Tuesday Poem-A Patch of Old Snow, and other delights, by Robert Frost

A Patch of Old Snow

There’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.

Robert Frost
And here Robert Frost himself reads ‘The Road Not Taken’

And an interesting thing for you to think about.  It’s wonderful to hear the poet himself …but listen to English actor Alan Bates’ performance of the poem.

And I couldn’t resist adding another of Robert’s poems for you to sample…

A Considerable Speck


A speck that would have been beneath my sight
On any but a paper sheet so white
Set off across what I had written there.
And I had idly poised my pen in air
To stop it with a period of ink
When something strange about it made me think,
This was no dust speck by my breathing blown,
But unmistakably a living mite
With inclinations it could call its own.
It paused as with suspicion of my pen,
And then came racing wildly on again
To where my manuscript was not yet dry;
Then paused again and either drank or smelt–
With loathing, for again it turned to fly.
Plainly with an intelligence I dealt.
It seemed too tiny to have room for feet,
Yet must have had a set of them complete
To express how much it didn’t want to die.
It ran with terror and with cunning crept.
It faltered: I could see it hesitate;
Then in the middle of the open sheet
Cower down in desperation to accept
Whatever I accorded it of fate.
I have none of the tenderer-than-thou
Collectivistic regimenting love
With which the modern world is being swept.
But this poor microscopic item now!
Since it was nothing I knew evil of
I let it lie there till I hope it slept.

I have a mind myself and recognize
Mind when I meet with it in any guise
No one can know how glad I am to find
On any sheet the least display of mind.

Robert Frost
Robert Frost 1874-1963. A popular and respected American poet, he won four Pullizter prizes for poetry in his lifetime.


Before you return to the above link to read other amazing offerings from Tuesday Poets 🙂 check out the below link to read the collaborative poem by 26 global Tuesday Poets, The Poet’s Birthday which celebrates Tuesday Poem’s 2nd birthday!

12 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem-A Patch of Old Snow, and other delights, by Robert Frost”

  1. I have enjoyed reading and listening to both versions of Frost’s poetry here. I think I would have preferred the actor without the background music — but still, he moves it away from the classic almost-monotone that Frost perfected. Thanks for posting this — enjoyed!

  2. I really get a kick out of hearing poets read their works. Frost reminds me of Eliot’s monotone – I remember getting out a recording of Eliot reading The Waste Land when I was at uni; I was so enamoured of Eliot at that time, and I was shocked to hear this tempered, clock-like monotone. Loved ‘A Patch of Old Snow’ – the image of the blown away paper. Thanks, Helen 🙂

    1. Yes, that’s it Elizabeth…I hear the Bates’ version first, such a beautiful voice. It was a shock to hear Robert Frost..almost like he was laughing at himself. Is it an instinct poets have to read in a monotone and let the words speak for themselves or is it a leap back from the emotion of the poem etc.etc. And which is more real? Most intriguing!

  3. Thanks Helen for your selection. I enjoyed ‘A Patch of Old Snow” and the two readings, preferring Frost’s rendition. I don’t think Bates quite delivered the poem’s essence (but the poet should be able to do that, shouldn’t he).

    1. Hi Keith, Great to hear your views on this. The poet should be able to but maybe they already have…is it like a painting that once hung no longer belongs to us? Thanks for joining the discussion, Helen

  4. Thank you, Helen – two fascinating links. I hadn’t heard Frost reading before, but wasn’t entirely surprised by the voice that trudged along as though wearing gumboots. I find Alan Bates’ voice almost hypnotic, but somehow that dashing, dramatic delivery makes me think more of Errol Flynn than of rural New England.

    1. Laugh out loud! Yes it is an interesting conundrum isn’t it. Maybe it’s the sign of a great poem do you think…when everyone wants to have a go at interpreting it or reading/performing it. Long may it last 🙂

    1. Hi Kathleen, I have to say I didn’t notice the music the first time…was so carried away with the performance.
      But it is special to hear the poet reading his own. As Jane’s comment about the gumboots implies, it grounds the poem.

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