Theodore Roethke





Orders for the Day

Hand's hard and veined, all over,
Perform your duties well,
For carelessness can smother
Decision's smoking fuse;
The flesh-bound sighing lover,
His clumsy fingers bruise
The spirit's tender cover.

Feet, bear the thin bones over
The stile of innocence,
Skirt hatred's raging river,
The dangerous flooded plain
Where snake and vulture hover,
And, stalking like a crane,
Cross marshland into clover.

Eye's staring past another
Whose bogey-haunted look
Reveals a foolish mother,
Those barriers circumvent 
And charity discover
Among the virulent.
Breath, turn the old blood over.


spoken = David Juda