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Theodore Roethke

I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,In my veins, in my bones, I feel it,—The small waters seeping upward,The tight grains parting at last.When sprouts break out,Slippery as fish,I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet. —Theodore Roethke, from “Cuttings (later),” The Lost Son and Other Poems (Doubleday, 1948)

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Theodore Roethke

Your words are you. You are them and not much more. The description: The fieldness of fields, the weediness of weeds … When is description mere? Never. A freshness in the seeing, an innocency in the vision, the angle of perception, the bringing together of details, not necessarily as metaphors, even, just as objects. Be… Continue reading Theodore Roethke

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Theodore Roethke

I feel her presence in the common day,In that slow dark that widens every eye.She moves as water moves, and comes to me,Stayed by what was, and pulled by what would be. —Theodore Roethke, from “She,” Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1958)

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American Culture · American Literature · Anthology · Classic · Collection · Compilation · Excerpt · Fragment · Passage · Poetry

Theodore Roethke

I know the purity of pure despair,My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.That place among the rocks—is it a cave,Or winding path? The edge is what I have.  — Theodore Roethke, from “In a Dark Time,” The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. (Anchor Books January 10, 1975) Originally published 1961.

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American Culture · American Literature · Anthology · Classic · Collection · Compilation · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry

Theodore Roethke

The Waking 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 from ear to ear.   I wake to sleep, and take my waking… Continue reading Theodore Roethke

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American Culture · American Literature · Anthology · Classic · Collection · Compilation · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry

Theodore Roethke

The Dying Man in memoriam W.B. Yeats 1. His words I heard a dying manSay to his gathered kin,“My soul’s hung out to dry,Like a fresh salted skin;I doubt I’ll use it again. “What’s done is yet to come;The flesh deserts the bone,But a kiss widens the roseI know, as the dying knowEternity is Now.… Continue reading Theodore Roethke

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