Theodore Roethke





Prayer Before Study

Constricted by my tortured thought, 
I am too centred on this spot.

So caged and cadged, so close within
A coat of unessential skin,

I would put off myself and flee
My inaccessibility.

A fool can play at being solemn
Revolving on his spinal column.

Deliver me, O Lord, from all
Activity centripetal.


spoken = Heather C. Liston