Jan 9, 2010

Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.


For some obvious reasons and maybe some more subtle or inexplicable, I've recently thought of this Frost lyric as a sort of companion to Dickinson's 510. I hope somebody will elaborate, pro or con.

Also, "Acquainted with the Night" is another poem that has more power for me than I can explain--something about a chant in the rhythm, I think. And in the third stanza, it gets intense and stays intense, don't you think?

I'll try to get to brighter stuff soon, but maybe you'll agree that if we're going dark, these two do it well. Yet a lot of people probably think of Dickinson and Frost as founding members of Hallmark Cards or SADP (Students against Dark Poems) or MADP (shut up, Banjo).

Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

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6 comments:

altadenahiker said...

Stupendous. It gets into your very bones and sends you walking down that street, or at least, remembering the last time you walked down that street.

But I don't agree his subject is the same as D's. (You knew I wouldn't, didn't you?) She was crawling the walls with unidentified dread. He can barely walk he's so sad. And he knows why he's sad.

BANJO52 said...

So more of a dull thud, emptiness, with him, more of a panic with her? I wouldn't argue with that. I didn't know what you'd think of it, alone or in comparison to E.D.

Glad you liked it. Wasn't sure anyone would.

Paula said...

Even though he's physically moving it's still largely an interior journey. It's what he's carrying inside of him that colors what he sees, so in that way they are similar I think. Both are emotional and dark.

Barbaro said...

I get so tired of people patronizing Frost (or Dickinson). Read "Death of the Hired Man," then come talk to me. Heck, read "The Road Not Taken" and GET it, then come talk to me. Simplicity gets the worst rap from those least able to achieve it. How many have noticed, for ex., that "Acquainted with the Night" is a unique take on the sonnet, cutting it into triplets instead of quatrains, shifting the rhyme scheme? Frost invented and perfected this form--not bad for "Mr. Poetry-by-Numbers" to reinvent a 500-year-old structure.

Poetry could almost be defined as saying things just "wrong" enough to be memorable. "I have been one acquainted with the night" proves this to a tee: the simplest of phrases knocked ever so slightly off the rails of standard syntax and diction.

There's a connection between the poems, but I wouldn't have made it myself. It's not my favorite Dickinson, I must admit. Maybe it suggests "Desert Places" more to me, or maybe I just favor that one b/c it's less famous.

I'm pretty sure that's an edited version of Dickinson, at least punctuation-wise. Shame on the Poetry Foundation--give me back my gratuitous dashes, damnit! Dickinson without dashes is like bread without crust. (There may be missing punctuation at the end of the Frost too, but I wouldn't swear to it).

BANJO52 said...

Paula, that's the shared darkness I was seeing between them. Of course, add in their sense of complete isolation (and probably alienation from some important other in the case of Frost's speaker).

Brenda's Arizona said...

Barbaro - your comment on dashes clicks with me. If only 'cuz of the dashes, I totally turn off ED. Too many dashes --- Too many capital letters!! --- Does that mean a new sentence --- What is she saying!!!

Re: One Acquainted w/Night (damn, I will be glad to get this cast off so I can type again), it has recenlty been one poem I focus on in the midst of dark winter nights when every haunting hurt/fear/ goblin drops in to visit my brain.

On to brightness, B52!

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