Dust Of Snow by Robert Frost – Relevant For Today

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life,Motivation,Poem

night snow covered tree

Dust of Snow

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.

by Robert Frost

As you probably remember, Robert Frost is my favorite poet. I love the imagery in his poems. They create wonderful scenes in my mind which help me to feel the words more deeply.

So I’m going to break down the meaning of the poem while coordinating it with some pictures I took of the snow when it was almost night. Strangely enough, I didn’t add any color to the photos even though they are a vivid blue. Amazing color don’t you think?

Let’s take a closer look at the poem and apply it to our life today.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow

The black crow is commonly a symbol of death and fear.

Shook down on me
The dust of snow

Since the crow is not associated with goodness, it is ironic that in this poem, it is doing a good deed by shaking off the snow.

From a hemlock tree

Robert Frost didn’t choose to use an oak, maple or pine tree. No, instead he chose the hemlock tree which is usually associated with poison and toxicity. Maybe you’ve heard it called by the names of Poison Hemlock or Poison Parsley. Anyway, the beautiful snow that adorns the poisonous hemlock tree’s branches is shaken off by a scary crow.

Has given my heart
A change of mood

Robert Frost uses the elements of the fearsome crow and poisonous Hemlock tree to do something good – shake the white, pure snow off the branches. This good act lifts the suicidal person’s spirits causing him to change his mind about killing himself. The small act causes the man to have an enlightened insight.

And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Rued, according to the dictionary, means: “To feel regret, repentance, pity, remorse, or sorrow for.” However, Rue is also a plant that is cultivated for its use medicinally. There is a bit of irony here that Robert Frost refers to the poisonous Hemlock and the medicinal Rue.

So we have a poisonous Hemlock tree covered in pure, white snow and a man who is depressed, planning to kill himself and walking under the tree. At that precise moment, the black crow of death shakes the pure, good snow onto the man. All that goodness helps the man to change his mind about killing himself. Instead, he decides to live, forget the regret and sorrow to enable healing.

by Robert Frost

Obviously, he is the greatest American poet of all time in my opinion.

Dust Of Snow Poem’s Relevance Today

The poem, Dust Of Snow by Robert Frost, reiterates that the little things in life can make huge changes in our future. It also shows that if we can take the hard times of life in stride, eventually something will happen to change our situation into happier times. The simple things we do for others can make all the difference. Just think about those random acts of kindness we do and how much they brighten a person’s day and sometimes changes their future.

Noticing and appreciating all the small things in life will make your life happier. It will also cause you to have a spirit that is willing to change and therefore succeed.

Let’s do this poem one last time now that you have some insight into the poem and can truly appreciate the meaning of these short, but magnificent verses. Don’t forget to read all the way to the end of the post past the picture.

Dust of Snow

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.

by Robert Frost

night snow covered tree blue

You have officially been dusted by snow today. Enjoy.
 

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 teresa1944 April 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I felt like I was in English in High School,lol. You are so dang smart

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2 Sherry Riter April 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm

LOL LOL LOL Thank you!

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3 Joan April 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I have often said that you are a born writer. Now I add to that you are a born teacher. Your classroom is the Internet. 🙂

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4 Sherry Riter April 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm

😀 You and Mom said the same thing without even knowing it because I hadn’t approved her comment before you made yours! LOL Thank you, Joan! 😀

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5 Virginia Llorca April 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I put your name in for that Leibster Award that keeps going around. I am not sure what “notifying” you means, but, if you are interested in participating, you can just copy the questions and rules off my blog. I think that is how I did it when it was sent to me. The questions are fun, but it is time-consuming. Maybe good for a little more blog traffic.

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6 Sherry Riter April 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Thank you! I enjoyed reading your post and several times it made me laugh out loud. Love your sense of humor. 😀

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7 Philip Bond April 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Didn’t know the poem, nor poet. Now Sherry, I do. Thank you.

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8 Sherry Riter April 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Good! I’m glad I could enlighten you! 😀

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9 Kathy Morelli,LPC April 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Beautiful interpretation of this lovely poem! What a master Robert Frost is! To be able to include so much meaning into such a short verse! Beautiful interpretation! Thanks for the lovely sprinkling of snow! Much love, Kathy

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10 Sherry Riter May 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. {{{hugsss}}}

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11 Vailanka Gauncar June 19, 2013 at 11:32 am

Your explanation is fantastic. love it! Keep it up

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12 Sherry Riter June 21, 2013 at 7:43 am

Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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13 caroline January 21, 2015 at 12:46 am

it’s a hemlock TREE, not the parsley-like plant. they are two very different plants. the tree symbolizes protection, not poison. also, i don’t know where you got the suicide from, but nothing pertained to that.

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14 Mike September 28, 2015 at 10:22 am

Well done ! Loved the way you actually brought up the vivid image up in my mind ! Reminded me of my English class ! Thank You !

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15 Sherry Riter November 23, 2015 at 8:59 am

English class was my favorite time of the day! 😉

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16 David N February 28, 2016 at 4:15 am

I recited this poem at school when I was 8 years old. I have never forgotten it 55 years later and I still recite it.

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17 Joshua May 19, 2016 at 11:20 am

I know this comment is really late (3 years since you posted this), but I really appreciate this interpretation! It made me love more this poem and it helped me a lot for a major course of mine. Thank you Madam Sherry for sharing your ideas to the world, and to me. Cheers! 🙂

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18 kjramey June 14, 2016 at 10:42 am

what is the theme?

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19 Cathy Longstreet October 18, 2016 at 7:20 pm

The hemlock mentioned in the poem is not the poison hemlock. The poison hemlock is actually a fairly tall wildflower (or weed, depending on your point of view), not a tree. In Kentucky it grows in late spring and frequents ditches and the aprons of railroad tracks. It seems to let us know it is the end of the school year and the beginning of summer.

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20 Sue December 18, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Firstly, this is one of my favorite poems. It is true that good writing is a mirror, so it reflects both the writer and the reader but to fully appreciate a piece of writing you often have to understand something of the culture from which it comes. One of the reasons I love this poem is because I appreciate Robert Frost’s cultural background because in part it is similar to my own. This poem is about the beauty and simplicity of the natural world, where a crow can actually just be a bird not an ill omen of death, that is an attribute given to it by man and only in some cultures. For example, in certain Native American tribal symbolism and lore, the crow can be a harbinger of change, a messenger or a magical being conveying personal integrity or strength of mind. Furthermore a hemlock tree Tsuga canadensis is a pine tree also known as Canadian Spruce and is far from toxic, being a medicinal and food plant. The hemlock you refer to is not a tree but a European native plant, Conium maculatum, of the carrot family, which incidentally wouldn’t be in leaf in snow. It is famous for being used by Socrates to commit suicide, which is may be where you got the suicide idea from, which I actually do not see in this poem at all. Very simply put this poem is about how when a day hasn’t gone well a small event such as a ‘dust of snow’ can be a reminder of how the beauty of nature can make everything better, as for example the medicinal spruce. However, as a mirror, you are free to interpret it differently but be aware of the crow and the hemlock. All the very best from Normandie, Sue

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