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The Waking 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 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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Randall R Bridges November 9, 2020, 11:04 AM

    Thank you for this. May we all learn from where we have to go!

  • Patrick November 9, 2020, 2:31 PM

    Perhaps Roethke was Tom Petty’s older brother from another mother. The difference is that for him, the waking is the hardest part (I denounce myself).

  • Joe Krill November 9, 2020, 5:03 PM

    The older I get the more these words mean to me.

  • Buddha November 10, 2020, 3:51 AM

    Satie one day, and Roethke the next??? You are definitely on a roll. Wonderful stuff, both. I’m expecting a nice Rothko tomorrow, LOL!

  • jd November 10, 2020, 5:58 AM

    Your site is like stumbling on a bag of jewels, Gerard.
    My condolences for the great loss of your brother. You are
    still blessed with the memories AND the ability to remember
    and share them so beautifully.

  • Montefrío November 10, 2020, 9:28 AM

    Whoops! Wrong thread! Sorry!

    For my money Roethke was a great American poet, one I encountered young and have never forgotten. He ranks with Wallace Stevens for me.