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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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 ;]


  6. Mikal says:

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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. tiffie says:

    this is a thief!! i like the poem

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. Alejandra quintero says:

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

  15. Charlie says:

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

  16. 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.

  17. aunt jamima says:

    this poem reminds me of my of me pooping

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. Mark Daniell says:

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

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