Theodore Roethke Theodore Roethke > Quotes


Theodore Roethke quotes (showing 1-30 of 50)

“Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.”
Theodore Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke
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
“What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible.”
Theodore Roethke
“Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.”
Theodore Roethke
“By daily dying, I have come to be.”
Theodore Roethke
“May my silences become more accurate.”
Theodore Roethke
“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
“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
“The darkness has it's own light.”
Theodore Roethke
“Over every mountain, there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”
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.”
Theodore Roethke
“How body from spirit slowly does unwind, until we are pure spirit at the end.”
Theodore Roethke
“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”
Theodore Roethke
“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
“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
“I lose and find myself in the long water. I am gathered together once more. ”
Theodore Roethke
“What's madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?”
Theodore Roethke, The Far Field
“A mind too active is no mind at all.”
Theodore Roethke, Selected Letters of Theodore Roethke
“What falls away is always. And is near.”
Theodore Roethke
“Pain wanders through my bones like a lost fire”
Theodore Roethke
“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
“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
“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
“I long for the imperishable quiet at the heart
of form.”
Theodore Roethke
“I have gone into the waste lonely places”
Theodore Roethke
“Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt keeps breathing a small breath.”
Theodore Roethke
tags: life
“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
“All lovers live by longing, and endure:
Summon a vision and declare it pure.”
Theodore Roethke, Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse
tags: love
“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
“The stones were sharp,
The wind came at my back;
Walking along the highway,
Mincing like a cat.”
Theodore Roethke

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