Acquainted with the night

Robert Frost is famous and known by most. He is known for his metaphors, symbols and imagery. He uses simple everyday things and actions to mean very broad and complex things in life. His words are simple and no need for a paraphrase to enjoy his poems. In acquainted with the night I presume the night is a symbol for dark, wild and bad things. He makes sense on both levels from the simple narrative to the complex hidden meanings. I don’t emulate him because I am not sure in my prowess and if the symbol I use will be correctly interpreted by the reader. I use direct references to reinforce my metaphors and symbols. My school day scribbles were meant only for my eyes initially and so contained unexplained metaphors and images.

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.

 

The poem is most often read as the poet/narrator’s admission of having experienced depression and a vivid description of what that experience feels like. In this particular reading of the poem, “the night” is the depression itself, and the narrator describes how he views the world around him in this state of mind. Although he is in a city, he feels completely isolated from everything around him.

The poem is written in strict iambic pentameter, with 14 lines like a sonnet, and with a terza rima rhyme scheme, which follows the complex pattern, aba bcb cdc dad aa. Terza rima (“third rhyme”) was invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri for his epic poem The Divine Comedy. Because Italian is a language in which many words have vowel endings, terza rima is much less difficult to write in Italian than it is in English. Because of its difficulty, very few writers in English have attempted the form. However, Frost was a master of many forms, and “Acquainted With The Night” is one of the most famous examples of an American poem written in terza rima.

Laughter’s Son

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Resources of mind, soul and body drain,
mental laziness renders the creative pond dry,
I find no drop to fill however hard I try,
no spark of lightning, no hope for rain;

I move dead slow with tortoise brain,
never I come out of shell, I am shy,
but at times I let inhibitions fly,
I lie low, never serious, ever in playful vein;

I enjoy life and all is fun,
and I seem so to those around,
away from the pond I run,
to escape the ridicule of the hound;

I’ve chosen to be laughter’s son,
so I silence the inner sound.