Theodore Roethke





I Cry, Love! Love!

1)
Went weeping, little bones. But where?
Wasps come when I ask for pigeons.
The sister sands, they slipper soft away.
What else can befall?

     Delight me otherly, white spirit, -
     Some errand, obscure as the wind's circuit,
     A secret to jerk from the lips of a fish,
     Is circularity such a shame?
     A cat goes wider.

What's a thick? Two-by-two's a shape.
This toad could waltz on a drum.
I hear a most lovely huzza:
I'm king of the boops!

2)
Reason? That dreary shed, that hutch for grubby schoolboys!
The hedgewren's song says something else.
I care for a cat's cry and the hugs, live as water.
I've traced these words in sand with a vestigial tail;
Now the gills are beginning to cry.
Such a sweet noise: I can't sleep for it.
Bless me and the maze I'm in!
Hello, thingy spirit.

     Mouse, mouse, come out of the ferns, 
     And small mouths, stay your endless cheeping
     A lapful of apples sleeps in the grass.
     That anguish of concreteness! -
     The sun playing in the loam,
     And the first dust of spring listing over backlots, -
     I proclaim once more a condition of joy.
     Walk into the wind, willie!

In  a sodden place, all raps and knocks approve,
A dry cry comes from my own desert;
The bones are lonely.
Beginnings start without shade,
Thinner than minnows.
The live grass whirls with the sun,
Feet run over the simple stones,
There's time enough.
Behold, in the lout's eye,
Love.

3)
I hear the owls, the soft callers, coming down from the hemlocks.
The bats weave in and out of the willows,
Wing-crooked and sure,
Downward and upward,
Dipping and veering close to the motionless water.

A fish jumps, shaking out flakes of moonlight.
A single wave starts lightly and easily shoreward,
Wrinkling between reeds in shallower water,
Lifting a few twigs and floating leaves,
Then washing up over small stones.

The shine on the face of the lake
Tilts, backward and forward.
The water recedes slowly,
Gently rocking.
Who untied the tree? I remember now.
We met in a nest. Before I lived.
The dark hair sighed.
We never enter
Alone.


spoken = David Juda