Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost
Stanza 5 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
- So now we find out what time the clock (or the moon) "proclaims" (says) it is. But "neither wrong nor right" is no time we've ever seen on a clock before.
- Maybe it's hard to see exactly what time it is judging by the moon, so whatever guess the speaker makes wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but probably wouldn't be right either.
- Or maybe the speaker feels like, no matter what time it is, it's neither wrong nor right. He's acquainted with the night, so he's used to this dark, creepy loneliness, but he doesn't like it very much, either.
- The moon is proclaiming the time, not just showing or saying it. The moon is making this limbo between wrong and right pretty obvious.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
- The speaker cuts the poem short here, with a two-line stanza, breaking from the rhyme scheme and form of the rest of the poem.
- This line is repeated from both the title and the first line of the poem. It wraps up this very tight poem with its sound and meaning.
- Yet, we read this line differently from the way we read it when we saw it at first. Now we know what the speaker is talking about when he says he's been acquainted with the night – rain, darkness, watchmen, eerie cries. Even the moon doesn't seem quite right – but nothing is exactly wrong, either.
- What do you feel when you hear this line again? Is the speaker resigned to his fate? Is he moving on? Have you been one acquainted with the night?