A lovely poem indicative of Frost's ability to connect with others on something so simple and mostly overlooked. Anyone in snow country has at one time or another seen a waning patch of snow lightly peppered with the bouncing grime of a recent rain. But very few put thought to it. The master poet does, and in such a way as to touch the reader's soul in a myriad of different ways and interpretations. A moment to read, simplicity at best, leaves me feeling as though Frost's pen has touched my own soul.
I think the old snow stands for an old regret/sorrow, something that happened long ago. Maybe inconsequential things (rain and wind) reminded him about it. It is covered with grime, showing that it's old and it doesn't matter any more (a trampled memory?) .
I think it's an old newspaper. The poem is about the inconsequentiality of news, which we read eagerly only if it is current. 'Who wants yesterday's paper? ' is a Rolling Stones song which comments on the same topic (and on others) .
Andrew, you misunderstood! It really IS old snow, flecked with bits of blown dirt to make it /look/ like an old newspaper. He should have guessed is a turn of phrase common in early 20th C speech. The last two lines remind me of when I was a child: NO fresh patch of snow could be left unsquashed; but if you did miss some it would become 'dirty snow', as speckled as described. To Frost, that news is a day forgotten or unread; possibly: a regret that he didn't play in the snow. (wink)
A sketch of a misplaced impression.What appears as snow is in fact a piece of newsprint overlaid with grime. Like today's news, it too will soon pass into nothingness.Shades here of a far greater Frost poem:
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief;
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.