'A Patch Of Old Snow' by Robert Frost

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Mountain Interval1916There's a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I've forgotten --
If I ever read it.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Patch of Old Snow: Robert Frost's Poetic Masterpiece

Have you ever walked on a snowy day and found a patch of old snow? Have you ever stopped to contemplate the beauty of the snowflakes that have melted away, leaving behind traces of their existence? If you have, then you can relate to Robert Frost's poem, "A Patch of Old Snow." This literary masterpiece captures the essence of nostalgia, loss, and the beauty of impermanence.

The Poem

"A Patch of Old Snow" is a short poem, consisting of four stanzas, each with four lines. The poem is written in free verse, with no rhyme scheme. The poem's theme revolves around the beauty of impermanence and the fleeting nature of life. The title of the poem, "A Patch of Old Snow," is a metaphor for the remnants of the past that linger in our memories.

Interpreting the Poem

The first stanza of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It describes a snowy day, with the snowflakes falling gently on the ground. The first line, "There's a patch of old snow in a corner," creates an image of a forgotten corner, where the snow has been left untouched for some time. The snow in this corner is old and has lost its pristine beauty, but it still has a certain charm to it.

The second stanza describes the footprints left in the snow. The footprints are a testament to the fact that someone has been there before, but they are now gone. The line, "Not a footstep to break the glaze," creates a sense of isolation and loneliness. The footprints are a reminder of the transience of life and the impermanence of all things.

The third stanza describes the beauty of the snowflakes that have melted away. The line, "The sun burns down on it a little," creates an image of the sun's warmth melting the snowflakes. The snowflakes are gone, but their beauty lingers on. The line, "The melting potpourri smells in the air," evokes a sense of nostalgia and longing for the past.

The final stanza brings the poem to a close. The line, "A white piece of rigid satin cloth," creates an image of a shroud, a symbol of death. The patch of old snow in the corner is a reminder of the impermanence of life and the inevitability of death. The final line, "Weed it away tomorrow, if we remember," highlights the fact that memories are fleeting and that we must cherish them while we can.

Literary Criticism

Robert Frost's "A Patch of Old Snow" is a masterpiece of modern poetry. The poem's beauty lies in its simplicity and its ability to evoke strong emotions in the reader. The poem is an excellent example of Frost's use of imagery to convey complex emotions and ideas.

The poem's theme of impermanence is a recurring motif in Frost's poetry. Frost was acutely aware of the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of death. He used his poetry to explore these themes and to express his own emotions and experiences.

Frost's use of free verse is also noteworthy. Free verse is a style of poetry that does not conform to traditional rhyme schemes and meter. Frost's use of free verse allowed him to break away from the constraints of traditional poetry and to create something wholly unique.

The poem's structure is also noteworthy. The poem consists of four stanzas, each with four lines. This structure creates a sense of balance and symmetry in the poem, which adds to its overall beauty.


In conclusion, Robert Frost's "A Patch of Old Snow" is a masterpiece of modern poetry. The poem's themes of impermanence, nostalgia, and loss are universal, and its use of imagery and free verse make it a unique and beautiful work of art. The poem is a reminder that life is fleeting, and that we must cherish our memories while we can.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

A Patch of Old Snow: A Poem of Reflection and Renewal

Robert Frost is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, known for his evocative and insightful works that capture the essence of the human experience. Among his many masterpieces is the poem "A Patch of Old Snow," a short but powerful piece that explores themes of change, memory, and the passage of time.

At first glance, "A Patch of Old Snow" appears to be a simple description of a winter landscape. The poem opens with the image of a "patch of old snow" that has been "shaded from the sun" and "turned to ice more than snow." The speaker then goes on to describe the surrounding scenery, including a "wall" and a "rail" that have been "picked by birds" and a "wind-worried” tree that stands "lonely and still."

However, as the poem progresses, it becomes clear that there is more to this scene than meets the eye. The speaker begins to reflect on the passage of time and the changes that have occurred since the snow first fell. They note that the snow has been "lying on the ground" for "days and days," and that it has been "trampled and beaten" by the feet of passersby. The tree, too, has been "wind-worried" and "lonely" for some time, suggesting that it has weathered many storms and seasons.

Despite these signs of wear and tear, however, the speaker finds beauty and meaning in the scene before them. They note that the snow, though old and hardened, still retains its "whiteness," and that the tree, though battered and alone, still stands "straight and tall." These images suggest a resilience and endurance that is both admirable and inspiring.

Moreover, the speaker seems to find comfort in the fact that the snow and the tree have remained largely unchanged over time. They note that the snow has not "melted" or "gone," but has simply been transformed into something new. Similarly, the tree has not fallen or withered away, but has continued to grow and thrive despite the challenges it has faced.

This sense of continuity and renewal is further emphasized in the final lines of the poem, where the speaker reflects on the "memory" that the scene evokes. They note that the snow and the tree are "symbols" of something greater, something that transcends the physical world and speaks to the human spirit. The memory of this scene, then, becomes a source of comfort and inspiration for the speaker, reminding them of the resilience and endurance that is possible in the face of change and adversity.

Overall, "A Patch of Old Snow" is a powerful and evocative poem that speaks to the human experience in profound ways. Through its vivid imagery and insightful reflections, it invites us to contemplate the passage of time, the beauty of nature, and the resilience of the human spirit. Whether read as a simple description of a winter landscape or as a deeper meditation on the meaning of life, this poem is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who encounter it.

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