A Peck of Gold, Robert Frost: Summary & Analysis

In "A Peck of Gold" by Robert Frost, the poet reminisces about a time when he was a child in the town of the Golden Gate, where the blowing dust was believed to be made of gold. Through the lens of childhood innocence and wonder, Frost explores themes of perception, the allure of the extraordinary, and the transformation of ordinary experiences into magical ones.

A Peck of Gold by Robert Frost

Dust always blowing about the town,
Except when sea-fog laid it down,
And I was one of the children told
Some of the blowing dust was gold.
All the dust the wind blew high
Appeared like god in the sunset sky,
But I was one of the children told
Some of the dust was really gold.
Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
'We all must eat our peck of gold.'

Critical Analysis

"A Peck of Gold" presents the perspective of a child in a town where blowing dust is perceived as a magical substance, some of which is believed to be real gold. The poem captures the sense of wonder and imagination that often characterizes childhood perception. The speaker recalls how the dust, stirred by the wind or sea fog, would catch the light and create the illusion of gold in the air.

The poem's repetition of the phrase "I was one of the children told" emphasizes the communal belief in the magical nature of the dust and the shared experience among the town's children. The perception of ordinary dust as precious gold becomes a collective fantasy, enhancing the sense of unity among the children.

Frost contrasts the reality of everyday life with the enchanting notion of gold dust. The phrase "Such was life in the Golden Gate" suggests that the town's name, "Golden Gate," could be seen as both literal and symbolic, representing a place where even the ordinary is transformed into something extraordinary.

"A Peck of Gold" invites readers to reflect on the power of imagination and the way children often perceive the world through a lens of wonder and possibility. The poem highlights how a simple and mundane phenomenon can become a source of enchantment and fascination when seen through the eyes of innocence.

Themes of the Poem

  • Childhood Innocence: The poem explores how children view the world with a sense of wonder and are more inclined to embrace the extraordinary in everyday experiences.
  • Perception and Illusion: The poem examines how perception can be influenced by imagination, as the dust is transformed into a magical substance.
  • Transformation of Ordinary: The ordinary blowing dust becomes extraordinary gold dust in the eyes of the children, illustrating how imagination can elevate the mundane.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Repetition: The repetition of "I was one of the children told" reinforces the shared belief among the children and adds to the communal sense of wonder.
  • Contrast: The poem contrasts the ordinary nature of dust with the magical perception of it as gold, creating a juxtaposition that underscores the theme of childhood imagination.


  • Wonder and Amazement: The poem conveys the awe and enchantment that the children feel when seeing the dust as gold, reflecting the sense of wonder in childhood.
  • Unity and Belief: The shared belief in the magical nature of the dust fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie among the children.


  • Metaphorical Language: The comparison of blowing dust to gold captures the imaginative and symbolic way in which the children perceive their surroundings.
  • Vivid Descriptions: The description of the dust catching the light and resembling "god in the sunset sky" creates a vivid visual image.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythm and Rhyme: The poem follows a consistent rhythm and rhyme scheme, contributing to its musicality and lighthearted tone.
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