In purest song one plays the constant fool
As changes shimmer in the inner eye.
I stare and stare into a deepening pool
And tell myself my image cannot die.
I love myself: that’s my one constancy.
Oh, to be something else, yet still to be!
Sweet Christ, rejoice in my infirmity;
There’s little left I care to call my own.
Today they drained the fluid from a knee
And pumped a shoulder full of cortisone;
Thus I conform to my divinity
By dying inward, like an aging tree.
The instant ages on the living eye;
Light on its rounds, a pure extreme of light
Breaks on me as my meager flesh breaks down—
The soul delights in that extremity.
Blessed the meek; they shall inherit wrath;
I’m son and father of my only death.
A mind too active is no mind at all;
The deep eye sees the shimmer on the stone;
The eternal seeks, and finds, the temporal,
The change from dark to light of the slow moon,
Dead to myself, and all I hold most dear,
I move beyond the reach of wind and fire.
Deep in the greens of summer sing the lives
I’ve come to love. A vireo whets its bill.
The great day balances upon the leaves;
My ears still hear the bird when all is still;
My soul is still my soul, and still the Son,
And knowing this, I am not yet undone.
Things without hands take hands: there is no choice,—
Eternity’s not easily come by.
When opposites come suddenly in place,
I teach my eyes to hear, my ears to see
How body from spirit slowly does unwind
Until we are pure spirit at the end.
Theodore Roethke's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Infirmity by Theodore Roethke )
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
William Ernest Henley
Did you read them?
- Flowes Do Eventually Wilt, Hazel Durham
- No se amor, Sergio Jaime
- Haiku: Colored Perceptions, Brian Johnston
- Poppy and Moppy, Brian P FitzGerald
- 'Nightmare of 'Annabel Lee', Shania K. Younce
- I heard him, Nassy Fesharaki
- WAIL ON, WOLE, Onwuasoanya FCC Jones
- Allegory 1, Tori Bachue
- An Interesting Breed They Are, Monk E. Biz
- Revolution Brings Salvation, Ruma Chaudhuri