13 October 2008

Mellifluous Mondays: 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-by;
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.
-Robert Frost 1928

This seemed appopriate in light of the late, late study parties we've been holding recently. :) More seriously, I thought it was interesting that Frost wrote this in terza rima, the same rhyme scheme used in Dante's Divine Comedy. But where Dante (by the grace of God) ascends from deepest Hell to highest bliss of Heaven, Frost stays in Limbo: uncertain, isolated, and unable to explain either his surroundings or his own actions. So very modern.


  1. Great selection & commentary Rebekah. I'm generally not a fan of Frost, but I like this one (mostly because of the rhythm & rhyme scheme). Glad you pointed out the "modern" characteristic of his confusion and uncertainty. Isn't it interesting that relativism and wishy-washy-ness are a hallmark of our time? Very sad, I think. Such a contrast to someone like Donne who writes crazy things but still seems to think in absolutes (as far as I've seen, but I'm not too widely read).

  2. Hey,
    Intresting poem.
    It reminds me of Ecclesiastes and the vanity of life....

    At least In the end of Ecclesiastes there is a direction...