Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Night

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When Light is put away - As when
the neighbor holds the Lamp To
witness her Goodbye

A Moment - We uncertain step For
Newness of the night - Then - fit our
Vision to the Dark - And meet the
Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -

Those Evenings of the Brain-When
not a Moon disclose a sign - Or Star -
come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead
But as they learn to see -
Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.

- Emily Dickinson

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-by;
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

What I love here is the contrasting view points of both poets writing about the same topic: night. In Emily Dickinson's poem you get a sense of sadness and uncertainty at the first two stanzas but later you see that feeling gradually progresses into awareness and realization. Frost however presents this depressing aspect throughout the whole poem. The mood is very gloomy and towards the end of the poem you feel extreme pity for the speaker especially when Frost repeatedly says "I have been one acquainted to the night," is means that the speaker is and has been accustomed to loneliness and misery.

It's amazing how both poets mention night and darkness but have similar yet completely different perspectives of what darkness really represents. Dickinson speaks of darkness in a way that symbolizes hope and optimism, it's like although the speaker fails to find his/her way, in the end the light at the end of the tunnel always prevails: there is always that beckon of hope in every situation life throws at you. Frost however registers this idea that there is just so much sadness and negativity in life that a person eventually has become accustomed and almost accepting towards whatever wretchedness life has to offer.

Just love how the poems are similar when it comes to certain aspects of the night while in the end still being completely different in each poet's true perspective of life. What is interesting is that both poems reveal so much about each poet's attitude and perception of the sorrow and grief that shrouds people's everyday lives.

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