Acquainted with the Night

9:35 AM Posted by James Owens



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,
A luminary clock against the sky




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

--Robert Frost


20 comments:

S. Etole said...

sometimes the night is like a cloak ...

Andrea said...

Beautiful serie:a great mix with the Poetry,in my opinion.

veredit said...

Thank you for this poetic, meditative walk through the city at night. I like it very much, your view of the world and its course.

Hugs

Isabella

colleen said...

The city at night is still, quiet and yet so full. Lovely shots.

Sorlil said...

Oh, lovely. Time to dig out some Frost, can't remember the last time I read him. Really like the last picture, those endless globes of light.

I've been thinking about Whitman recently. Do you mind if I ask if you think he's still a major influence on American poetry or is he considered outdated?

Roxana said...

soon i won't be able to notice if i am on the Bridge or on the Klage-welt :-) the first image is almost surreal, such loveliness! and we travel through light and lavishness of shapes and colours to reach the core of night, ah that last picture - which, amazingly, seems to be somehow richer than all the rest...

lissa said...

lovely pics to go with the poem, the last pic's my favorite

James Owens said...

Susan: Yes. And sometimes we need most of all to pull that cloak over our heads and be erased for a bit, nothing but the distant lights in the shadows and the restless, lonely wind…


Andrea: Thank you. I’ve loved this poem for many years, and already, when I was taking these pictures, I couldn’t imagine anything else with them.


Isabella: Es freut mich, dass du kannst meine Welt mit mir anblicken. Jemand hat mir einmal gesagt, das Weltbild meiner Gedichte zu leer, zu unbevoelkert war … aber wir sind was wir sind ….


Colleen: It was certainly quiet that night … I walked for an hour and met absolutely no one on the streets, not one person. But yes, the city was filled….

James Owens said...

Sorlil: I think Whitman is still important, but mostly as an ideal -- sensual, expansive, democratic. A lot of poets claim allegiance to Whitman, but, frankly, I don’t think many people actually read very far into his work, outside of a few, very popular, anthology pieces. This is a shame, really, since he is actually much more subtle and layered and … untamed … than he gets credit for being, as he is talked about in classrooms. But I say that along with an admission that I’ve never cared that much for him, myself. He is altogether too sprawling for me, and I find his long poems tiresome. If American poets gravitate toward two different poles, represented by Whitman and Dickinson, then I tend to be happier on the Dickinson vector …. But of course it is a false dichotomy, as most such schemas are…. I would be very curious to know how Whitman is perceived in your part of the world. I could see him -- in a funny, skewed, politicized way -- standing distantly behind Hugh MacDiarmid, for instance....

James Owens said...

Roxana: Yes .. sometimes … my visits to the Bridge are more about remembering my own dreams and wondering how in the world you have managed to photograph them :-) Ah, that first picture … you know, in a way I have to find some bravery to post a picture like this … it almost seems accidental, some kid playing with the camera, don’t you think? … but … I took it out … and put it back in … and took it out … but it would not let go of me, I had to have it!

James Owens said...

Lissa: Thank you. I have to admit, I think the last is my favorite, too....

Sorlil said...

Thanks for that, James :) He gets very little mention over here. I was just wondering because of an article I read which said that current American poets are largely drawn towards animism and Whitman seems to me an obvious place to start if that's the case. But I don't know if such a generalisation of American poetry is true or even could be true.

James Owens said...

Sorlil: Whitman comes across as a sort of pantheist, seeing divinity shining in everything, so I think I can understand what that article is talking about. This is similar to a lot of contemporary poets writing about the natural world -- like Mary Oliver or Jane Hirshfield, if you know them (though I’m guessing Hirshfield would say her influences are more Buddhist). Whitman is also these days almost universally acknowledged to have been gay (though I think he would have resisted being categorized), and is pretty popular with people who have retroactively turned him into a crusader for gender politics.

I’m not sure how far you should trust my impressions, though … I’m ashamed to say that I don’t read a lot of American poetry or criticism….

LadyFi said...

Such fantastic photos to go with this lovely Frost poem.

James Owens said...

LadyFi: Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

James said...

These night shots are excellent. I really need to get out more after dark.

James Owens said...

James: I like shooting at night, especially in winter. In the quiet and shadows, everything seems stripped to its essential form -- or maybe that's just me, I'm reduced to essentials :-)

Anne said...

Hello James. I discover your blog with pleasure beacuse I find on it beautiful photos, poetry, inspiration, as in this night walk.
Anne

James Owens said...

Anne: Hello. You are very welcome here, and I’m glad you found something you like! I will be coming back to your lovely blog, as well. Tu peux écrire ici en anglais ou en français, comme tu veux.

ruma2008 said...

Thank you for showing wonderful world brightness.


From the Far East.
Best regards.
ruma