‘Dust of Snow’ by Robert Frost

Dust of Snow

By Robert Frost (1874–1963)


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.
According to the Robert Frost encyclopedia online, this poem was first published as “Favour” in the London Mercury in Dec. 1920 and later reprinted as “Snow Dust” in the Yale Review in Jan. 1921 before it was collected in the book “New Hampshire” (1923). The following commentary about the writer is exerpted from the Robert Frost page on poetryfoundation.org:
     “…Frost’s own poetical education began in San Francisco where he was born in 1874, but he found his place of safety in New England when his family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1884 following his father’s death. The move was actually a return, for Frost’s ancestors were originally New Englanders. The region must have been particularly conducive to the writing of poetry because within the next five years Frost had made up his mind to be a poet. In fact, he graduated from Lawrence High School, in 1892, as class poet (he also shared the honor of co-valedictorian with his wife-to-be Elinor White); and two years later, the New York Independent accepted his poem entitled “My Butterfly,” launching his status as a professional poet with a check for $15.00.
     To celebrate his first publication, Frost had a book of six poems privately printed; two copies of Twilight were made—one for himself and one for his fiancee. Over the next eight years, however, he succeeded in having only thirteen more poems published. During this time, Frost sporadically attended Dartmouth and Harvard and earned a living teaching school and, later, working a farm in Derry, New Hampshire. But in 1912, discouraged by American magazines’ constant rejection of his work, he took his family to England, where he could “write and be poor without further scandal in the family.” In England, Frost found the professional esteem denied him in his native country. Continuing to write about New England, he had two books published, A Boy’s Will and North of Boston, which established his reputation so that his return to the United States in 1915 was as a celebrated literary figure. Holt put out an American edition of North of Boston, and periodicals that had once scorned his work now sought it. …”