Saturday, April 7, 2012

National Poetry Month

When I was in my angst-riddled teens I thought I could write poetry. It turned out, I couldn't. Everything I produced was, simply put, horrendous. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate poetry. On the contrary, I think people who are capable of writing it are word whizzes. There is nothing like a nice, simple poem to sum up something beautiful - a thought, opinion, sunset or delectable piece of cake. Whatever be your fancy to write about.

April is National Poetry Month. So, I've decided to share with you one of my all time favourite poems.

Robert Frost is well known among the poetry circles. Some may even say he is one of the most well-known poets. Which means it might be a bit cliched for me to pick one of his poems as my favourites. Unfortunately, this is out of my control. One of his poems was ingrained on my heart long before I had the sense to pick something more obscure and wowing.

The poem is Acquainted with the Night and the reasons for me picking it are both simple and personal. Back to my angst-filled teen years again. I used to spend a lot of time walking the streets at night, thinking. In a world so filled with people, I often found myself feeling very alone, to the point where I often wondered if anyone noticed me, or cared to notice me. All those hormones, I suppose. But as I tried to find my place in this crazy, some-what unforgiving world, I struggled with what I felt. 

Feeling lonely isn't unique, certainly not to a teenager. I knew that then and I know it now. These are just human feelings, ones so many of us suffer through. And yet, how common they are doesn't detract away from how crushing they can be. Oh, misery, it can be such a piss off.  

Looking back, I imagine a lot of my friends felt the same way. But kids didn't talk about these things. And since the internet hadn't yet caught on (yes, I am that old) I couldn't even blog anonymously about my icky feelings of sorrow and displacement. To make myself feel better, I read. Books provided insight into people who were far more messed up than I could ever be. (Ahem - Moving right alone. No comments from the peanut gallery please.)  

It was around the age of fifteen that I discovered Robert Frost. Actually, it was a couple years earlier because I read the book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton when I was in grade eight. She has his poem Nothing Gold Can Stay written out and Ponyboy and Johnny discuss it in the novel. Such sensitive Greasers those two were. Anyway, I loved this little poem. It prompted me to get up off my arse and go to the library to rent a book of Mr. Frost's poetry. What impressed me most about the majority of his poetry was his ability to sum everything up in a handful of sentences. 

Now, Acquainted with the Night reminded me of my late night walks. And it made those feelings of loneliness seem normal. It ended up giving me this knowing feeling that I wasn't alone. Every time I walked the empty streets late at night under a blanket of stars I thought of this poem and felt validated. Like I wasn't just being dramatic and, more than anything, I wasn't exactly alone, no matter how solitary I was. 

Funny how one person's poem about loneliness can make another person feel less alone.  

Anyways, here's the poem. 

Acquainted with the Night - By Robert Frost

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. 


Rob Zimmermann said...

Wow, I don't know why I've passed over that poem before. I'm going to bookmark it in my copy of Frost now.

Thanks for sharing it and your history with his poetry/ poetry in general.

Noelle Pierce said...

I can't say I've ever been a big Frost fan, but then I don't usually like poetry, either, so I didn't read much. Definitely will take another look at him now, though. My favorite poet is Keats, though my all-time favorite quote is a line from a Tennyson poem. ♥