Franz Kafka

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

A few words on "Acquainted with the night", by Robert Frost, and a version in Italian, translated in Italian by LiteraryJoint


Edvard  Munch's Starry night,  oil on canvas, 1893, The J. Paul Getty Museum.
We start bright and frisky the fourth calendar year of LiteraryJoint presenting "Acquainted with the night," by Robert Frost.
The poem, that first appeared on the Virginia Quarterly Review and was published in 1928 in the collection West-Running Brook, is often interpreted as Robert Frost's quintessential  representation of depression, and of the sense of estrangement and homelessness that this experience carries with it.
"Acquainted With the Night" is a bold confrontation with nothingness, with what Wallace Stevens once referred as the "experience of annihilation." Away from bucolic New England, we wander this time in an inhospitable, hostile city: a tiny spot in the cosmos, while from afar the moon marks our time with unearthly indifference.
Does this remind anyone of  The ill of living and the its "divine indifference"?

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,
A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night. 


By Robert Frost, from the collection West-Running Brook, 1928. 

Follows an Italian version, translated by LiteraryJoint. 

La notte ho conosciuto


Sono stato uno che la notte ha conosciuto.
Sono uscito nella pioggia -- e nella pioggia tornato.
Oltre l'ultima luce della città mi son perduto.

Il più triste vicolo della città ho scrutato.
Al guardiano di ronda ho preso il passo
E abbassato gli occhi, e mai spiegato. 

Sono rimasto immobile e ho fermato il passo 
Quando di lontano un urlo strozzato
Veniva da un'altra strada dalle case appresso,

Ma non per richiamarmi o per un saluto dato;
E ancora spaventosamente in alto,

Contro il cielo un orologio illuminato

Proclamava il tempo né
 sbagliato né giusto.
Sono stato uno che la notte ha conosciuto,

Robert Frost, dalla raccolta West-Running Brook, 1928. 
Traduzione in italiano a cura di LiteraryJoint.

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