Theodore Roethke Poems
- My Papa's Waltz The whiskey on your breath Could make a ...
- I Knew A Woman I knew a woman, lovely in her bones, When ...
- Elegy For Jane (My student, thrown by a horse) I ...
- In A Dark Time In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I ...
- Child On Top Of A Greenhouse The wind billowing out the seat ...
- Dolor I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils, Neat ...
- Night Journey Now as the train bears west, Its rhythm rocks ...
Theodore Huebner Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of Otto Roethke and Helen Huebner, who, along with an uncle owned a local greenhouse. As a child, he spent much time in the greenhouse observing nature. Roethke grew up in Saginaw, attending Aurthur Hill High School, where he gave a speech on the Junior Red Cross that was published in twenty six different languages. In 1923 his father died of cancer, an event that would forever shape his creative and artistic outlooks. From 1925 to 1929 Roethke attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating magna cum laude. Despite his family’s wish that he pursue a legal career, he quit law school after one semester. From there ... more »
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My Papa's Waltz
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.