Robert Frost is one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century who have published many poems and that all snatched the heart of the readers. “Acquainted with the Night” is an example that has been critically issued.
In this poem, the poet shows his vision on a night that was auspicious to him. This poem is an exploration of ‘romanticism’ that held the poet on the top. This poem was published a bit later in 1927 in the collection of Robert Frost’s West-Running Brook.
Acquainted with the Night Theme
The poet here deals with the power of isolation. In the first line, he is saying that he is being acquainted with a night where he has walked and found rain.
From somewhere a keen sound of cry also comes into his ears. Except that, it can be said after observation, it tells a story of the poet’s sorrow, grief, and loose. So, the primary theme of the poem is sadness among the people.
Acquainted with the Night Summary
Meaning of the poem
Robert Frost has written a short poem that consists of fourteen to fifteen lines. In the case of this poem, the title ‘Acquainted with the Night’ tells that maybe this is the night where the poet gets to know of many worldly facts and that made him cry from inside.
At the starting of the poem, the poet says he has been acquainted with a night where he started walking in the rain even also back in the rain. The poet also walked out to the city light that is far from the house.
“I have outwalked the furthest city light.”
So, the first stanza of the poem ends with an unfinished statement where he only speaks on the night. The poet first went on in rain and then went to the city star. Here, the first stanza is being shown in a very fragmented manner.
“I have looked down the saddest city lane.”
Now the poet is addressing the city lane as of sadness. Maybe, the poet has some of his cursed histories that is why he is addressing the lane ‘the saddest’.
Then the poet saw a watchman and crossed him on his beat and his eyes fall on him, the poet does not want to utter much on that. Maybe the watchman is being beaten by others that is why he is standing and the poet’s eye can read the sorrow of the man.
Poet does not want to say on that as he is still in fear of the pain that the watchman is suffering from. Here, the second stanza ends but it tells of a cry of mankind.
“I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet”
The poet is telling to readers in a manner of expressing a journey. After watching the man he went on and then stopped the sound of his feet. Now the poet is hearing a voice that comes from far away and seems it is crying.
When he started his walk he saw another but with his steps, he learns so many facts. So much sadness all around the poet where the cry is coming from a house. Here, the third stanza ends. In the next paragraph, he would be talking of something else.
Here he says,
“But not to call me back or say goodbye;
And further still at an unearthly height,”
Maybe the poet is trying to address the call of God or of someone that never called back and did not bid him goodbye. And then the poet perhaps is looking at the sky and saying about an ‘unearthly height’.
There is a luminary clock in the sky. This is the sun with whom the poet is comparing the clock. There also this stanza ends.
The poet now does not know whether the time is good or not but he still thinking about the city cry. And again repeats his words,
“I have been acquainted with the night.”
Acquainted with the Night Analysis
In this poem, Robert Frost deals with the sad journey of life where people are crying. Maybe cry and the rain is being compared in this poem. Inside the house, a man or woman is crying and the world is also crying.
When the first stanza was starting it seems like a ‘romantic poem’ but with the poet’s detailed description it is being shown that he is talking about human Insights where everyone is suffering from pain. Robert Frost himself says on poetry,
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its
thought and the thought has found words.”
In the case of “Acquainted with the Night” poem, the meaning this quote is being found successfully. Here isolation among people, human sorrow, loneliness is being presented maybe the poet is also looking at the world with his dreary-eyes.
So, the whole poem stands with the poet’s vision on the world and he is trying to show that is has been filled with depression and anxiety.
Acquainted with the Night Literary Devices Used
Literary devices are one of the relevant parts of the poems that makes the reads highly attractive. Robert Frost also uses enough of literary devices to attract his readers. This poem is written in iambic pentameter and the rhyme scheme is ‘aba cdc dad aa’.
Consonance is a significant literary device that means the repetition of consonant sound used in a line like,
“I have walked out in rain-and back in rain”
Symbolism is another important poetic device that is being used in this poem. Symbolism is when the poet uses a word to create an image or a symbol.
Here, ‘rain’, ‘luminary clock’, ‘night’s. Rain is the symbol of cry or the tears of people, the luminary clock means the time, and night is the symbol of darkness, death.
Then comes Anaphora as a poetic aesthetic use. Anaphora means repeating of same words at the beginning of two lines one after another. Like,
“I have been acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain-and back in rain.”
Enjambment, Alliteration are also relevant to the poem. Enjambment is the continuation of thoughts even to the next stanza and Alliteration is the repetition of vowel sounds used in a line like,
“I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet”
Except these all, some minor literary devices are there like imagery, metaphor.
Questions and Answers
What does acquainted with the night mean?
It means the poet is being acquainted with a night where he finds the truth.
What type of poem is acquainted with the night?
It is a poem of social satire and sorrow.
What is the tone of acquainted with the night?
A biting ironical tone is being created here.
What does the clock symbolize in Acquainted With the Night?
The clock symbolizes the time in the poem.