Theodore Roethke

(1908 - 1963 / Michigan / United States)

Elegy For Jane - Poem by Theodore Roethke

(My student, thrown by a horse)

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once started into talk, the light syllables leaped for her.
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,
A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her;
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing,
And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.
My sparrow, you are not here,
Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me,
Nor the moss, wound with the last light.

If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:
I, with no rights in this matter,
Neither father nor lover.

Comments about Elegy For Jane by Theodore Roethke

  • Scharlie Meeuws (10/8/2017 10:52:00 AM)

    Sadly, just read about this poet, that he already died in the sixties.....and no wonder he was loved and read by so many... (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Scharlie Meeuws (10/8/2017 10:41:00 AM)

    Your poem is touching all my heartstrings. It has beautiful images that convey deep feelings. Thank you so much for sharing...
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (7/11/2017 3:37:00 AM)

    If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
    My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
    Over this damp grave.... //.... It is so emotional. To recall the images of a small daughter who is no more. RIP, Jane.
    (Report) Reply

  • M Sagnik Das (5/24/2017 9:56:00 AM)

    this is so good. peace///////// (Report) Reply

  • Melissa Patty (6/1/2016 3:49:00 PM)

    heartfelt piece of writing! (Report) Reply

  • Thabani Khumalo (6/16/2015 9:09:00 AM)

    I have a vision to write like this, only if god would bless me enough to.ab (Report) Reply

  • Claudia Krizay (4/25/2011 10:54:00 PM)

    i first read this poem in high school- Very heartfelt- a great write! (Report) Reply

  • (3/21/2007 12:20:00 PM)

    True dat represent T-dog! (Report) Reply

  • (2/28/2007 10:45:00 PM)

    Elegy for Jane is one of the most captivating and heartfelt poems I have ever read. Theodore Roethke's talent is unparalleled. (Report) Reply

  • (4/26/2005 4:49:00 AM)

    Such a graceful tribute in its discreet emotion. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: father, horse, sad, remember, rose, elegy, happy, smile, song, light, water, sleep, wind, kiss

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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