Treasure Island

Theodore Roethke

(1908 - 1963 / Michigan / United States)

The Waking (1953)


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.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003
Edited: Friday, December 02, 2011

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  • Sean Godley (5/11/2007 1:36:00 PM)

    This is without doubt a great villanelle. Shamelessly I have written a parody. Please see my poem 'The Drinking' if you are interested! Sean (Report) Reply

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