The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Dust of Snow

78 Comments

  1. B.Pathak says:

    when i read the poem Dust of Snow feel it like a Ray of Hope

  2. Trey says:

    I think that Frost has lost someone close in his life and is in mourning. The day he rued was the death of a loved one is my opinion.

  3. mark says:

    Coming to grips with mortality (the shock of the snow, the crow, and the hemlock tree) allows one to appreciate life more. Frost was not just writing about his own experience, but the human experience.

  4. christine says:

    I think Frost was thinking about the dynamism between the natural world of life/death, yin/yang, luck, chance/ determinism and the fallout from that. (simply put, s**t happens!) CROW ON SNOW
    HIs observation of life/death interaction, its randomness: SHOOK DOWN on ME
    Left him with a new sense of possiblities; a new perspective.
    How would you feel if you observed a crow on a branch, stepping around, letting snow fall from its perch, landing on you? Maybe the snow fell on your upturned face and you had to laugh!

  5. SITANSHU says:

    I am always like the poem by Robert Frost.When I read this poem a someone changes also came in my life.I think that this is about someone vrey pessimistic.

  6. sachin kharat says:

    I have taught this poem to three different groups of stdents. I found a new meaning in these lines. In my opinion that is where the true beauty of this poem.

  7. John Carver says:

    one of my favorite poems- I like the fact that it was written as a sort of “dare” i.e. can you write a poem from any phrase? the phrase was “Dust of snow”

  8. Emily says:

    My favourite poem of all time! Reminds you that hope can be found in the darkest of places. The images of the crow and hemlock tree (which are symbolic of death) would (we naturally suppose) provoke a feeling of melancholy. Instead, ‘it saved some part of a day I had rued.’ Lovely, warming and musical!

  9. rosemary says:

    The hemlock tree Frost knew in New England was probably Tsuga canadensis — a lovely evergreen, not to be confused with poison hemlock — conium maculatum, a tall flowering plant that looks a little like elder (Sambucus sp.) seen in roadside ditches.

  10. Lyn says:

    While walking in the woods the other day, a dust of snow fell down on me from the feathery branch of a hemlock tree and reminded me of the Frost poem. I have always loved its brief and joyous experience. Why analyze it to death? It’s a bit of perfection in every way!

  11. Jaber Alshuga'a says:

    the poem “Dust of Snow” is about nature and how he feels related to nature. This is shown when he says how the crow shook down on him and the dust of snow from the hemlock tree gave him a change of mood. The poem is an explanation to me that he used to think he was superior to nature until nature gave him a change of mood, but kept in his mind how ungrateful he was before.

    With the best wishes for all

  12. BillSalem says:

    Even the title Dust of Snow tells us that it is a cold and deathly omen. The cleric at the grave says: “Remember man, that you are dust.” and one throws dust or dirt on the coffin. The poet’s propensity for interpreting things as bad omen’s makes him think of the dust of snow as a reminder of death. The dark and perhaps scary way the iconic ill omen, the crow, shook the cold dust of snow down on the poet. It was not a heap of snow, just a dusting; enough to get one’s attention, perhaps cause goosebumps. The hemlock tree is another dark symbol. It conjures up death by poison. Socrates. The great philosopher. So the piling up of dark symbol on darker symbol finally adds up to too much gloom. The poet was having a bad day to start with, and now, given as he is, to taking symbolism so to heart, he sees the humor of so much fretting. Perhaps he smiles at how overloaded the imagery is and his own fear. And that moment gives him an insight into how lugubrious he tends to be most of the time. The insight stays with him; whenever he thinks he is being inundated by dark symbols he thinks of that moment and it makes him smile, thus saving that part of an otherwise bad day.

  13. Rhma&sarah says:

    “dust of snow” poem is an experieance of life.It deals with aperson who want to escape from life problems by any way,so when the dust of snow fell on him by acrow that was setting on hemlock tree, directly he think about death that will be the end of his sorrow.the description of the symbols of death “acrow,snow,and hemlock” is meaningful.

  14. MERYAM says:

    While i was readin’ this poem”dust of snow”i noticed that Robert Frost uses lots of figurative language forexample the word “snow” represents the positive aspects in life .Also we can find the two words “crow” and “hemlock tree” which are symbols of negative things like death.and here we can say that life has both negative and positive aspects.so from this poem we have to learn a very important lesson which is that we have always look at the bright side of things after havin’ a bad day or experience.

  15. youyou says:

    actualy,frost’s poem is one of the nicese poems i have ever read.because of its simplicity,it is a richness one;as it represents a human experience in artistic frame,in other words;the poem sum up frost’s life .taking into consideration that frost was educated and grown up in a different surounding than his.there fore,i think it is quite normal to discribe his early life in britain as a dust of snow that freezed his nostalgy or home sickness to words his native country during his childhood.

  16. Crystal says:

    Today my 8yr old who is in the 3rd grade came home with this poem for homework along with a series of questions to describe the meaning of the poem. So after sitting down with my son and helping him to understand I decided to do some research of my own and I am completely dumb founded that he was given such a poem at such a young age when clearly adults can’t seem to understand this poem…at least according to all the other comments.

  17. Tom says:

    Hemlock trees arent poisonous and are completely different from Hemlock. But the name and comparitive smell of them could give an illusion of danger that is a bad event, but in retrospect… isn’t.

  18. Tobias says:

    I read all (many of, anyway) these comments and I just can’t agree with most of them. This poem was written prior to his wife’s death, so I think all of doom & gloom and the interpretations of the crow as death are nonsense.

    Remember, Frost was a poet. Poets, by nature, are often very introspective, brooding deep-thinkers.

    Having snow shaken off a tree on one’s head, and down the back of one’s shirt, is not a pleasant experience. This begs the question, how is this experience better than what had been going on earlier.

    Probably, he was having a pleasant day. That would be rueful for a brooding-poet type because he wouldn’t have anything dark to brood upon. So, getting snow dumped down his back would have been a perfect experience to turn into a wonderful, deceptively simple, little poem for all of us to attempt (without much success, in all likelihood) to interpret.

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