“Acquainted with the Night” – Big Emotional Insight from Robert Frost

Vik RubenfeldPoem0 Comments

This one goes out to my Twitter friend @TeresaFederici, who also likes Frost.

As regular readers of this site are aware, one thing I do here is to search out big, easy-to-get-with examples of emotional insight in art – examples you can look at briefly and immediately say, “Wow, I get that. It has a huge meaning to me that I grasp with my own emotional ability.”

I’ve been noticing lately that in some cases, it’s very easy to follow along with our intellectual ability. While in others, our intellectual ability may be baffled. Today’s poem by the great Robert Frost is an example of the second kind.

Intellectually this is all very easy to follow up until the last two lines:

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,
A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

As is often the case with Frost’s poems, the last two lines pack a wallop.

A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Intellectually I can’t say how a time can be “neither wrong nor right,” but emotionally, I feel those last lines in a big way:  “Yes – I’ve felt that. I’ve felt exactly what Frost is describing.”

Do you feel it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *