POEM- 1 DUST OF SNOW
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?
A. The ‘dust of snow’ means the fine particles or flakes of snow. The sudden shower in the form of the dust of snow changed the poet’s mood. The poet’s mood changed from sad to happy. He felt refreshed and wanted to enjoy the rest of the day.
2. How does Frost present nature in this poem?
The following questions may help you to think of an answer.
1. What are the birds that are usually named in poems? Do you think crow is often mentioned in poems? What images come to your mind when you think of a crow?
2. Again, what is ‘a hemlock tree’? Why doesn’t the poet write about more ‘beautiful’ tree such as a maple, or an oak, or a pine?
3. 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?
A. Frost presents nature in a very different manner in the poem.
1. Generally, poets take the birds and trees which are known for their beauty and good qualities like peacock, parrot, cuckoo, mynah and trees full of beautiful flowers and fruits, etc. But here Frost has taken a totally different approach. He chose a crow, which is not often used in poems. Crow is black in color with very harsh voice and is believed to be a symbol of bad omen. Thinking of a crow brings very depressing and sorrowful pictures to our mind.
2. A hemlock tree is poisonous plant with small white flowers. The poet, Robert Frost, didn’t choose to use an oak, maple or pine tree. Instead, he chose the hemlock tree and left all the beautiful trees present in the world. Actually, he did so to present his mood and feelings. The crow and hemlock tree represent sorrow and depression felt by the poet in this materialistic world. The dust of snow is the symbol of natural joy and energy. The dust of snow that the crow shakes off a hemlock tree means passing through the sad and depressing moments the poet is entering into the time full of joy and optimism.
3. Have there been times when you felt depressed or hopeless? Have you experienced a similar moment that changed your mood that day?
A. There have been innumerable times when I too have felt depressed and hopeless. Sometimes, such moments were aroused by other people’s behavior and attitude and sometimes due to my own conduct. On one occasion when I was very upset, I went out for a walk. While walking in the park, I saw a girl playing with a puppy, embracing and feeding him. This little joy that they shared changed my mood and I felt very happy for the rest of the day. I also joined the two and played with them.
POEM- 2 FIRE AND 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 gets so hot that it ‘bursts’ or grows colder and colder?
A. There are definitely many ideas about how the world will ‘end’. I do believe that the world will end someday as anything that has a beginning will have an end. This stands true for the world also, if the Sun got so hot that it burst, the whole of the Earth would perish immediately as no part of the Earth can bear the heat of that intensity. But if the Sun grew colder and colder, everything will come to an end as without sunlight, life will end.
2. For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ stand for? Here are some ideas.
A. ‘Fire’ stands for greed, avarice, lust, conflict and fury. ‘Ice’ stands for cruelty, 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?
A. The rhyme scheme of the poem is- a b a a b c b c b
This rhyme scheme helps in bringing out the contrasting ideas of ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ presented in the poem. The poet mentions that both fire and ice are probable ends of this world. He talks about how fire represents desire and can therefore be a cause of the end of the world. Frost also mentions ice in between to symbolize that the coldness and indifference towards each another will be enough to end the world. In the second stanza, he says that he knows of enough hate in the world to be sure that even destruction through ice would be sufficient to bring about the end of the world.