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


  1. Siwon says:

    all of your comments have been helpful in formulating my own view of this beautiful poem. i’m currently trying to prepare a presentation script based on this poem and two other poems by Frost, but though all the poems suggest beautiful sceneries and the intricate cycle of nature, it’s kinda wearing off on me…. anyone with the same thoughts?
    Frost’s poems are good, but i just don’t know how are you supposed to direct your points in such a way that you’re saying his poems are deceptively simple. they just look simple, and appears to be shallow and descriptive more than cryptically commenting on the society or his views on religion. i just don’t get how you people can come up with such varied responses to a simple 8-lined poem like this.

  2. Jean says:

    This poem shows how you should consider about optimism. I’m mostly pessimistic, so after reading this poem it made me think about how I should change my ideas. I think this poem is one of the best poems I’ve ever read^-^*

  3. Anne Johnson says:

    I view this poem as a clearer view of my “bad luck” childood. The crow being the parents I inherited and the dust of snow as a gentle relief and hope for the future. It certainly has given me a change of mood and a positive outlook for the future. This poem just “popped” into my mind a few weeks ago when I was really struggling with something in my personal life.
    Oh, what the unconscious can do!

    It is one of my very favorite poems.

  4. Ashok Limaye says:

    What can be the best example of optimism than the poem – Dust of Snow ! Great poet Robert Frost has given this great message through a short poem.

  5. Gee says:

    Sincerely, this poem is one of the best poems I have ever heard of or read. There are so many interpretations to this poem that I could talk about it for ages, but instead of that, I’m going to explain the way I see it.

    The way a crow – The crow represents the death and is a symbol of bad luck. Since crows are dark, they represent the comparison of good (snow, white) against evil (crow, black). Not only is this understandable but something interesting is that “Black-Krow on Snow” is currently my “MSN” nickname and it has been so for a long time. In some way, Robert Frost and I share the same thoughts. It might be a reason for which I have become a fan of most of his work. He has probably gone through “dark, sad, black” parts of life, just like me, and then…

    Shook down on me
    the dust of snow – The narrator receives “dust of snow” on him. The act of receiving represents a trigger. The dust of snow is another comparison of “good” against “evil” or “clean” against “dirty”

    From a hemlock tree – This is the part that has exploded in my mind when I looked up in an Internet dictionary and learned that hemlock is a dangerous and venomous tree specie. Add this to the crow and you notice an extremely powerful coincidence and aura of death and bad luck. This creates an enormous sensation in me, just like anxiety. It pretty much describes the worst thing you would encounter.

    Has given my heart
    A change of mood
    And saved some part
    Of a day I had rued – This represents the reaction created by the trigger. It triggers a good feeling in the narrator because the all of this makes him realize that his “rued” day was nothing bad compared to this. In fact, it was so extreme compared to his bad day that finally, he notices that he has passed a great day and It changes his mood. This means that when Robert Frost went face to face with death, he changed his mind about his life and became more optimistic and confident about it.

  6. Renee says:

    i love this poem

    and its really

    easy to memorize

  7. Lerly says:

    there is sooo much to this poem, the structure and meanings, you can read on forever but never finish interpreting it. i love the way it’s been put together, the abab rhyming format and (as sam said) the 4-4-4-5 syllable showing change in mood. i think Frost is telling us that the tiniest things can make all the difference, this attitude helped Frost out of his own depression after experiencing death in his family. Robert Frost Rules!

  8. I.D.N. says:

    Thanks for all of the interperations of the poems. I used them for my essay and i got 100%. Thanks!

  9. john says:

    i really love this peom but i dont know what is the real meaning but i agree with sam also the interpretation of kyle but i dont want her attitude everyone of us we have different understanding to this peom

  10. Pardus says:

    I am currently studying this poem in college and i am finding it difficult to apprehend your interpretation of this poem. I must say i agree with Kyle, as how exactly have you perceived the rhyming scheme as four seasons? Because the poem clearly talks about one season, that beng winter. I also like to point that ABAB as the crows footsteps may possibly be reaching a little too far into the meaning.

  11. holly says:

    the poem apprears to be light-hearted but after analyzing it, it is obvious that the poem has a deeper meaning. the poem shows that if something should happen to you, you should be happy that something worse did not happen. The crow sybolizes death while the snow symbolizes good fortune or luck. The hemlock tree could symbolize someone or something looking out for the speaker like a friend or God. The last four lines ofthe poem show how grateful the speaker is to still be alive and to have someone looking out for him. The poem shows nature in a different light.

  12. cooper says:

    i think this pome is short and simple and i really enjoy reading it

  13. Yosef Uzbek says:

    i like this poem much! its such a pleasing poem to read and is a great reflect on life and simplist things. short and sweet. thankyou Mr. Frost

  14. Michelle says:

    This peom showed a good example of mood and I thought that using french for the very last word was excelent.

  15. Jessica says:

    it shows that if something small happens to you you should be glad that it is not something worse. Be thankful for what u got

  16. Emily says:

    I am analyzing this poem for English and thank you! Everything that everyone has said is really helping me understand the meaning of this poem.

  17. katherine says:

    im doing an essay on this poem for school and i think that all the reasons that everyone has sumitted are all things that this poem could mean….personally when i first read this poem i thought it was written after his wife died but when i looked it up i found that it wasnt….i believe this poem is saying that your day might start out bad but the simplest things can make it better….

  18. anu young says:

    frost is a poet that deals with the metaphysical aspect of life. in a way he is a romantic poet with a love for nature but a critic to man. he deals with our subconscious mind by elaborating on what we see but not acknowledge all the time, hence i think this particular poem is like a postivity towards distress and tragedy. coz as he said “has given my heart a change of mood”.

  19. Tina says:

    I totally understand this poem the way casey did. I agree it is looking at “bright side” after a bad day. I really like it, it seems positive and happy.

  20. Charli says:

    Hi Sam, I’m currently studying Robert Frost for A-Level too! Your comments are really useful, particularly compared to Kyle’s unnecessary remarks. I think the word you were looking for was ‘no’ as opposed to ‘know’, Kyle.
    I especially agree with the fact that Frost leaves his poems open to everyone’s personal interpretation.
    Where abouts in the UK are you from Sam?
    On the subject of Frost, however, I love the way he takes such trivial actions and transforms them into profound, meaningful observations. My interpretation of ‘Dust of Snow’ is that the use of the lexis ‘crow’ and ‘me’ represents the relationship the narrative voice has with nature, and how nature heals humans whereas they act as a destructive force (found in many of his poems), he creates a balance.
    Also, I feel that the title reflects dichotomy, black vs. white, dirt vs. clean, negative vs. positive. I completely agree with Casey’s interpretation too.
    By the way, does the word ‘hemlock’ have a specific meaning?
    Thanks guys!

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