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Night Poetry: Acquainted with the Night


Night Poetry Robert Frost Acquainted with the Night Image

Night poetry can be the poetry of acquaintance. With the light narrowed, we pull in close to things that are near. Or, as Robert Frost notes in this poem, we can refuse acquaintance, drop our eyes—”unwilling to explain”…

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,
One luminary clock against the sky

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

—Robert Frost

Poetry Prompt

Write a night poem that either offers or refuses acquaintance. Let the closeness that darkness brings heighten the sense of what is nearby, to increase the sense of either acceptance or rejection of acquaintance.

Thanks to our participants in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a fun poem we enjoyed from Lynndiane…

Dance Recital

Bright sliver of moon

in rosy sky at dusk

gleams sideways smile,

poised, waiting…

grinning confidently

as tired old sun

burns down slowly,

limps below dark edge

of corn rows’ silhouette stage.

Day’s number is done…

time for moonlight’s moves!


Photo by VinothChandar, Creative Commons, via Flickr.


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Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. With the Elephants

    If there were nearby a tree suitable,
    I would sleep here, draped like this moonlight,
    a lion at rest, because I am svelte of mind
    with a healthy fear. The city’s fingers
    reach into the night sky gathering the stars,
    but like me some cannot be reached.

    It is midnight in my garden: I watch rabbits
    take the portion I have grown for them.
    In this false afternoon of a full moon
    four-o’clocks carry me vast distances on their fragrance.

    Weaving in sterling light, Queen Anne’s Lace
    appear like spirits bobbing with their evenings work,
    unconcerned with me, sleepy-eyed on a limb
    near the crookneck squash, waving their giant leaves,
    like elephants fanning their ears on a dark savanna.

  2. Night Garden

    When evening falls upon primrose,
    swear no oath against the dying

    light. Dark’s own bloomers take turns
    leading the wolf’s way to Paradise.

    Cereus holds court for the lonely
    lover, while a Queen of the Night

    airs her spicy spikes till dawn wilts
    the waxy white flowers, leaving her

    stems to trail and grip their host.
    The angel’s trumpet writes her song

    in peach and yellow notes, and silver
    sage drapes himself in moon’s

    bright sight. White tussock shimmers
    her silks before the bold black eye

    of the susan vine. Dusk’s phlox is
    a Midnight Candy: honey and almond

    wrapped in vanilla. Come soon after
    the four o’clocks rise to the occasion.

    In the night garden, the lemon lily
    likes to stay up late to steal the show.

    re “wolf’s way to paradise”: Says Wiki, “According to an old legend, when the end of the world comes, a place known as Paradise will appear. However, only wolves will know how to find it….”

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