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HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Rachem (216.211.31.---)
Date: March 12, 2002 02:43PM

I need help understanding the meaning behind this poem....

Acquainted with the night - by Robert Frost

I have been 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 to say good-by;
And further still at an unhearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

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


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: March 12, 2002 04:08PM


Almost a sonnet, but not quite, huh? Four three's and a two, rhyming aba, bcb, etc. Reminds of the interwoven scheme in Stopping by Woods.

I would try using different words for the meaning of 'night' and go from there, loneliness, for example. What are other common metaphors for night? Evil, death, ignorance ... many more, I am sure. Pick the one that makes the most sense to you personally, then work your way through it to see what falls into place.


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: charmaine (---.bicsystems.com)
Date: March 14, 2002 10:23AM

Acquainted with the Night is about loneliness. In the third/fourth stanza, we can see the persona wishing that he had some human contact. We can feel his hopes raise that someone is calling him or running towards him and then emphasise with him as these hopes are dashed.
The reference to the clock and the time being "neither wrong nor right" symbolises the feeling of not being able to escape the loneliness, of being trapped in a cycle.
It might be important to look at the origins of loneliness..do outside forces/people play such an important role or is it a state that exists exclusively within himself....


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Farhad (---.cable.mindspring.com)
Date: October 17, 2004 03:56AM

the poem "Acquainted with the night"
When and why he says
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Farhad (---.cable.mindspring.com)
Date: October 17, 2004 03:58AM

when he says
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: peternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: October 17, 2004 04:19AM

and know the coming darkness of my death. . .


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: peternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: October 17, 2004 04:20AM

Good advice here.


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: October 17, 2004 06:07AM

The watchman bit is the narrator being unwilling to volunteer what he was doing there - the watchman would have the right to check that anyone out at night was not a burglar or other miscreant, and most people would volunteer an explanation of why they were out at that time, when they met a watchman.


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Desi (---.grecian.net)
Date: October 17, 2004 11:02AM

I have read somewhere, and I think in one of the threads of this forum, that it is about sex. What can a man do in the middle of the night for which he is ashamed? Whores? Male friends? And of course, that would be related to loneliness too.


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: October 17, 2004 01:23PM

And further still at an unhearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Farhad, the clock he refers to might be the stars, but more than likely he refers to a town clock, common in many cities, which revealed that he was out an unreasonable hour.


Les


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: October 18, 2004 05:02AM

Perhaps the clock showed the correct time, but it was not the right time for what he had in mind or wanted to happen or his time had not come?


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: October 18, 2004 09:51AM

I see it as he's just "out" because he has no where else to go


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 18, 2004 05:04PM

My sister thinks it's about insomnia, and specifically about Frost's insomnia during his documented stay in London. She also thinks the clock is the one on the Parliament Tower (often called "Big Ben" though that's a mistake: Big Ben is the name of the bell IN the tower). Some people think the "clock" means the moon.


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Pamela (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: October 18, 2004 07:13PM

I vote for the clock meaning the moon. As marian2 said, he's feeling guilty while passing the watchman- think of how you might feel walking by a police officer in the night.

pam


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: October 18, 2004 07:56PM


I have read somewhere, ... that it is about sex.

It was a humor post by Bob Sloan, also known as the Edjucaided Redneck:

[tinyurl.com] />
Bob Sloan:

[www.bobsloansampler.com]


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: Desi (---.grecian.net)
Date: October 19, 2004 11:48AM

more than 3 years ago and thanks to you I'm mentally maimed for life! Will never be able to read this poem without that explanation in my mind. Sigh.

:-)


Re: HELP! with Frost poem
Posted by: SarahR (134.197.166.---)
Date: November 24, 2004 03:02PM

I am currently analyzing this poem for a research paper and have found all the comments on this discussion very helpful. There is a notion the poem echoes an Old Testament image, from Isaiah 53:3: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."

Any further comments would really help.
Thanks!




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