It was long I lay
Awake that night
Wishing that night
Would name the hour
And tell me whether
To call it day
(Though not yet light)
And give up sleep.
The snow fell deep
With the hiss of spray;
Two winds would meet,
One down one street,
One down another,
And fight in a smother
Of dust and feather.
I could not say,
But feared the cold
Had checked the pace
Of the tower clock
By tying together
Its hands of gold
Before its face.

Then cane one knock!
A note unruffled
Of earthly weather,
Though strange and muffled.
The tower said, “One!’
And then a steeple.
They spoke to themselves
And such few people
As winds might rouse
From sleeping warm
(But not unhouse).
They left the storm
That struck en masse
My window glass
Like a beaded fur.
In that grave One
They spoke of the sun
And moon and stars,
Saturn and Mars
And Jupiter.
Still more unfettered,
They left the named
And spoke of the lettered,
The sigmas and taus
Of constellations.
They filled their throats
With the furthest bodies
To which man sends his
Beyond which God is;
The cosmic motes
Of yawning lenses.
Their solemn peals
Were not their own:
They spoke for the clock
With whose vast wheels
Theirs interlock.
In that grave word
Uttered alone
The utmost star
Trembled and stirred,
Though set so far
Its whirling frenzies
Appear like standing
in one self station.
It has not ranged,
And save for the wonder
Of once expanding
To be a nova,
It has not changed
To the eye of man
On planets over
Around and under
It in creation
Since man began
To drag down man
And nation nation.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem I Will Sing You One-O


  1. Carly says:

    It isn’t just a poem about the awe-inspiring universe, though that is part of it. The last few lines reveal the real message- a scathing look at humanity. With the amazing universe around us, what have we been doing? Dragging each other down. It also has a strong sense of loneliness- he’s the only one awake, it’s one, the most solitary number, we are the only ones in the universe and we continue to divide each other.

  2. Harry says:

    Line 3 is
    “Wishing the tower”

  3. Christine says:

    One – o (1-0) is the military code for a conscientious objector to war. This would be consistent with the last few lines of the poem. Frost was not a pacifist in the traditional sense of the time, but in many of his poems he questions the wisdom of his day, including the “wisdom” of war. Also I believe this poem was written after his friend, Edward Thomas, was killed in WW I.

  4. Abigail says:

    Its beautiful. Its about significance. It uses wonder and awe and “speculation” to make my mind feel significance. I imagine a huge clock chiming late one winter night and the sound waves moving like ripples further and further into enchanted universe, past constellations and solar systems…but not past my imagination. It makes me want to wake up at one on a winter night so I can think about it.
    Its like the reverse side to Hawthorne’s “Haunted Mind”.

  5. harry says:

    Shows how some things never change.

  6. Reba says:

    i really like this poem it is so graceful anf its inspirational as well.

  7. james says:

    good poem

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