Theodore Roethke





The Other

What is she, while I live? --
Who plagues me with her shape
Lifting a nether Lip
Lightly: so buds unleave;
But if I move too close
Who busks me on the Nose?

Is she what I become?
Is this my final Face?
I find her every place;
She happens, time on time -
My Nose feels for my Toe;
Nature's too much to know.

Who can surprise a thing
Or come to love alone?
A lazy natural man,
I loll, I loll, all Tongue.
She moves, and I adore:
Motion can do no more.

A child stares past a fire
With the same absent gaze:
I know her careless ways! -
Desire hides from desire.
Aging, I sometimes weep,
Yet still laugh in my sleep.