Friday, September 23, 2011

Poems of the Night

For poetry Friday, which can be found today at
         I love the idea of Autumn, partly because there are chilly nights arriving earlier.  Yet I also know that in the past nights were not always so welcomed, nor were they safe.     
        Articles about cultural changes fascinate me for the events that cause new directions in people’s lives, like the earlier gas lamps, then electric ones.  When I read an article in the Smithsonian magazine a number of years ago about the rhythms of the night before the Industrial Revolution, a review of a book titled At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, by Roger Ekirch, I ordered the book.  From the interest it sparked, I began to collect stories, poems and anthologies about the night.  Other books and poems, of course, connect with the night with the topics of dreams and dreaming.
        I have used both topics to spark discussions and writing ideas with my students.  There is rarely someone who doesn’t have a story to share about the night, either scary or sweet, but always memorable.   Annie Dillard has written much about the night in her books, and I’ve shared her young memory from An American Childhood where she mistakes a shadow and a swerving car’s light for a monster.  I’d like to recommend two books that are marvelous anthologies filled with night poems.  Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen explores those creatures who thrive in the night, who don’t find it mysterious at all.   A Pocketful of Stars-Poems About the Night, edited by Nikki Siegen-Smith and illustrated by Emma Shaw-Smith includes poems by various well-known authors, but the illustrations offer a look of various classic poems’ interpretations through the eyes of different cultures.   
            A favorite night poem from my collection is by Robert Frost, I Have Been Acquainted With The Night. 
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rainand back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

      Here is the remainder of the poem.


  1. I've been hearing a lot about "Pocketful of stars" and I've seen it around as well but have never gotten around to reading it. Robert Frost is a favorite. And I am also too-familiar with these beginning lines - oft-quoted in its timelessness. I just came from a stargazing session organized by my institution this evening - and this poem is just perfect.

    BTW - did you know that the link you provided in the round-up was your post from last week's? I had to visit your actual website to see your much more recent post.

    Enjoy the weekend nights!

  2. It's linked to this one now!

    Thanks for participating in Poetry Friday this week!

    :-) Anastasia

  3. As an insomniac, this poem has always had special meaning for me.

  4. I just posted a night poem today and then came here. I find it fascinating how many times topics seem to surface for more than one person simultaneously - or nearly so!

  5. are a "Versatile Blogger" - check it out!


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