CBSE Class X- First Flight- Dust of Snow -Explanation and Q and A

Dust of Snow

About the author .. It would be imprudent to read this short and thoughtful poem without learning something about  Robert Frost, the passionate lover of Nature. Frost spent most part of his active literary life wandering around the lands, forests, rivers, valleys and mountains, and feasting his eyes in their beauty. He discovered many philosophical truths about the mundane world when he passed by Daffodils, snow-covered trees, woods, and streams. For the reader, it comes as a revelation to find the great many emotions and inspiration he drew from such trifling and innocuous things as a flower drifting in a stream or snowflakes falling from above. This short poem is one such composition of Robert Frost.

The poem.. The poet sits under a hemlock tree in a vacant, cheerless mind, unable to engage in anything worthwhile. He is bored, and a bit sad, because an idle day seems to lie ahead. It is snowing and the snowflakes have settled on the foliage. A crow flies in from nowhere, and causes a flutter in the branches. The resulting movement makes a few flakes fall on the poet, shaking off his idle and lazy mind.
Till then, the poet had nothing in mind. He had no plans for the day. All sorts of creative energy had taken leave of his mind and body. On the whole, a lazy and activity-less day appeared to be in store for him.

The fall of the snowflakes from the branch jerks his mind and body. He springs to action, and gets ready to indulge in something creative and meaningful. The day that seemed to be dull so far appears to be exciting and joyful. Such was the impact of the tiny flakes of falling snow on his mind. A black crow, seldom a sign of inspiration, has caused this great change in his day’s routine.

Thinking about the poem ..

  1. What is ‘Dust of Snow’ ……………………….Dust of snow means the small snow particles that get dislodged with a little shaking of the surface where they settle. The falling of the snow dust on him breaks the inactive state of his mind as it virtually awakes him. The poet’s listless mood becomes positive and creative again.
  2. How does Frost present ……….. Nature, according to Frost, has an overwhelming influence on human minds. At times, Nature can make a man lazy, negative, and listless. At other times, it can make the mind exuberant, lively and positive. 
  3. What is the core thought of the poem? Human grow up in the lap of Nature. They draw nourishment from it, both for mind and body. By citing this apparently innocuous example f his insipid mind lighting up by the fall of some snow flakes, the author underlines the centrality of Nature for rejuvenation of the human soul. A crow is very ordinary bird, seldom the object of a poet’s fantasy. However, in this instance, it flies in, settles on a branch and disturbs it so that the snow flakes get dislodged and fall on the poet trapped in a lazy mood. Instantly, it triggers hope, energy and activity in him. This shows how Nature is central to human existence.
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