Theodore Roethke – “Weed Puller”
For those of you out there who know me personally, it’s no secret that one of my favorite poets is Theodore Roethke. He was one of the first poets I was introduced to outside of the usual Shakespeare/High School English poets. Thus, the collected poems of Roethke was the first book of poetry I ever purchased. I couldn’t recommend this collection of poems more highly.
Anyway, the poem I’m sharing here really encapsulates the style and strength of image that I always find when reading through his work. I also happened to spend a few hours the other day out weeding the garden, so I had it on my mind. I hope you all enjoy.
Under the concrete benches,
Hacking at black hairy roots,-
Those lewd monkey-tails hanging from drainholes,-
Digging into the soft rubble underneath,
Webs and weeds,
Grubs and snails and sharp sticks,
Or yanking tough fern-shapes,
Coiled green and thick, like dripping smilax,
Tugging all day at perverse life:
The indignity of it!-
With everything blooming above me,
Lilies, pale-pink cyclamen, roses,
Whole fields lovely and inviolate,-
Me down in that fetor of weeds,
Crawling on all fours,
Alive, in a slippery grave.
– Theodore Roethke
- On Poetry & Sleep: “After dying” by Sam Magill (centerforhealthmediapolicy.com)
- Short ‘n Simple Sundays: “There was nothing I could do about it” (beabovethefold.wordpress.com)
- Your Creative Intentions: Monday Post ~ August 13, 2012 (studiomothers.com)
- “Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.” ~ Theodore Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke (poietes.wordpress.com)