Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Acquainted with the Night"

Robert Frost

Each day I receive a "Poem of the Day" e-mail from the Academy of American Poets at poets.org. Weekday poems are usually contemporary verse, quite often poems published this very year. But weekends are for classic poems, as today's most certainly was.

I enjoy Frost. He's not an absolute favorite, although "Birches" will always have a special place in my heart as it's among my sophomore English teacher's favorite poems. It's strange how the poems we studied in that class twenty-eight years ago remain among my favorites: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by Eliot, "Birches" by Frost, "anyone lived in a pretty how town" and "in Just--" by cummings, and "Annabel Lee" by Poe.

But with long, dark nights colored purple-red by insomnia, I found myself entranced this morning by Frost's "Acquainted with the Night," which arrived in my inbox early this morning:

"Acquainted with the Night"
by Robert Frost


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.

I haven't written much terza rima myself, but I felt especially drawn to this one. Frost varies in his poetic forms--writing free verse in "Birches," sonnets in some places, playing with rhymes in others. The imagery in this poem drew me in--the "One luminary clock against the sky" is especially nice.

So enjoy this snippet of poetry this day--and always keep ears and eyes alert for the tip-toe tread of poetry in our daily lives.

Also "acquainted with the night,"

4 comments:

Joules said...

Nice poem. Nice comments about the poem. I used to get a little irritated when studying ee cummings in school. We spent all of these years being forced to write within certain boundaries and suddenly it's so wonderful that this guy breaks the rules.

Susanne Barrett said...

I always LOVED the sheer freedom and exuberance of cummings. He not only broke all the rules; he also made up his own! He and Poe are my two favorite poets. But yes, after being forced into writing forms, cummings can feel a little like a slap upside the head--or a breath of fresh air. Take your pick. ;) Thanks for commenting, Joules! :)

mandiana said...

Love this! Just wonderful. :)

I've added your link on the DenSchool Blog.

If you'd like for me to add a description or an image, just let me know!

Susanne Barrett said...

Thank you, Mandiana, for adding my blog. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the poem. :)

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