Friday, July 23, 2010

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

A blogger called cfk does a Bookflurries: Bookchat thread over at Kos on Wednesdays. Part of the thread is discussing authors with names starting with a particular letter or letters. This past Wednesday it was R, and in suggesting a few authors that hadn't been included yet, I was reminded of poet Theodore Roethke. I wondered if anyone read him anymore. It turns out that cfk lives near where Roethke did, and took the above photo of his house.

Roethke was a 20th century American poet who died in 1963, though his last book was published in 1964. I recall sitting in my college library freshman year, reading some of the poems from that book in a poetry magazine. A couple of them impressed me, and one in particular grabbed me and moved me. Even if my poetry profs would scoff at it as sentimental.

And the first line of "Wish for a Young Wife" embarrassed me because it's so obviously sexual, and I was so very young and callow. But the rest of the poem spoke to me, mirrored my own feelings, and reading it again (its rhythms still alive in my memory), it still does. So here it is, and I dedicate it to all the loves of my life, including those lovely young women--known and unknown-- of college days, and a little beyond...


My lizard, my lively writher,
May your limbs never wither,
May the eyes in your face
Survive the green ice
Of envy's mean gaze;
May you live out your life
Without hate, without grief,
And your hair ever blaze,
In the sun, in the sun,
When I am undone,
When I am no one.
---Theodore Roethke

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