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my lively writher unwithered

Mexicanicepick and I are having a current thing about Theodore Roethke, who died at 55 in 1963 of a heart attack in his swimming pool. He taught poetry there at UW / Seattle, also up here at Bennington at one time; won a Pulitzer and two National Book Awards [one in 1965, two years after his funeral]. These are from that last 1965 book, "The Far Field":


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.


...the close air faintly stirred.
light deepened to a bell,
the love-beat of a bird.
she kept her body still
and watched the weather flow.
we live by what we do.

all's known, all around:
the shape of things to be;
a green thing loves the green
and loves the living ground.
the deep shade gathers night;
she changed with changing light.

we met to leave again
the time we broke from time;
a cold air brought its rain
the singing of a stem.
she sang a final song;
light listened when she sang.


a young mouth laughs at a gift.
she croons like a cat to its claws:
cries: I'm old enough to live
and delight in a lover's praise,
yet keep to myself my own mind:
I dance to the right, to the left,
my luck raises the wind.

write all my whispers down,
she cries to her true love:
I believe, I believe in the moon!
what weather of heaven is this?

the storm, the storm of a kiss.


"Her Words", "Light Listened", and "To a Young Wife", (c) Theodore Roethke 1958 thru 1964

To a Young Wife has been praised as the best short poem in contemporary American Lit.


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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