The tone of Maxine Kumin's poem "The Sound of Night" is dark and foreboding. From the way the author describes the night, it is clear that it's something particular, possibly dangerous, but mostly importantly--foreign and strange. The last couplet of the poem sheds light on why that is.
By the lake, locked black away and tight,
we lie, day creatures, overhearing night.
It's implied that we, as creatures of the day, don't really belong in the night. There are many ways poets have approached the dark hours of the day and some of them find it peaceful and reassuring rather than scary, but Kumin's poem takes an almost primeval view. The way she describes building a fire and waiting for the dawn to come to rescue heavily suggests that there is something in the night to be feared. The sounds and noises don't come from dangerous creatures, but all together they give off an ominous vibe. On their own, perhaps the sounds wouldn't be so bad, but all at once they make for a disturbing cacophony. During the night, the world is different, the poem seems to say. A place where people maybe shouldn't tread. So we wait, listening, not really knowing what's out there, until morning comes and sheds light on us again.