. By focusing on a single moment in nature, Frost shows us how even the smallest things can have a profound impact on our lives. The poem is a reminder to pay attention to the world around us, and to appreciate the small moments of beauty that can bring us joy and comfort, even in the midst of difficult times.