Theodore Roethke

(1908 - 1963 / Michigan / United States)

Quotations

  • ''The self persists like a dying star,
    In sleep, afraid.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Meditation at Oyster River (l. 24-25). . . Modern American Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (8th rev. ed., 1962) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
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  • ''The whisky on your breath
    Could make a small boy dizzy;
    But I hung on like death;
    Such waltzing was not easy.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. My Papa's Waltz (l. 1-4). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''When I saw that clumsy crow
    Flap from a wasted tree,
    A shape in the mind rose up:''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Night Crow (l. 1-3). . . Oxford Book of Short Poems, The. P. J. Kavanagh and James Michie, eds. Oxford University Press.
  • ''Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
    The pistons jerk and shove,
    I stay up half the night
    To see the land I love.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Night Journey (l. 24-27). . . New Yorker Book of Poems, The. (1969) The Viking Press. (Paperback edition of 1974 published by William Morrow & Company).
  • ''Nothing would give up life;
    Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Root Cellar (l. 10-11). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
    Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Root Cellar (l. 1-2). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''But still the delicate slips keep coaxing up water;
    The small cells bulge;

    One nub of growth
    Nudges a sand-crumb loose,''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. "Sticks-in-a-drowse droop over sugary loam," (l. 3-6). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''For something is amiss or out of place
    When mice with wings can wear a human face.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. The Bat (l. 9-10). . . Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America, The. Donald Hall, ed. (1985) Oxford University Press.
  • ''Is that dance slowing in the mind of man
    That made him think the universe could hum?''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. The Dance (l. 1-2). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Love is not love until love's vulnerable.
    She slowed to sigh, in that long interval.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. The Dream (l. 17-18). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.

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The Meadow Mouse

1

In a shoe box stuffed in an old nylon stocking
Sleeps the baby mouse I found in the meadow,
Where he trembled and shook beneath a stick
Till I caught him up by the tail and brought him in,
Cradled in my hand,
A little quaker, the whole body of him trembling,
His absurd whiskers sticking out like a cartoon-mouse,

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