Theodore Roethke

(1908 - 1963 / Michigan / United States)

Dolor - Poem by Theodore Roethke

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplicaton of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.


Comments about Dolor by Theodore Roethke

  • Dino Marchiori (1/31/2016 2:11:00 PM)

    My favourite as a high school student. Hard to believe it was in an approved text available for study and my wandering eyes. It was the necessary catalyst to my love of poetry and the written word. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: lonely, hair



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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