Ode to a Figure Standing in the Shadows.
I have been one, acquainted with the night. - Robert Frost.

  The tolling of a great brass bell
Atop the high church tower,
Calling down that life is brief,
Recalls the lateness of the hour.

A somber tide rolling from the East
Makes of the steeple a glowing island.
Last light in the dying West,
Flees from the sky, a vagabond.

Gargoyles perch on rocky shores
Staring out 'ore misty seas,
Yearning to spread leaden wings
And from carved shackles find release.

Twilight haunts my homeward flight,
And lends to thoughts a somber tone.
One street lamp casts a flickering light;
Revealing that I am not alone.

In the lee of the cathedral,
A figure standing in the shadow,
With form cloaked against the cold,
And face hooded in private sorrow.

Why do you linger after honest men
Have long since taken honest leave
From friends, to wend their way back home,
And take from hardship night's reprieve?

Do you brave dark September air
To wait in ambush for naive prey;
Relieve them of hard-earned gold,
Curse youthful flesh into decay?

Perhaps you wade in pooling shadows
To make a lover's rendezvous.
Does the smoke from your cigarette
Remind of curves your lips once knew?
Click Me! Or perhaps your lonely vigil
Has naught to do with gold nor love,
And lack of sleep makes steps to wander
While Diana holds her court above.

I prey that Fortune favors you.
For some she is a cruel mistress.
Does darkness conceal your threadbare coat;
A beggar seeking the bottles solace?

Why do these riddles plague my thoughts
When by single word I could discover
Which of these idle fancies hold truth?
With bravery, rend the mystery asunder.

Courage alone is not proof from harm.
That questing word could be my last.
The truth may be a monstrous fiend,
Who on human bones would make repast.

The sable vale of twilight's cloth,
Drawn aside might reveal gentler fate.
A sought for comrade, long since lost,
With tales of strange lands to relate.

By final reckoning, what care I
Whether thou art friend or foe?
From first breath till the day we die,
In truth, we walk the path alone.

The stars care not for mortal quandary,
Casting equal glow on knave and hero.
Mother Earth will have her bounty.
The grave swallows life's every sorrow.

Back to the Directory.

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 goodbye;
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 acquinted with the night.

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