Roethke Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Roethke. Here they are! All 135 of them:

β€œ
Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
By daily dying, I have come to be.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
May my silences become more accurate.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of haste. It's what everything else isn't.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (On Poetry and Craft: Selected Prose)
β€œ
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 slow. Of those so close beside me, which are you? God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go. Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how? The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me, so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
How body from spirit slowly does unwind, until we are pure spirit at the end.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
The darkness has it's own light.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Over every mountain, there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
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.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Pain wanders through my bones like a lost fire
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What's madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Far Field)
β€œ
So much of adolescence is an ill-defined dying, An intolerable waiting, A longing for another place and time, Another condition.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
The visible exhausts me. I am dissolved in shadow.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I do not laugh; I do not cry; I'm sweating out the will to die. My past is sliding down the drain; I soon will be myself again.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I lose and find myself in the long water. I am gathered together once more.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I learned not to fear infinity, The far field, the windy cliffs of forever, The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow, The wheel turning away from itself, The sprawl of the wave, The on-coming water.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
In this place of light: he dares to live Who stops being a bird, yet beats his wings Against the immense immeasurable emptiness of things.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Be sure that whatever you are is you.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What's madness but nobility of soul At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire! 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........ ....... Dark,dark my light, and darker my desire. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, Keeps buzzing at the sill. ~From "The Waking" by Theodore Roethke
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
A mind too active is no mind at all.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Selected Letters of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
In a dark time, the eye begins to see / I meet my shadow in the deepening shade...Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What falls away is always. And is near.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I have gone into the waste lonely places
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I long for the imperishable quiet at the heart of form.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
The stones were sharp, The wind came at my back; Walking along the highway, Mincing like a cat.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
(I measure time by how a body sways.)
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
All lovers live by longing, and endure: Summon a vision and declare it pure.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
Love is not love until loveΒ΄s vulnerable.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Nothing would give up life: Even the dirt keeps breathing a small breath.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
I trust all joy
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
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 and the wren, Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den. What's madness but nobility of soul At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire! 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. A steady storm of correspondences! A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon, And in broad day the midnight comes again! A man goes far to find out what he is-- Death of the self in a long, tearless night, All natural shapes blazing unnatural light. Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I? A fallen man, I climb out of my fear. The mind enters itself, and God the mind, And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What is madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Self-contemplation is a curse That makes an old confusion worse.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I may look like a beer salesman, but I'm a poet.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
The fields stretch out in long unbroken rows. We walk aware of what is far and close. Here distance is familiar as a friend. The feud we kept with space comes to an end.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I teach my sighs to lengthen into songs, Yet, like a tree, endure the shift of things.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
(Dreams drain the spirit if we dream too long.)
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
It’s your privilege to find me incomprehensible. I gave you my minutes; let them remain ours. I hope I haunt you.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
from I Knew a Woman 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 contain!
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
A wave of Time hangs motionless on this particular shore. I notice a tree, arsenical grey in the light, or the slow Wheel of the stars, the Great Bear glittering colder than snow, And remember there was something else I was hoping for.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Selected Poems)
β€œ
My Papa's Waltz: 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 countenance Could not unfrown itself. The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle. You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What's madness but nobility of soul At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire! 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
β€œ
My father is a fish.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
I fear those shadows most that start from my own feet.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
My bones whisper to my blood; my sleep deceives me.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
A house for wisdom, a field for revelation. Speak to the stars, and the stars answer. At first the visible obscures: Go where the light is.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Praise to the End!)
β€œ
Love alters all. Unblood my instinct, love.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
When true love broke my heart in half, I took the whiskey from the shelf, And told my neighbors when to laugh. I keep a dog, and bark myself.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
She moves as water moves, and comes to me, Stayed by what was, and pulled by what would be.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I prefer the still joy: The wasp drinking at the edge of my cup; A snake lifting its head; A snail's music.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Dreams drain the spirit if we dream too long.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I learn by going where I have to go
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
O my poor words, bear with me.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
Love makes me naked; Propinquity's a harsh master; O the songs we hide singing to ourselves!
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Dolor 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 places, Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard, The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher, Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma, Endless duplicaton of lives and objects. And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions, Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica, Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium, Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows, Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate gray standard faces.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Lost Son & Other Poems)
β€œ
The two duties are to lament or praise.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Selected Poems)
β€œ
Maybe God has a house. But not here.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What grace I have is enough.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
from Open House My truths are all foreknown, This anguish self-revealed. I'm naked to the bone, With nakedness my shield. Myself is what I wear: I keep the spirit spare.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Brooding on God, I may become a man.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Far Field)
β€œ
Yet if we wait, unafraid, beyond the fearful instant, The burning lake turns into a forest pool, The fire subsides into rings of water, A sunlit silence.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Far Field)
β€œ
Loved heart, what can I say? When I was a lark, I sang; When I was a worm, I devoured. The self says, I am; The heart says, I am less; The spirit says, you are nothing.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
Mania has been described as having a mystical quality, an example of which is described by the writer Theodore Roethke. One day he felt good, and then felt that he knew what it was like to be a rabbit, and then a lion; so he entered a restaurant and ordered and ate raw meat. Kay Redfield Jameson bought twenty Penguin books in order to form a colony of penguins, and the poet Robert Lowell believed on one occasion that he might be the reincarnation of the Holy Ghost and could, if he wished, paralyze cars.
”
”
Lewis Wolpert (Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief)
β€œ
Necessity starves on the stoop of invention.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Where has he gone, my meadow mouse, My thumb of a child that nuzzled in my palm? -- To run under the hawk's wing, Under the eye of the great owl watching from the elm-tree, To live by courtesy of the shrike, the snake, the tom-cat. (from "The Meadow Mouse")
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
The Surly One 1 When true love broke my heart in half, I took the whisky from the shelf, And told my neighbors when to laugh. I keep a dog, and bark myself. 2 Ghost cries out to ghost – But who’s afraid of that? I fear those shadows most That start from my own feet.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
في Ψ£Ψ²Ω…Ω†Ψ© Ψ§Ω„ΨΈΩ„Ψ§Ω…ΨŒ ΨͺΨ¨Ψ―Ψ£ Ψ§Ω„ΨΉΩŠΩ†Ω Ψ¨Ψ§Ω„Ψ±Ψ€ΩŠΨ©
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
from The Auction I left my home with unencumbered will And all the rubbish of confusion sold.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I wake to sleep and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go. The Waking
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
The Mistake He left his pants upon a chair: She was a widow, so she said: But he was apprehended, bare, By one who rose up from the dead.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
She loved the wind because the wind loved me.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
She knows the speech of light, and makes it plain A lively thing can come to life again.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
A mind too active is no mind at all. THEODORE ROETHKE
”
”
Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity)
β€œ
Deep in their roots,’ Roethke had said, β€˜all flowers keep the light.
”
”
Jan Karon (Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Mitford Years, #12))
β€œ
The poet Roethke said, β€œI learn by going where I have to go.
”
”
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3))
β€œ
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, This anguish self-revealed. I’m naked to the bone, With nakedness my shield. Myself is what I wear: I keep the spirit spare. The anger will endure, The deed will speak the truth In language strict and pure. I stop the lying mouth: Rage warps my clearest cry To witless agony.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Epidermal Macabre Indelicate is he who loathes The 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 and despair, The veil long violated by Caresses of the hand and eye. Yet such is my unseemliness: I hate my epidermal dress, The savage blood's obscenity, The rags of my anatomy, And willingly would I dispense With false accouterments of sense, To sleep immodestly, a most Incarnadine and carnal ghost.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
I kiss her moving mouth, Her swart hilarious skin; She breaks my breath in half; She frolicks like a beast; And I dance round and round, A fond and foolish man, And see and suffer myself In another being, at last.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I've recovered my tenderness by long looking; I'm a Socrates of small fury. The waves bends with the fish. I'm taught As water teaches stone. Believe me, extremest oriole, I can hear light on a dry day. The world is where we fling it; I'm leaving where I am.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Wish For A Young Wife My lizard, my lively writher May your limbs never wither May the eyes in your face Survive the green ice Of envy's mean gaze; May you live out your life Without hate, without grief, And your hair ever blaze, In the sun, in the sun, When I am undone, When I am no one.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
ROOT CELLAR" 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, Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes. And what a congress of stinks!-- Roots ripe as old bait, Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich, Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks. Nothing would give up life: Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
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 becomes the valley, and is still; Let others delve that mystery if they can. God bless the roots! -Body and soul are one The small become the great, the great the small; The right thing happens to the happy man. Child of the dark, he can out leap the sun, His being single, and that being all: The right thing happens to the happy man. Or he sits still, a solid figure when The self-destructive shake the common wall; Takes to himself what mystery he can, And, praising change as the slow night comes on, Wills what he would, surrendering his will Till mystery is no more: No more he can. The right thing happens to the happy man.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Far Field)
β€œ
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.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Is pain a promise? I was schooled in pain, And found out all I could of all desire;
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
A lively understandable spirit Once entertained you. It will come again. Be still. Wait.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Lost Son & Other Poems)
β€œ
Snail, snail, glister me forward, Bird, soft-sigh me home, Worm, be with me. This is my hard time.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I learn by going where I have to go.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Waking: Poems: 1933 - 1953)
β€œ
In a dark time, the eye begins to see
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
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
β€œ
The grass says what the wind says: Begin with the rock; End with water.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Who sighs from far away?
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Oh, to be something else, yet still to be!
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Am I reduced to the indignity of examples?
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
There was poetry on the subway. Above the rows of scooped-plastic seats, filling the empty display space between ads for dermatologists and companies that promised college degrees by mail, were long laminated sheets printed with poems: second-rate Stevens and third-rate Roethke and fourth-rate Lowell, verse meant to agitate no one, anger and beauty reduced to empty aphorisms.
”
”
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
β€œ
The Geranium 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 in again For a new routine - Vitamins, water, and whatever Sustenance seemed sensible At the time: she'd lived So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer, Her shriveled petals falling On the faded carpet, the stale Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves. (Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.) The things she endured!- The dumb dames shrieking half the night Or the two of us, alone, both seedy, Me breathing booze at her, She leaning out of her pot toward the window. Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me- And that was scary- So when that snuffling cretin of a maid Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can, I said nothing. But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week, I was that lonely.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Selected Poems)
β€œ
I Knew a Woman" 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 contain! Of her choice virtues only gods should speak, Or English poets who grew up on Greek (I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek). How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin, She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand; She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin; I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand; She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake, Coming behind her for her pretty sake (But what prodigious mowing we did make). Love likes a gander, and adores a goose: Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize; She played it quick, she played it light and loose; My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees; Her several parts could keep a pure repose, Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose (She moved in circles, and those circles moved). Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay: I’m martyr to a motion not my own; What’s freedom for? To know eternity. I swear she cast a shadow white as stone. But who would count eternity in days? These old bones live to learn her wanton ways: (I measure time by how a body sways).
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Fourth Meditation" 1 I was always one for being alone, Seeking in my own way, eternal purpose; At the edge of the field waiting for the pure moment; Standing, silent, on sandy beaches or walking along green embankments; Knowing the sinuousness of small waters: As a chip or shell, floating lazily with a slow current... Was it yesterday I stretched out the thin bones of my innocence? O the songs we hide, singing only to ourselves! Once I could touch my shadow, and be happy; In the white kingdoms, I was light as a seed, Drifting with the blossoms, A pensive petal. But a time comes when the vague life of the mouth no longer suffices; The dead make more impossible demands from their silence; The soul stands, lonely in its choice, Waiting, itself a slow thing, In the changing body. The river moves, wrinkled by midges, A light wind stirs in the pine needles. The shape of a lark rises from a stone; But there is no song.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
OPEN HOUSE 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, This anguish self-revealed. I'm naked to the bone, With nakedness my shield. Myself is what I wear: I keep the spirit spare. The anger will endure, The deed will speak the truth In language strict and pure. I stop the lying mouth: Rage warps my clearest cry To witless agony.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
LULL (November, 1939) The winds of hatred blow Cold, cold across the flesh And chill the anxious heart; Intricate phobias grow From each malignant wish To spoil collective life. Now each man stands apart. We watch opinion drift, Think of our separate skins. On well-upholstered bums The generals cough and shift Playing with painted pins. The arbitrators wait; The newsmen suck their thumbs. The mind is quick to turn Away from simple faith To the cant and fury of Fools who will never learn; Reason embraces death, While out of frightened eyes Still stares the wish to love.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
The Dream" I met her as a blossom on a stem Before she ever breathed, and in that dream The mind remembers from a deeper sleep: Eye learned from eye, cold lip from sensual lip. My dream divided on a point of fire; Light hardened on the water where we were; A bird sang low; the moonlight sifted in; The water rippled, and she rippled on. She came toward me in the flowing air, A shape of change, encircled by its fire. I watched her there, between me and the moon; The bushes and the stones danced on and on; I touched her shadow when the light delayed; I turned my face away, and yet she stayed. A bird sang from the center of a tree; She loved the wind because the wind loved me. Love is not love until love’s vulnerable. She slowed to sigh, in that long interval. A small bird flew in circles where we stood; The deer came down, out of the dappled wood. All who remember, doubt. Who calls that strange? I tossed a stone, and listened to its plunge. She knew the grammar of least motion, she Lent me one virtue, and I live thereby. She held her body steady in the wind; Our shadows met, and slowly swung around; She turned the field into a glittering sea; I played in flame and water like a boy And I swayed out beyond the white seafoam; Like a wet log, I sang within a flame. In that last while, eternity’s confine,
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
The Dying Man" in memoriam W.B. Yeats 1. His words I heard a dying man Say to his gathered kin, β€œMy soul’s hung out to dry, Like a fresh salted skin; I doubt I’ll use it again. β€œWhat’s done is yet to come; The flesh deserts the bone, But a kiss widens the rose I know, as the dying know Eternity is Now. β€œA man sees, as he dies, Death’s possibilities; My heart sways with the world. I am that final thing, A man learning to sing. 2. What Now? Caught in the dying light, I thought myself reborn. My hand turn into hooves. I wear the leaden weight Of what I did not do. Places great with their dead, The mire, the sodden wood, Remind me to stay alive. I am the clumsy man The instant ages on. I burned the flesh away, In love, in lively May. I turn my look upon Another shape than hers Now, as the casement blurs. In the worst night of my will, I dared to question all, And would the same again. What’s beating at the gate? Who’s come can wait. 3. The Wall A ghost comes out of the unconscious mind To grope my sill: It moans to be reborn! The figure at my back is not my friend; The hand upon my shoulder turns to horn. I found my father when I did my work, Only to lose myself in this small dark. Though it reject dry borders of the seen, What sensual eye can keep and image pure, Leaning across a sill to greet the dawn? A slow growth is a hard thing to endure. When figures our of obscure shadow rave, All sensual love’s but dancing on a grave. The wall has entered: I must love the wall, A madman staring at perpetual night, A spirit raging at the visible. I breathe alone until my dark is bright. Dawn’s where the white is. Who would know the dawn When there’s a dazzling dark behind the sun. 4. The Exulting Once I delighted in a single tree; The loose air sent me running like a child– I love the world; I want more than the world, Or after image of the inner eye. Flesh cries to flesh, and bone cries out to bone; I die into this life, alone yet not alone. Was it a god his suffering renewed?– I saw my father shrinking in his skin; He turned his face: there was another man, Walking the edge, loquacious, unafraid. He quivered like a bird in birdless air, Yet dared to fix his vision anywhere. Fish feed on fish, according to their need: My enemies renew me, and my blood Beats slower in my careless solitude. I bare a wound, and dare myself to bleed. I think a bird, and it begins to fly. By dying daily, I have come to be. All exultation is a dangerous thing. I see you, love, I see you in a dream; I hear a noise of bees, a trellis hum, And that slow humming rises into song. A breath is but a breath: I have the earth; I shall undo all dying with my death. 5. They Sing, They Sing All women loved dance in a dying light– The moon’s my mother: how I love the moon! Out of her place she comes, a dolphin one, Then settles back to shade and the long night. A beast cries out as if its flesh were torn, And that cry takes me back where I was born. Who thought love but a motion in the mind? Am I but nothing, leaning towards a thing? I scare myself with sighing, or I’ll sing; Descend O gentlest light, descend, descend. I sweet field far ahead, I hear your birds, They sing, they sing, but still in minor thirds. I’ve the lark’s word for it, who sings alone: What’s seen recededs; Forever’s what we know!– Eternity defined, and strewn with straw, The fury of the slug beneath the stone. The vision moves, and yet remains the same. In heaven’s praise, I dread the thing I am. The edges of the summit still appall When we brood on the dead or the beloved; Nor can imagination do it all In this last place of light: he dares to live Who stops being a bird, yet beats his wings Against the immense immeasurable emptiness of things.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I have gone into the waste lonely places Behind the eye; the lost acres at the edge of smoky cities. What’s beyond never crumbles like an embankment, Explodes like a rose, or thrusts wings over the Caribbean. There are no pursuing forms, faces on walls: Only the motes of dust in the immaculate hallways, The darkness of falling hair, the warning from lint and spiders, The vines graying to a fine powder. There is no riven tree, or lamb dropped by an eagle. There are still times, morning and evening: The cerulean, high in the elm, Thin and insistent as a cicada, And the far phoebe, singing, The long plaintive notes floating down, Drifting through leaves, oak and maple, Or the whippoorwill, along the smoky ridges, A single bird calling and calling: A fume reminds me, drifting across wet gravel; A cold wind comes over stones; A flame, intense, visible, Plays over the dry pods, Runs fitfully along the stubble, Moves over the field, Without burning. In such times, lacking a god, I am still happy.
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
We breathe in unison. The outside dies within, And she knows all I am. β€” Theodore Roethke, section 1 of β€œMemory,” The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1975)
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
What shakes the eye but the invisible?
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
One was Words for the Wind, by Theodore Roethke, and this is what I found in there: 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.
”
”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
β€œ
Much of poetry is an anguished waiting.” β€” Theodore Roethke
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
And you just know he knows he knows.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
I know the purity of pure despair, My shadow pinned against a sweating wall. That place among the rocksβ€”is it a cave, Or winding path? The edge is what I have. β€” Theodore Roethke, from β€œIn a Dark Time,” The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. (Anchor Books January 10, 1975) Originally published 1961.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
Money money money Water water water
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Lost Son & Other Poems)
β€œ
O my poor words, bear with me. β€” Theodore Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke, ed. David Wagoner (Copper Canyon Press November 1, 2006)
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke)
β€œ
Each newcomer feels obliged to do something else, forgetting that if he himself is somebody he will necessarily do that something else," said ValΓ©ry. And Roethke told students to "write like somebody else." There are those usual people who try desperately to appear unusual and there are unusual people who try to appear usual. Most poets I've met are from the latter and much smaller group. William Stafford, at his best as good as we have, is a near-perfect example. It doesn't surprise me at all when the arrogant wild man in class turns in predictable, unimaginative poems and the straight one is doing nutty and promising work. If you are really strange you are always in enemy territory, and your constant concern is survival.
”
”
Richard Hugo
β€œ
Child On Top Of A Greenhouse 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 glass, flashing with sunlight, A few white clouds all rushing eastward, A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses, And everyone, everyone pointing up and shouting!
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
A mind too active is no mind at all. --Infirmity
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Far Field)
β€œ
I think the dead are tender. Shall we kiss?--
”
”
Theodore Roethke
β€œ
Anyone whose parents have failed them loves Roethke more than any other poet, I suppose.
”
”
Susan Scarf Merrell (Shirley)
β€œ
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. from β€œShe
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
I feel my fate in what I can not fear.
”
”
Roethke
β€œ
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. β€” Theodore Roethke, from β€œShe,” Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse of Theodore Roethke (Indiana University Press, 1964)
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.’” What falls away is always. And is near. β€œThat’s lovely.” β€œIt’s from a poem by Theodore Roethke.
”
”
Kelly Cozy (Ashes (Ashes #1))
β€œ
I learn by going where I have to go.” ― Theodore Roethke
”
”
Joyce Wilson-Sanford (I Pray Anyway: Devotions for the Ambivalent)
β€œ
Theodore Roethke said it best: 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. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.10 In
”
”
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive (Sacred Activism Book 9))
β€œ
Listen, love, The fat lark sang in the field; I touched the ground, the ground warmed by the killdeer, The salt laughed and the stones; The ferns had their ways, and the pulsing lizards, And the new plants, still awkward in their soil, The lovely diminutives. I could watch! I could watch! I saw the separateness of all things! My heart lifted up with the great grasses; The weeds believed me, and the nesting birds. There were clouds making a rout of shapes crossing a windbreak of cedars, And a bee shaking drops from a rain-soaked honeysuckle. The worms were delighted as wrens. And I walked, I walked through the light air; I moved with the morning.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
A seashell is like a memory. The life is gone. The beauty remains. (excerpt from Merry Musings, Modest Maxims for Happiness by Laurel Darling Roethke) <\i>
”
”
Carolyn G. Hart (Walking on My Grave (Death on Demand #26))
β€œ
Was I the servant of a sovereign wish, Or ladle rattling in an empty dish?
”
”
Theodore Roethke (Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse)
β€œ
Many astounds before, I lost my identity to a pebble; The minnows love me, and the humped and spitting creatures.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Is there a wisdom in objects? Few objects praise the Lord.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
All finite things reveal infinitude: The mountain with its singular bright shade Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow, The after-light upon ice-burdened pines; Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope, A scent beloved of bees; Silence of water above a sunken tree: The pure serene of memory in one man, – A ripple widening from a single stone Winding around the waters of the world.
”
”
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)