Monday, October 25, 2010

Sitting with Theodore Roethke 2 by Fred Wolven

Standing transfixed by the twisting, turning, twirling
carousel of dancing and prancing horses,
unable to lift even one foot, one leg, I yearn for those river
evenings when dangling earthworms from Grandpa’s bamboo poles.

Meandering down halls lined with assorted watercolors,
chalked wildflower-filled fields, and pencil-etched portraits,
I step off on an angle toward glassed exit doors
humming notes of a childhood nursery ditty.

Ah, moonlight coming in the window is filtered by leaves,
softened by light breezes whispering around the house from the east,
and spreading out over the far wall providing a faint illumination.
Perhaps, as elders believe, the life of a tree is the life of me.

When you speak of hiking up the mountain slope to the lodge,
I can’t help but wonder about the wildflowers, the wild berries;
darting, chirping birds, and small four-pawed creatures underfoot
all surviving in harmony, somehow, with the poet, with us.

Again and again, the more I read, the greater my understanding,
as I stretch for Roethke’s edges, I reach for the very spirit of my self.
I am beginning to sense the impact in my veins, in my being.
Yet, no doubt, Roethke’s search remains ragged in his death.

Author bio:

Fred Wolven edits Ann Arbor Review, a poetry ezine. He is also the author of The Cat Outside His Door: Poems After Roethke. Wolven is a retired professor and life-long student of the late Theodore Roethke. He is always trying to keep a sense of humor.

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