Theodore Roethke


There is a noise within the brow 
That pulses undiminished now
In accents measured by the blood. 
It breaks upon my solitude—
A hammer on the crystal walls
Of sense at rapid intervals.
It is the unmelodic ring
Before the breaking of a string,
The wheels of circumstance that grind 
So terribly within the mind,
The spirit crying in a cage
To build a complement to rage, 
Confusion’s core set deep within 
A furious, dissembling din.

If I should ever seek relief
From that monotony of grief,
The tight nerves leading to the throat 
Would not release one riven note: 
What shakes my skull to disrepair 
Shall never touch another ear.

spoken = Heather C. Liston