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Theodore Roethke (1908 – 1963)

American poet who published several volumes of poetry characterized by their rhythm and natural imagery.
Theodore Roethke
A terrible violence of creation,
A flash into the burning heart of the abominable;
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.
Roethke quotes
There's an element of desperation in the insistence of the graduate student's respect for knowledge as opposed to wisdom.
Who stunned the dirt into noise?
Ask the mole, he knows.
I feel the slime of a wet nest.
Beware Mother Mildew.
Nibble again, fish nerves.

Roethke Theodore quotes
The salt said, look by the sea,
Your tears are not enough praise,
You will find no comfort here,
In the kingdom of bang and blab.
Roethke Theodore
The night wind rises. Does my father live?
Dark hangs upon the waters of the soul.
My flesh is breathing slower than a wall.
Love alters all. Unblood my instinct, love.
Theodore Roethke quotes
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
I have gone into the waste lonely places
Behind the eye.
Roethke Theodore quotes
In our age, if a boy or girl is untalented, the odds are in favor of their thinking they want to write.
At Woodlawn I Heard the dead cry:
I was lulled by the slamming of iron,
A slow drip over stones,
Toads brooding wells.
Roethke Theodore
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.
Theodore Roethke
I take this cadence from a man named Yeats:
I take it and I give it back again:
For other tunes and other wanton beats
Have tossed my heart and fiddled through my brain.
Yes, I was dancing mad, and how
That came to be the bears and Yeats would know.

Theodore Roethke quotes
To whom does this terrace belong?
With its limestone crumbling into fine greyish dust,
Its bevy of bees, and its wind-beaten rickety sun-chairs?
Not to me, but this lizard,
Older than I, or the cockroach.
Theodore Roethke
Over the gulfs of dream
Flew a tremendous bird
Further and further away
Into a moonless black,
Deep in the brain, far back.
Roethke quotes
I shook the softening chalk of my bones,
Snail, snail, glister me forward,
Bird, soft-sigh me home,
Worm, be with me.
This is my hard time.
Roethke Theodore
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!
Roethke Theodore quotes
Death was not. I lived in a simple drowse:
Hands and hair moved through a dream of wakening blossoms.
Rain sweetened the cave and the dove still called;
The flowers leaned on themselves, the flowers in hollows;
And love, love sang toward.
Theodore Roethke
The poem, even a short time after being written, seems no miracle; unwritten, it seems something beyond the capacity of the gods.
Theodore Roethke quotes
Goodbye, goodbye, old stones, the time-order is going,
I have married my hands to perpetual agitation,
I run, I run to the whistle of money.
Theodore Roethke
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
Roethke Theodore
Let others probe the mystery if they can.
Time-harried prisoners of Shall and Will
The right thing happens to the happy man.

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