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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Acquainted With the Night

50 Comments

  1. Leroy Osmon says:

    Is the Frost poem ‘Acquainted With The Night’ in public domain?

  2. Heather says:

    Themes of this poem: Depression, darkness, loneliness. I feel that this poem is a reflection of Frosts life up to this point. This poem was published in his volume West Running Brook in 1928. Mental illness ran in Robert Frosts family. Many of his family members have died at this point in his life, and some will die very soon.

    – he and his mother suffered from depression
    – wife also experienced depression
    – father died of tuberculosis in 1885 (Frost was 11)
    – mother died of cancer in 1900
    – son died of cholera in 1904
    – daughter died three days after birth in 1907
    – committed his younger sister to a mental hospital in 1920, where she died nine years later
    – daughter died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth in 1934
    – wife had heart problems throughout her life & developed breast cancer in 1937 & died of heart failure in 1938
    – son committed suicide 1940
    – daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947
    – Only two children outlived him (he had six children)

    The poem is all in past tense which shows he’s looking back or reflecting on something.

    Poem analyzed line-by-line:

    Acquainted With the Night
    Acquainted: 1. having personal knowledge as a result of study, experience, etc.; informed (usually followed by with) 2. brought into social contact; made familiar.
    Night symbolism: dark, lonely, sad, depressing
    He has personal knowledge, experienced and made familiar with sad, lonely times.

    I have been one acquainted with the night.
    I have been through bad times
    Reflecting back on a hard time in his life (past tense)

    I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
    Spent a lot of time in depression

    I have outwalked the furthest city light.
    There have been points in my life where I have had no hope

    I have looked down the saddest city lane.
    ????

    I have passed by the watchman on his beat
    passed someone of importance
    the watchman is God

    And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
    Put on a brave face so that everyone thinks you’re fine
    doesn’t want to talk about his depression
    He thought about suicide, but was ashamed and didn’t want God to know

    I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
    People have stopped to help me

    When far away an interrupted cry
    Off in his own world

    Came over houses from another street,
    Too lost in his own world to help others

    But not to call me back or say good-bye;
    saying goodbye to his deceased family

    And further still at an unearthly height,
    Looking to religion to help him
    looking up at the moon

    One luminary clock against the sky
    symbolism for luminary = light & hope; clock = time (so in time there will be reason for hope)
    The moon, tells us what time it is like a clock—night time

    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
    Lost track of time in his life
    Doesn’t really care what time it is; time doesn’t matter

    I have been one acquainted with the night.
    Reflecting on his life struggles from a present view

  3. Brittany says:

    Several people have mentioned they feel the “luminary clock” is actually the moon. I may be wrong, but I never viewed it as such. I think it really is a clock. “Unearthly height” to describe the distance of the moon seems pretty redundant of Frost– of course the moon is “unearthly” higher than the earth, because its not OF the earth to begin with, its the moon. The clock is AGAINST the sky, not IN the sky, because its just a really tall clock.

  4. laura woods says:

    The feelings that i see in this poem are that of routine and sadness. He almost seems forgotten. He knows exactly when and where something is going to happen. Every time he hears a noise, he hopes that it may be directed towards him. He is so used to the rhythm of this city and is bored perhaps.

  5. josh says:

    Robert Frost was indeed one of the most important and influential writers in the history of American Literature. His unique style and incredible use of symbolic meanings give his readers a deeper understanding of his works. In his poem, “Acquainted with the Night.” Frost uses symbolism and rhythm skims, Frost conveys a lonesome feeling of isolation through the speaker, who has done some thing awful in his life and is ashamed of it. Regardless of his wrong doing, he still has hope that he can over come his dark side.
    ‘Night’ in many poems is a symbol for death. However night in Frost’s poem “Acquainted with the Night” bought itself to many different interpretations that may change the entire poem’s deeper meaning. For example the literal meaning for night is the period of darkness between sunset and sunrise. So if the reader sees night in the poem as just the actual definition he will not truly understand the poem because he will wonder why the speaker keeps saying “I have been one acquainted with the night.” Acquainted means (Informed or familiar), so in that sense every one in the world is acquainted with actual, physical night. So the reader knows that night must have a more profound symbolic meaning.
    Night here can serve as a metaphor for the speaker’s depression, Depression that he most likely is ashamed of because the speaker in the poem says, “I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain (Kyoko, Amano).” when he says, “I have looked down the saddest city lane.” He is probable looking back at a time when his depression was the worst it had ever been (Lauren). Another indication of depression occurs when the speaker says, “I have outwalked the furthest city light.” Since in most poems light is symbolic for hope and night in this poem is symbolic for depression. Than the conclusion is that the speaker has gone so deep in to his depression that he can no longer see hope or a way out and so he is acquainted with the night.
    Depression is not the only meaning night can have in this poem, however. Night may also represent the concept of the unexplored area of inner knowledge that every one has within (Kyoko). Since the speaker is acquainted with the night, he knows his darker inner self and for that he is truly unique, but he is also ashamed. “I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.” The watchman’s purpose in the poem is to enforce regularity of the people traveling the roads (Macomb). In other words he makes individuals take the road more traveled, Such as in frost poem “the road not taken” where there are two roads. One road is the road more traveled which is a symbol for conformity. The other road is the less traveled one and it symbolizes the uniqueness of an individual. So the speaker is ashamed to look at the watchman because of his inner darkness and is unwilling to explain to him why he is not taking the road more traveled. His unwillingness to explain is the reason for his shame.
    The “Sound of feet” and an “interrupted cry” through the darkness are the two most vivid images in the poem. This lack of visual details makes the reader feel that they are either blind, or cloaked in complete darkness (Teresa). Most of the vivid visual details are implied. The only concrete visual detail is when the reader is presented with the image of the “luminary clock against the sky”. Since the clock is the only thing that is explicitly seen, it takes on a startling importance. The idea of the “time” being “neither wrong nor right” in the poem can be taken to reflect Frost’s perception of waiting for something in his life, longing for something which may never come (Lauren).
    If the speaker in the poem is a female than the role of the moon takes on a more imperative meaning (Ashley). The moon could be the time of the month that a woman may or may not obtain pregnancy. The moon for a woman may symbolize a hope that she will get pregnant, but the only way this could be is if night symbolizes a woman’s fear of loneliness and isolation in society if she does not achieve pregnancy. If the speaker is a woman than the phase “I have been one acquainted with the night.” means she has tried many times to get pregnant. However she has failed and is familiar with the night that in the sense she knows how it feels to be isolated due to the fact that she can not get pregnant. In many poems rain symbolizes birth or a new begging, however rain in this poem is symbolic for pregnancy the phase “I have walked out in rain-and back in rain.” Means that she has been paginate numerous times before but something happened such as a miscarriage. The “saddest city lane” is a time in which she had a miscarriage or a lose of a child at birth. “I have looked down the saddest city lane.” “I have passed by the watchman on his beat and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.” The reason why the speaker dropped her eyes in the face of the watchman is because she feels that it’s her fault that she lost a child due to a miscarriage. She is keeping all the pain inside and is putting herself deeper in to isolation. The “cry” symbolizes some body trying to reach out to her and help with her emotional distress. “One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.” symbolizes a longing for something which may never come such as the feeling that it is not her fault for the lose of her child. The time being neither wrong nor right could also symbolize that it may have not been the right time for her to have a child, but it wasn’t the wrong time either its no ones fault.

    The rhythm of “Acquainted with the Night” is extremely steady. The entire poem is in perfect iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme serves to draw the poem together as a whole. The first stanza rhymes in an A, B, A pattern. The next stanza rhymes B, C, and B. The rhyme of the first and last lines of the next stanza is introduced in the second line of the preceding stanza. This gives the poem a feeling of smooth continuity. Another aspect of the poem that adds to its smoothness is the nearly perfect iambic pentameter that it is written in. Since the purpose of a watchman is to enforce regularity, the dominance of the watchman’s power is shown through the smoothness and regularity of this poem.
    This pattern continues until the very last stanza, which is a couplet that returns to the first (A) rhyme. This repetition of the initial rhyme draws the reader’s attention back to the beginning, bringing the poem full circle. Since the poem goes in a full circle it is symbolic for the phases of depression. For example when an individual gets depression and over comes it, most of the time the depression resurfaces just like the poem does in returning to the begging.

    Frost‘s use of investing things with symbolism such as the night and the luminary clock is a masterful work of literature due to the fact that there are so many different meanings they can represent and hold true to. Also his rhythm sekm make his poem “acquainted with the night” have a deeper meaneing than just if he used symbolizem because the waitchman’s job can be felt subcanitolsly all the way thourgh the poem.

  6. Jeannie says:

    I am writing about this for school, which is kind of taking the fun out of it for me. It is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous and descriptive poems I have ever read. I have suffered so much with depression, and the poem really describes it for me. I need some help with a few lines of it, and if you are willing to do that I would really appreciate it. Just write a comment after mine saying you are willing and I will email you and tell you the questions. I hope no one gets mad that I am asking for help or anything. thanks!

  7. Melinda Loeak says:

    this poem is amazing. The author is showing some lonliness and depression when writing this one.

  8. Misti says:

    The poem makes me think of memories and maybe regret. Also experiences, or maybe even wanting something or wanting to be at a specific point in your life. being accustomed to lonliness and loss, but able to overcome it. Time is a powerful thing but you keep going.

  9. Alice says:

    This poem i think is about all the hard times that robert frost has been through in his life. For example he had lost 4 out of 6 children and he had many illnesses during his lifetime… one i think is cancer, and his worsening eyesight.

  10. MonkBoughtLunch says:

    My interpretation: This poem is a terza rima about how it feels to be homeless, the abandonment and loneliness that accompanies such a fate.

  11. Renee says:

    Sorry Becky. I see now that my post was actually supposed to be for Sam. Also sorry Sam.

  12. Becky says:

    This poem could also be about Batman.

  13. sam says:

    Hi, im doing an assignment and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the “luminary clock” really means. I know that it is talking about the moon but what is it saying about the moon? Is it saying that he is looking to the moon as his means of telling time? OR IS THE MOON THE “CLOCK” IN HIS WORLD AND EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND WHAT THE MOON IS DOING……IF SOMEONE COULD TELL ME ASAP IT WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.

  14. Sara says:

    I love this poem – I’m doing an analysis on it for school, and it has so many meanings! I think it is a great poem, and Frost wrote it so that it purposely had many different meanings, having a unique meaning to each person – everyone can relate to it in a different way.

  15. eric garret says:

    awesome im awestruck. =P

  16. Kendall says:

    WOW that was one of my all time favorite poems and just reading it makes me more and more excited to do my 11th grade english paper on him.

  17. Lauren says:

    I believe that the word “night” in this poem refers to a suicide attempt. He’s walked “out in rain-and back in rain”: he’s been through troubles and emotional strife. He’s “outwalked the furthest city light”: he’s lost the faintest glimmer of hope. The watchman portrays a God-like figure.. someone he came in close contact with, but was ashamed of himself. The voice he heard was someone he thought was going to “call him back” and care for him, or even to say “good-by”… but to no avail.

  18. Ashley says:

    Reading through, it seems none of you considered the possiblity of the speaker being female. It puts an interesting spin on the poem. For example; the “luminary clock,” referring to the moon, would be quite significant to a woman to tell what time of the month it was.

  19. Jessica says:

    wow… this poem has so many meanings, literally, and symbolically. obviously, the speaker, robert frost, is trying to get away from somthing or is looking back at the hard times in his life. he says that he has been in and out of the rain which could mean he has been in and out of problems in his life. he has outwalked the furthest city light, which means he has gone so far in his problems, he has reached just a terrorizing point in life at sometime. he has had his sad times and has been looked down upon by others which we see in the 2nd stanza. He has been aware of the time and how he does not have a lot of it, I think he means that we shouldnt waist things like what he is writing about because we dont hvae a whole lot of time. In the end of the time, he says that time shouldnt matter. We need to stop the bad things going on in our life and not let them affect us. Most people think that frost is writing about death, but i just dont see it. does anyone else feel like he is not talking about death?

  20. Sandy says:

    I think this poem means that the narrator of this poem has gone through an expoeriance where he almost died, whether literally or what dying means to him. I got that idea from the last three sentences. ” One luminary clock against the sky proclaimes the time was nether wrong nor right. I also got the idea from the sentence “I have passed by the watchman on his beat and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.”
    I’m not sure if my interpertation is correct or close because everyone has different points of view,but please e-mail me and give me your thoughts.

  21. Leonard says:

    Borges in an intimate interview with Gloria Lopez Lecube replied “I would choose Acqainted with the night.

    Jorge Luis Borges was a poet and blind at the time of the interview.

  22. Kate says:

    I read this poem because my friend was analyzing it for lit. I said as a joke that the speaker was a vampire. I think that although it is obviously not a vampire, you get the same sense of lonliness and isolation as you would as some characterizations of a vampire. I personally thought it made sense, like the “luminary clock” was the moon, since vampires can’t tell time by the sun, they would by the moon… Anyway, I just thought I’d throw that out there.

  23. Alex says:

    “Acquainted with the Night” evokes a very American mood of isolation in an urban setting, something Edward Hopper portrays very well in his paintings. This brings back very pleasant emotions and memories of my solitary walks around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx when I was a kid and later on in life.

  24. Jack says:

    The passion of the poem comes from the desire to hide the secrets of life, and the desire to expose to the light of day the secret desires of the soul. While the symbolism of clocks (time) and watchmen (god) clearly indicates that there are no “real” secrets, the attempt to keep hidden those things we feel shame over, keeps us all well acquainted with the night.

  25. Nakaashi says:

    I rather think that this person here has done a lot of things during the night and that is why he is acquainted with it. Analyzing the whole poem makes me think that he was going away from home, and has all these gloomy thoughts about the night he did so. He is not able to explain to the watchman what he is doing and passes by him without a word. Then a while later, screams are heard from a lane behind from perhaps where he was coming. His family members realized that he left them. Or yet it could be that he died. And when he says, ‘further still at an unearthly height, one luminary clock against the sky.’ That could just be that he is a star looking down on all of them. He says this time was neither wrong or right but it happened during the night,therefore, he is one acquainted with the night.

  26. Willie Jones says:

    I find so easy to relate to Robert Frost. In many of his poems when he talks about death and being lonely i can relate to that.

  27. Mike Williams says:

    I think this poem is about his sad life. This is why Robert talks about the saddest lane and walking far far away from the light.

  28. chris mccomb says:

    In Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night”, the speaker can be any one of a number of people. To define the speaker generally, the speaker is someone who has a story to tell, and is proud of that story. This story holds so much importance for them that if they were dying and were able to have only one more conversation they would talk about how they had become “acquainted with the night”. This story describes such a personally meaningful journey, that it becomes more than just a tale; it becomes a legacy. The listener could be anybody who had inquired about the story that the speaker has to tell. I like to entertain the idea that this poem is a long-lost uncle’s narrative to his nephew upon their first meeting. The uncle feels that this story gives his nephew an accurate impression of who he is, of where he has been, and what he may try to do next.
    The meaning that I obtained after reading “Acquainted with the Night” is that it is important to recognize the value of non-conformity. Great gratification can be obtained by reducing intellectual and emotional input until you arrive at the stillness of your soul.
    The imagery in “Acquainted with the Night” is peculiar in that most of its sensory details are presented through the sense of hearing. The “Sound of feet” and an “interrupted cry” through the darkness are the two most vivid images in the poem. This lack of visual details makes the reader feel that they are either blind, or cloaked in complete darkness. Most of the vivid visual details are implied. The only concrete visual detail is when the reader is presented with the image of the “luminary clock against the sky”. Since the clock is the only thing that is explicitly seen, it takes on a startling importance. The idea of the “time” being “neither wrong nor right” in the poem can be taken to reflect Frost’s perception of waiting for something in his life, longing for something which may never come.
    The fact that throughout the poem the speaker is essentially alone gives the symbolism a new spin. From the author’s loneliness it appears that he is on the ‘road less traveled’. Thus, the “saddest city lane” that he looks down could be interpreted as the road more traveled. The watchman in the speaker’s path intimidates him, because the speaker “dropped his eyes, unwilling to explain”. If the speaker even thought that an explanation would have been necessary, we can imply that the watchman was blatantly not of the same mind as the speaker. The sole purpose of a watchman on the path of the unique would be to encourage the unique to return to the road more traveled. The watchman epitomizes “The Man” of the punk rock counterculture because of his position of power. Loneliness itself comes to be symbolized by the night into which the narrator walks.
    The rhythm of “Acquainted with the Night” is extremely steady. The entire poem is in perfect iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme serves to draw the poem together as a whole. The first stanza rhymes in an A, B, A pattern. The next stanza rhymes B, C, and B. The rhyme of the first and last lines of the next stanza is introduced in the second line of the preceding stanza. This gives the poem a feeling of smooth continuity. This pattern continues until the very last stanza, which is a couplet that returns to the first (A) rhyme. This repetition of the initial rhyme draws the reader’s attention back to the beginning, bringing the poem full circle. Another aspect of the poem that adds to its smoothness is the nearly perfect iambic pentameter that it is written in. Since the purpose of a watchman is to enforce regularity, the dominance of the watchman’s power is shown through the smoothness and regularity of this poem.
    This poem could belong to the musical genre of punk rock. One of major aspects of the punk counterculture group, non-conformity, is one of the themes expressed in this poem. The reference to “The Man” (in the form of a watchman) in the second stanza reflects another counterculture ideal: unwillingness to explain, or opposing the authorities who suppress individualism.
    When I first read this poem the only emotion that I felt was loneliness. However, when I read this poem for a second time I was able to pick out a few more emotions that the author expressed. The dominant emotion when I read this poem for the second time was pride in solitude. The author’s tone which I perceived, had changed from one of near-shame to one of pride in his accomplishments. When the narrator talks about the voice that calls out to him, “but not to call me back or say good-bye”, the author seems nonchalant and defiant in the second reading. Frost conveys the feeling that the speaker neither wants nor needs the person to which the voice belonged. I think the speaker simply needed time alone in which to relax and enjoy the sense of peace in solitude that the night can bring. He walked out alone not knowing what he was seeking… and found himself.

  29. Simmi says:

    This poem is amazing.I had to analyse it for school. Usually im really bad with poems. But this one was much easier to understand. It made me feel so sad.

  30. Nikki says:

    This poem has the slow feeling to it, almost a calming one. If you could close your eyes and picture where the man is standing, walking.. what would it look like?.. Very interesting poem, seeing how there are lots of homeless people in the world, and noone stops to care about what they have experienced or think!

  31. Andrea says:

    i think the title aquainted with the night is ironic to a certain degree. The reason for this is because the literal meaning of the word aquainted is when you know something vaguely. When you are aquainted to someone you know only superficial information about them. I believe Frost meant this to be ironic because after reading the poem one can note that he knows the night profoundly, and not just superficially.

  32. Teresa says:

    I can definately relate to this poem.
    Frost uses the night to describe our(humanity) troubles we endure.” I have walked out in rain- and back in rain,” means the speaker has dealt with problems and survived them. Frost’s repetative use of “I” emphasizes the loneliness he feels, the solitude with how he must go through this alone. The “watchman” seems to be a metaphor for God, the person who he is ashamed to admit his wrong- doings, “and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.” I think he might have even contemplated suicide,” I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet” but unsure of it is the right thing to do. Believing someone might care “and interrupted cry” changes his mind but realizes again that he is back to where he began, alone in the dark with no one to help him. No hope. Even the “luminary clock” which is suposed to give LIGHT to all beneath it to find their way “proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.” Again alnoe in the dark,and once more “I have been one acquainted with the night.”
    I can relate.

  33. Will says:

    wow… this poem has nothing to do with the adventures of walking. Although he is literally walking through a city and ultimately away from the city, this journey is not the point of the poem.

    I think he is expressing his lonliness and how he feels friendless and awkward around people. “aquainted with the night” suggests that the night is his only true companion in life.

    Ok i’m tired so i’ll make this quick :
    I think the watchman is symbolic of God
    I think the luminary clock is a full moon
    I think the cry means nothing to his life and is significant only as being not meant for him.
    I think he droops his eyes in the face of the watchman not only because he is antsocial, but also ashamed at the way his life is.
    I think he was depressed when he wrote this… definately…

  34. Patrick says:

    Walk and walk often. Walk in the rain and at night. Walk in the day in the light. Walk, for at least 40 minutes and let your mind drift. Walk for 30 days in a row, maybe 90 – walk like you plan to walk everyday of life. Your mind will enjoy the adventure.

  35. camy says:

    this poem is neato. i have to analyze it fo school and im all pumped up !! =]

    aunt jamima is one cool catt yooooo ;]

    holler.

  36. Mikal says:

    Is this poem actually about Frost and his life, or is he merely giving another work on the existence of humanity?

  37. tazdummy says:

    the ryhme in this poem is a,b,a, b,c,b c,d,c d,a,d a,a
    i think this poem is about someone wanting to leave the city the poem is about lonliness and isolation
    When he passes the watchman, he drops his eyes and having no explanation for it. This could mean he is shy around others or feels awkward around others.when I stood still it stopped the sound of feet; he was in complete solitude from the rest of society. poem seems to be talking about how social the world is. In which this case there is no communication between him and anyone, just loneliness His only friend is “the luminary clock against the sky”, luminary clock is the moon but you already know that, it seems he confides his problems to the night Like you would do with a best friend

  38. Zanne says:

    I wonder why we all tend to analyze poetry so much. Sometimes I find that I have to just read it as it is and take it at face value. I will say, I like reading everyone’s comments as it gave me new perspectives.

    This poem reached me simply because I live in a rough area of the city, (Right downtown actually) and if I happen to be out walking the dogs I tend to stay out of the way and keep my head down. I see the homeless and the girls out on the streets and in the alleys. This poem seems so familiar right now.

  39. SinOfHades says:

    In the poem “Acquainted With the Night” by Robert Frost, the narrator does not speak about the urban city nor the country-side. For all records, the poem has basically nothing to do with the enviroment the narrator is in and what he feels about it, but more of his personal feelings towards himself and his very existence. If you look at it from the positive angle, you can see that the narrator is obviously troubled, not mentally but because of a certain reason that he does not reveal through the entire poem. The narrator is walking sleeplessly and aimlessly through the city. He is kept up and is an insomniac, just as Robert Frost was. He is obviously lonely and the theme of the poem is loneliness. He has a fatal problem that troubles him throughout the entire narration. A very large and important motif in the poem is the rain. As the narrator speaks that “I have walked out in rain and back in rain” he is saying that he has basically had problems throughout his entire life. When he speaks about the “Watchman on his beat”, the watchman can be a metaphor for God and how the narrator hangs his head down in shame and is unwilling to explain of his doing that has been the cause of the problem. The narrator had obviously done something to create a problem for himself. When he speaks about the “Saddest city lane” he is speaking basically about the saddest point in his life and the largest problem in his life. Now we move onto the “luminary clock”. The luminary clock is a metaphor for the full moon that was out that night. But to understand the full meaning of the moon, you must understand the repition of “I am one acquainted with the night”. By saying this line, the narrator says that he is one that is commonly surrounded by problems throughout his life and that he is one person that is lost in his problems. The luminary clock can be seen as a signal of hope for those who have lost all hope in their problems. The night may be a metaphor for the mistakes and problems that the narrator has. And the luminary clock is a beacon of light for those lost in the darkness of the night. The “scream” is most likely a memory of the large mistake that the narrator keeps speaking about recurring inside his head. It is truly unclear of what Frost is truly speaking about in this poem against all others, but clues have been found that lead people to what he was truly saying. Robert Frost was one person that was surrounded by death. If you read about him, you should realize what I am speaking about . . . and this poem clearly represents some of his feeling toward those problems which have led him to be a very alienated and lonely individual.
    I have said all I can about the poem and I’ll say no more.

  40. Hannah says:

    I think that the speaker here does not like city life. The line ‘I have walked out in rain — and back in rain’ gives the effect of a pendulum swinging back and forth and this is supposed to mean that city life is a routine, perhaps boring or meaningless.

    The words ‘looked down the saddest city lane’ and ‘passed by the watchman’ implies that city life is just about ‘passing by’; that the speaker is always just a ‘passer by’. The watchman ‘on his beat’ also emphasises the pendulum’s back-and-forth movement. Also, the speaker is awkward around other people ‘dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain’. This is like our lives – when we get into an elevator with a stranger, do we talk to him/her? Or do we just smile and look down at the floor, sensing a strange awkwardness between the two of you? (I don’t know about you, but for me it is the latter.) It is this lack of communication between people in the city which the speaker does not enjoy.

    The ‘interrupted cry’ is disturbing to the speaker – why would someone cry out? Yet he does not stop to wonder or worry about what is happening – he just moves on. (‘passing by’) ‘But not to call me back or say good-bye’ – this is related to the earlier sentence where the speaker does not stop to worry about the person – the person does not care about the speaker; he does not cry for him. I think here the speaker is trying to show that the people in the city do not show concern for each other, preferring to just ‘pass by’ silently.

    ‘Further still’ further emphasises the distance between people, and the 2 ‘one’s in the poem also show that people’s lives are solitary. The speaker could be appealing to the luminosity of the “clock” (or moon) – which could represent hope in darkness – and its symbolic wisdom for answers.

    It is ironical that the “clock”, which is supposed to tell time, could not tell whether the time “was … wrong or right”. The fact that this uncertainty was ‘proclaimed’ was ironical too, as ‘to proclaim’ is to announce with confidence.

  41. tiffie says:

    this is a thief!! i like the poem

  42. Kelly says:

    I think that the theme in this poem is that Frost is recounting his experiences in the First World War if he was even involved; the mention of the watchman (military suggestion), being outside the furthest city lights (in the trenches), and being unwilling to explain (to the night watchman) all suggests to me that he is trying to explain and escape his memories of WW1. Tell me if I’m wrong, please!

  43. Ben says:

    The definition of luminary: An object, such as a celestial body, that gives light. It could be the actual clock in Amherst, but I have a feeling Frost was talking about the moon. It is a beautiful poem. I usually don’t like poems with rhyme schemes, because they often sound forced, but I didn’t even notice it in this poem until it was pointed out. Beautiful.

  44. Alejandra quintero says:

    i think this poem means he been so much and in and out in pain. that deep dude peace out…

  45. Charlie says:

    I think this poem is Great! It’s my favorite porm right above “The Road Not Taken.”

  46. Sidra Zaidi says:

    It seems to me that Frost is trying to use distance in this poem. “I have OUTWALKED the FURTHEST city light,” “I have PASSED by the watchman,” “When FURTHER still at an unhearthly HEIGHT.” If you look at Frost’s other works, he uses nature as a repeated theme. This poem sounds more urban and city-like to me. So I think that the narrarater in Frost’s poem is trying to separate himself from this lonely, depressing urban environment and return to the countryside which he adores.

  47. aunt jamima says:

    this poem reminds me of my of me pooping

  48. Jack says:

    The “luminary clock” Neale asked about could possibly be a metaphor for the moon. It could also mean the sundial you mentioned, but I have my doubts.

  49. Neale Adams says:

    There is a large town clock with a bright illuminated dial on what I believe is Amherst, MA, city hall at Boltwood and Main. Frost was teaching at Amherst College in 1928, the date the poem was published. I wonder if that was the “luminary clock” in the poem. Does anyone know?

  50. Mark Daniell says:

    The rhyme scheme is known as terza rima: ABA BCB CDC …

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