Saturday, January 06, 2007

Picking the First Poesies

I think I loved repetition first, that you could do that miles to go before I sleep twice, like prayer, like something I didn't know you were "allowed" to do until then. That's when some doors and windows flew open in my brain. So Stopping By Woods is no news to any of you. Then I found Acquainted with the Night and loved it for its detached, textured loneliness. (One late half-inebriated night at Kent State, I watched my friend, Chris walking to David Hassler's home along really empty streets on a brisk early October night and I thought again of this poem for the way it looked like he felt: Alone but in a kind of cool bath of solitude).
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-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
From "New Hampshire", 1923

And I loved Auden's villanelle even before I would encounter Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle. What can I say, echoes moved me and they still often do.

2 comments:

Wanda Ball said...

It's so good to read that Frost again. I feel like we're all pulling out our old vinyl LP's, shyly and proudly playing our favorites for each other. I'll play my Astral Weeks if you play your Cocteau Twins, etc.

a-smk said...

It is like that. I haven't thought about these poems in too long. But I should. They each taught me something. Still, I promise to leave my Rick Springfield in the basement.