Acquainted with the Night
Interpretation and form
The poem is most often read as the poet/narrator's admission of having experienced depression and a vivid description of what that experience feels like. In this particular reading of the poem, "the night" is the depression itself, and the narrator describes how he views the world around him in this state of mind. Although he is in a city, he feels completely isolated from everything around him.
The poem is written in strict iambic pentameter, with 14 lines like a sonnet, and with a terza rima rhyme scheme, which follows the complex pattern, aba bcb cdc dad aa. Terza rima ("third rhyme") was invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri for his epic poem The Divine Comedy. Because Italian is a language in which many words have vowel endings, terza rima is much less difficult to write in Italian than it is in English. Because of its difficulty, very few writers in English have attempted the form. However, Frost was a master of many forms, and "Acquainted With The Night" is one of the most famous examples of an American poem written in terza rima.