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The Waking -- Theodore Roethke

Guest poem submitted by Monica Bathija:
(Poem #912) 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
What attracted me to this poem first was the first line - "I wake to sleep
and take my waking slow". It seemed perfect for a dreamy lazy not-morning
person :). And of course "I learn by going where I have to go". Now every
time I read this poem I find it has something new to tell me through each
and every line. Besides the whole musicality of it.


[Minstrels Links]

Named Poetic Forms:
Poem #904, The Shrinking Lonesome Sestina -- Miller Williams
Poem #905, I will put Chaos into fourteen lines -- Edna St. Vincent Millay
Poem #906, To a Fat Lady Seen From the Train -- Frances Cornford
Poem #907, Miss Charlotte Brown, Librarian, Goes Mad -- Felix Jung
Poem #908, Haiku -- Yosa Buson
Poem #909, The Limerick Packs Laughs Anatomical -- Anon.

Poem #38, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night  -- Dylan Thomas
Poem #202, Missing Dates  -- William Empson
Poem #393, One Drunken Night  -- Peter Schaeffer
Poem #677, Time will say nothing but I told you so  -- W. H. Auden
Poem #706, It is the pain, it is the pain endures  -- William Empson

Theodore Roethke:
Poem #267, The Meadow Mouse

29 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Kathy Butler said...

"The Waking": I read it for the first time in the early 1960's, and it has guided and comforted me ever since. It is mystical and practical. It is true. When all explanations and philosophies fail, I know that "I learn by going where I have to go". Thank you, Theodore Roeke. I missed meeting you by one year.

Anonymous said...

I am reading this poem and doing an analasis over it. it is very interesting, although its somewhat hard for 8th grade. once you can see the real meaning, its great.

viagra said...

Theodore Roethke wrote of his poetry: The greenhouse "is my symbol for the whole of life, a womb, a heaven-on-earth." Roethke drew inspiration from his childhood experiences of working in his family's Saginaw floral company. Beginning is 1941 with Open House, the distinguished poet and teacher published extensively, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for poetry and two National Book Awards among an array of honors, I know these things because I had to study somethings about it in the high school!22dd

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