Theodore Roethke
In A Dark Time by Theodore Roethke

In A Dark Time by Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I meet my shadow in the deepening shade; I hear my echo in the echoing wood-- A lord of nature weeping to a tree. I live between the heron ...

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I Knew A Woman by Theodore Roethke

I Knew A Woman by Theodore Roethke

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones, When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them; Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one: The shapes a bright container can ...

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The Bat by Theodore Roethke

The Bat by Theodore Roethke

By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.He likes the attic of an aging house.His fingers make a hat about his head.His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.He loops in crazy ...

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Night Journey by Theodore Roethke

Night Journey by Theodore Roethke

Now as the train bears west,Its rhythm rocks the earth,And from my Pullman berthI stare into the nightWhile others take their rest.Bridges of iron lace,A suddenness of trees,A lap ...

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Elegy For Jane by Theodore Roethke

Elegy For Jane by Theodore Roethke

(My student, thrown by a horse)I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils; And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile; And how, once started into talk, the light ...

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Once More, The Round by Theodore Roethke

Once More, The Round by Theodore Roethke

What's greater, Pebble or Pond? What can be known? The Unknown. My true self runs toward a Hill More! O More! visible. Now I adore my life With the Bird, the abiding Leaf, With ...

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Root Cellar by Theodore Roethke

Root Cellar by Theodore Roethke

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch, Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark, Shoots dangled and drooped, Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates, ...

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The Minimal by Theodore Roethke

The Minimal by Theodore Roethke

I study the lives on a leaf: the littleSleepers, numb nudgers in cold dimensions,Beetles in caves, newts, stone-deaf fishes,Lice tethered to long limp subterranean weeds,Squirmers ...

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The Waking (1953) by Theodore Roethke

The Waking (1953) by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.I learn by going where I have to go.We think by feeling. What is there to know?I hear my being dance ...

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The Far Field by Theodore Roethke

The Far Field by Theodore Roethke

II dream of journeys repeatedly:Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnelOf driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,The road lined with snow-laden second ...

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Dolor by Theodore Roethke

Dolor by Theodore Roethke

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,Desolation in immaculate public ...

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Journey Into The Interior by Theodore Roethke

Journey Into The Interior by Theodore Roethke

In the long journey out of the self,There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw placesWhere the shale slides dangerouslyAnd the back wheels hang almost over the edgeAt the ...

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The Meadow Mouse by Theodore Roethke

The Meadow Mouse by Theodore Roethke

1In a shoe box stuffed in an old nylon stockingSleeps the baby mouse I found in the meadow,Where he trembled and shook beneath a stickTill I caught him up by the tail and brought ...

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Child On Top Of A Greenhouse by Theodore Roethke

Child On Top Of A Greenhouse by Theodore Roethke

The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,Up through the streaked ...

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Open House by Theodore Roethke

Open House by Theodore Roethke

My secrets cry aloud. I have no need for tongue. My heart keeps open house, My doors are widely swung. An epic of the eyes My love, with no disguise. My truths are all foreknown, ...

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The Geranium by Theodore Roethke

The Geranium by Theodore Roethke

When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,She looked so limp and bedraggled,So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,Or a wizened aster in late September,I brought her back ...

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Epidermal Macabre by Theodore Roethke

Epidermal Macabre by Theodore Roethke

Indelicate is he who loathesThe aspect of his fleshy clothes, --The flying fabric stitched on bone,The vesture of the skeleton,The garment neither fur nor hair,The cloak of evil ...

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My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke

My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's ...

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She by Theodore Roethke

She by Theodore Roethke

I think the dead are tender. Shall we kiss? --My lady laughs, delighting in what is.If she but sighs, a bird puts out its tongue.She makes space lonely with a lovely song.She ...

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The Right Thing by Theodore Roethke

The Right Thing by Theodore Roethke

Let others probe the mystery if they can.Time-harried prisoners of Shall and Will-The right thing happens to the happy man.The bird flies out, the bird flies back again;The hill ...

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Pickle Belt by Theodore Roethke

Pickle Belt by Theodore Roethke

The fruit rolled by all day.They prayed the cogs would creep;They thought about Saturday pay,And Sunday sleep.Whatever he smelled was good:The fruit and flesh smells mixed.There ...

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Cuttings (Later) by Theodore Roethke

Cuttings (Later) by Theodore Roethke

This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,Cut stems struggling to put down feet,What saint strained so much,Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?I can hear, underground, ...

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The Saginaw Song by Theodore Roethke

The Saginaw Song by Theodore Roethke

In Saginaw, in Saginaw, The wind blows up your feet, When the ladies’ guild puts on a feed, There’s beans on every plate, And if you eat more than you should, Destruction is ...

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The Visitant by Theodore Roethke

The Visitant by Theodore Roethke

1 A cloud moved close. The bulk of the wind shifted. A tree swayed over water. A voice said: Stay. Stay by the slip-ooze. Stay. Dearest tree, I said, may I rest here? A ripple ...

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The Storm by Theodore Roethke

The Storm by Theodore Roethke

1Against the stone breakwater,Only an ominous lapping,While the wind whines overhead,Coming down from the mountain,Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;A thin whine ...

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The Voice by Theodore Roethke

The Voice by Theodore Roethke

One feather is a bird,I claim; one tree, a wood;In her low voice I heardMore than a mortal should;And so I stood apart,Hidden in my own heart.And yet I roamed out whereThose notes ...

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Various Quotes From On Poetry And Craft: Selected Prose Of Theodore Roethke by Theodore Roethke

Various Quotes From On Poetry And Craft: Selected Prose Of Theodore Roethke by Theodore Roethke

The poem, even a short time after being written, seems no miracle; unwritten, it seems something beyond the capacity of the gods.*Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of ...

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The Waking (1948) by Theodore Roethke

The Waking (1948) by Theodore Roethke

I strolled acrossAn open field;The sun was out;Heat was happy.This way!This way!The wren's throat shimmered,Either to other,The blossoms sang.The stones sang, The little ones ...

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Big Wind by Theodore Roethke

Big Wind by Theodore Roethke

Where were the greenhouses going, Lunging into the lashing Wind driving water So far down the river All the faucets stopped?— So we drained the manure-machine For the steam plant, ...

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Snake by Theodore Roethke

Snake by Theodore Roethke

I saw a young snake glideOut of the mottled shadeAnd hang, limp on a stone:A thin mouth, and a tongueStayed, in the still air.It turned; it drew away;Its shadow bent in half;It ...

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The Sloth by Theodore Roethke

The Sloth by Theodore Roethke

In moving-slow he has no Peer.You ask him something in his Ear,He thinks about it for a Year;And, then, before he says a WordThere, upside down (unlike a Bird),He will assume that ...

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The Reckoning by Theodore Roethke

The Reckoning by Theodore Roethke

All profits disappear: the gainOf ease, the hoarded, secret sum;And now grim digits of old painReturn to litter up our home.We hunt the cause of ruin, add,Subtract, and put ...

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Selections From I Am! Said The Lamb by Theodore Roethke

Selections From I Am! Said The Lamb by Theodore Roethke

The DonkeyI had a Donkey, that was all right,But he always wanted to fly my Kite; Every time I let him, the String would bust.Your Donkey is better behaved, I trust. The ...

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Infirmity by Theodore Roethke

Infirmity by Theodore Roethke

In purest song one plays the constant fool As changes shimmer in the inner eye. I stare and stare into a deepening pool And tell myself my image cannot die. I love myself: that’s ...

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The Pike by Theodore Roethke

The Pike by Theodore Roethke

The river turns,Leaving a place for the eye to rest,A furred, a rocky pool,A bottom of water.The crabs tilt and eat, leisurely,And the small fish lie, without shadow, ...

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The Shape Of The Fire by Theodore Roethke

The Shape Of The Fire by Theodore Roethke

1 What’s this? A dish for fat lips. Who says? A nameless stranger. Is he a bird or a tree? Not everyone can tell. Water recedes to the crying of spiders. An old scow bumps over ...

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