Poetry: Frost – A 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.

I’ve mentioned before in previous posts that I have a particular love of short poetry. This piece is no different. I think I first read Frost’s poem in college, though I only vaguely remember it. Even so, this little piece is quite perfect in its brevity.

First, we have the subtle use of color: black, white, and green. Then, notice how this is only one sentence, one thought. A poem completed and never breaking the moment! Next, consider the tight rhyme scheme reflecting itself in each line. The crow contrasts with the snow; the speaker with the tall evergreen; their heart entirely and the day partly; a day and wishing it gone. But what of the little story it tells? We know first not of the speaker’s heart’s mood but what caused its change. Perhaps the speaker had gone to rest under the evergreen, or maybe he had been distractedly walking by. Then the dark bird took off and caused snow to stop him in his tracks. He’s been so focused on what he cannot change but regrets, and now this. Does he hate the day more or take this as one more inconvenience? Is he even angry at the crow? On the contrary, he takes this little interruption with grace, even finding joy in it. This dusting of snow has altered his heart and mind towards something good, beyond himself, and I think he even smiles. There is such simplicity in the crow’s actions. One almost wonders if something pushed the crow at that moment to make it move and allow this interruption in the speaker’s day. It’s almost funny. Like laughing over a glass that has been spilled or a child covered in marker. It pulls you out of yourself. A little thing, an inconvenience, but out of all that has happened, you can only laugh, allowing your heart to lighten like that crow from its evergreen branch.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Madelyn Rose Craig

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