Sunday Poetry: Acquainted with the Night, by Robert Frost

Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain –and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
– by Robert Frost
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This poem defies critical attempts to explain “what it means”. If you seek analysis on the web, you’ll see attempts to analogize this to dealing with depression, or even the process of writing a poem. And they, like the luminary clock, are neither wrong nor right.

To understand this poem, read it aloud. Read it slowly, keeping the beat like walking footsteps. Despite the strict iambic pentameter of the poem, it somehow avoids the sing-songy duh DAH duh DAH duh DAH of most such poems.

Last night, we set the clocks back, and we will all be more acquainted with the night as we come home from work. This poem, or a line from it, might spring into your mind as you go about your business, and enrich the moment with its stark beauty.

One Response to “Sunday Poetry: Acquainted with the Night, by Robert Frost”

  1. Pam says:

    LOVE Robert Frost – thanks for sharing. Lovely timing (pun intended) and appreciated by one whose body clock insists I get up at 4 am.

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