Dust of Snow


Robert Frost


        The poem indicates toward the human behaviour categorising things. In our life many things are placed before us as an example of bad omen. In this poem the elements which poet has talked about are crow and hemlock tree, and both of them are example of bad fortune or death. Poet wants to show that these are all cultivation of human mind that we distinguish things on the basis of various myths.

The poem is a short poem consisting eight lines, yet deep in meaning. Poem represents poet’s sadness with the help of the snow and elements like, crow and hemlock which resembles gloominess. The way crow sat on the tree and snow dust fell on poet’s shoulder gives an idea of a connection between crow and poet. The next stanza talks about poet’s mood which shows that how this incident has changed something inside poet’s mind, how he was able to forget something harsh because of the crow.

Word Meaning

  • Shook: Shake
  • Hemlock: A poisonous plant (tree) with small white flowers
  • Rued: held in regret

Literary Device in the Poem

  • Rhyming Scheme- abab cdcd
  • Enjambment – the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.
  • Alliteration- the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words

Example from the poem:

Has given my heart

And saved some part

Thinking about the Poem

1. What is a “dust of snow”? What does the poet say has changed his mood? How has the poet’s mood changed?

Ans. “Dust of snow” means fine particle of snow.

        Poet’s mood was changed from grief to happiness and he didn’t want to waste his day anymore. The incident that occurred in the frozen place changed his mood. The crow who was shivering from cold sat on the hemlock tree, and shower of snow which fall on poet gained poet’s attention and this changed poet’s mood.

2. How does Frost present nature in this poem? The following questions may help you to think of an answer.

(i) What are the birds that are usually named in poems? Do you think a crow is often mentioned in poems? What images come to your mind when you think of a crow?

(ii) Again, what is “a hemlock tree”? Why doesn’t the poet write about a more ‘beautiful’ tree such as a maple, or an oak, or a pine?

(iii) What do the ‘crow’ and ‘hemlock’ represent — joy or sorrow? What does the dust of snow that the crow shakes off a hemlock tree stand for?

Ans. Frost has chosen different way to present nature in this poem.

(i) Generally, birds like nightingale, sparrow, peacock, pigeon are used in the poems. But use of crow is unusual, as it symbolises dark or grief. Crow is often used to represent negativity and this is what comes generally into our mind.

(ii) Hemlock is a poisonous tree which indicates towards bad omen, and poet has used this tree instead of oak or pine to make it clear that it is also part of nature. And it’s our mind which has distinguished things.

(iii) Crow and Hemlock present sorrow, but in case of poet it is reason for his happiness. And the dust of snow shows change.

3. Have there been times when you felt depressed or hopeless? Have you experienced a similar moment that changed your mood that day?

Ans. Human nature is to feel depressed or hopeless, but in every case, reasons vary and the power to come out of this phase is already inside us, and one should have faith in himself/ herself.

        Yes, music and observing nature can change someone’s mood.

Fire and Ice


Robert Frost


        Fire and Ice is a symbolic poem, where fire and ice are used as symbols to present human emotions. Passion and desire are represented with the word fire while ice represents hatred. Poet believes that excess of anything turns out to be the reason of destruction, that’s why in the poem he says that world “Some say the world will end in fire// Some say in ice.” Poet is one who does not believe in hatred and thus supports one who, wants to follow the path of fire. Poet justifies that how both could be the reason for destruction and end of the world.

Word Meaning

  • Perish: die
  • Suffice: be sufficient

Literary Device in the Poem

  • Rhyme Scheme- abaa bcbcb
  • Alliteration- the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words

Example from the poem:

Some say the world will end in fire

Some say in ice.

  • Enjambment – the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.

Example: the last four lines of the poem

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

  • Personification- the attribution of human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.

-In the poem fire and ice have been personified.

  • Anaphora- the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses.

Example from the poem:

Some say the world will end in fire

Some say in ice.

Thinking about the Poem

1. There are many ideas about how the world will ‘end’. Do you think the world will end some day? Have you ever thought what would happen if the sun got so hot that it ‘burst’, or grew colder and colder?

Ans. the increase in global warming can cause world end. But I’ve never thought sun becoming so hot that it could burst or becoming extremely cold.

2. For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ stand for? Here are some ideas:

                greed       avarice    cruelty    lust         conflict    fury         intolerance      rigidity insensitivity     coldness         indifference    hatred


Fire: Greed, Lust, Conflict, Fury, Conflict and Avarice
Ice: Intolerance, Rigidity, Insensitivity, Coldness, Indifference and Hatred

3. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem? How does it help in bringing out the contrasting ideas in the poem?

Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abaa bcbcb. He presents his idea about both ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ in two different stanzas. He portrays these two essential elements as metaphor of destructive human emotions, desire and hatred. Just like fiery desires and icy hatred can cause damage to an individual in an, in the same manner fire and ice can lead the world to the verge of chaos.

Categories: General


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Contact Us
Welcome to Tapoj Online Interactive Classes
How can I help You?
Just drop the message
Very soon our member will contact you.