"Design" by Robert Frost

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.


Initial Questions:

What is the poetic form of this poem? How do you know?

What is the recurring color in the first stanza? Give examples. Is the coloration significant? Why?

How does the tone change from the first to second stanza?

Focus on words or phrases that suggest disorder or chaos. Identify those. Is there a sense of irony given the title?

What seems to be speaker's overarching concern? How do you know? Point to lines for textual evidence.

Is there a satisfying resolution to the poem? Is a solution presented? If so, what is it?

Do you agree with the premise of this poem? Why or why not?