Theodore Roethke

(1908 - 1963 / Michigan / United States)

In A Dark Time - Poem by Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or a winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

Comments about In A Dark Time by Theodore Roethke

  • (6/3/2018 10:04:00 PM)

    Thank you 🙏🏽 for the prefect peom (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (3/23/2018 3:00:00 PM)

    A beautiful, moving poem. Love it [3 (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (1/10/2018 5:52:00 AM)

    Nice poem, I liked the words. Buzz buzz (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Adams King (8/17/2017 1:10:00 PM)

    nice poem, brilliant wit display a better picture of pure poetry (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • P. Mason (1/27/2017 2:41:00 PM)

    I've read this over serval times...I enjoy surveying other folks darkness, I suppose because so much of my own work dwells in dark places too. With each reading I pick up one or two additional nuances to where Roethkes darkness lies...I'd like to ask if I am correct in my thinking here. But, alas, can not because Ted is dead.

    So it goes...

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (2/11/2016 5:42:00 PM)

    .........excellent lines ★
    A man goes far to find out what he is-
    Death of the self in a long, tearless night,

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Dawn Fuzan (5/11/2014 8:08:00 AM)

    Well written theo (Report)Reply

    14 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (5/10/2009 11:06:00 PM)

    IN A DARK TIME is a great poem of mood and tone, of a man's encounter with 'self' or 'Self', a searching for his truer, deepest identity. 'Which I is I? ' the speaker asks. Anyone who ever experienced an 'identity crisis' may identify with this poem. Richard Lee Van Der Voort, M.A. (Report)Reply

    18 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: dark, despair, summer, nature, tree, moon, light, fire, fear, wind, night, death, time, god

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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