Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

A Hillside Thaw - Poem by Robert Frost

To think to know the country and now know
The hillside on the day the sun lets go
Ten million silver lizards out of snow!
As often as I've seen it done before
I can't pretend to tell the way it's done.
It looks as if some magic of the sun
Lifted the rug that bred them on the floor
And the light breaking on them made them run.
But if I though to stop the wet stampede,
And caught one silver lizard by the tail,
And put my foot on one without avail,
And threw myself wet-elbowed and wet-kneed
In front of twenty others' wriggling speed,-
In the confusion of them all aglitter,
And birds that joined in the excited fun
By doubling and redoubling song and twitter,
I have no doubt I'd end by holding none.

It takes the moon for this. The sun's a wizard
By all I tell; but so's the moon a witch.
From the high west she makes a gentle cast
And suddenly, without a jerk or twitch,
She has her speel on every single lizard.
I fancied when I looked at six o'clock
The swarm still ran and scuttled just as fast.
The moon was waiting for her chill effect.
I looked at nine: the swarm was turned to rock
In every lifelike posture of the swarm,
Transfixed on mountain slopes almost erect.
Across each other and side by side they lay.
The spell that so could hold them as they were
Was wrought through trees without a breath of storm
To make a leaf, if there had been one, stir.
One lizard at the end of every ray.
The thought of my attempting such a stray!


Comments about A Hillside Thaw by Robert Frost

  • Susan Williams (4/11/2017 4:56:00 PM)


    Only Frost could make a poem into a story into a huge moment full of mystery and beauty and human frailties and strength and in so doing make such a poetic masterpiece! ! ! (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Glen Kappy (4/11/2017 7:29:00 AM)


    i'm glad to be introduced to this poem by frost and appreciate barry middleton for his correction. this poem reveals first, frost's noticing, his observation; his imagination in likening the squiggles of melting snow to lizards; his respect for the powers of nature- of sun and moon; and then his poet craft in fashioning this into an excellent poem. i wonder if at some point in composing or after he thought of emily dickinson's poem on a snake which i remember her describing as a narrow fellow in the grass. -glen kappy (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton (4/11/2017 6:58:00 AM)


    My copy of Frost has She has her spell on every single lizard. not She has her speel on every single lizard. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (4/11/2017 2:35:00 AM)


    a wonderful poem of natures ways clearly written to amaze? ..........brilliantly written. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/11/2017 1:05:00 AM)


    Magic of the sun.... thanks for posting.... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/11/2017 12:30:00 AM)


    On the floor! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 11, 2016



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