Theodore Roethke

A Field of Light

Came to lakes; came to dead water,
Ponds with moss and leaves floating,
Planks sunk in the sand.

A log turned at the touch of a foot;
A long weed floated upward;
An eye tilted.

      Small winds made
      A chilly noise;
      The softest cove
      Cried for sound.

      Reached for a grape
      And the leaves changed;
      A stone's shape
      Became a clam.

      A fine rain fell
      On fat leaves;
      I was there alone
      In a watery drowse.

Angel within me, I asked,
Did I ever curse the sun?
Speak and abide.

      Under, under the sheaves,
      Under the blackened leaves,
      Behind the green viscid trellis,
      In the deep grass at the edge of field,
      Along the low ground dry only in August, -
      Was it dust I was kissing?
      A sigh came far.
      Alone, I kissed the skin of a stone;
      Marrow-soft, danced in the sand.

The dirt left my hand, visitor.
I could feel the mare's nose.
A path went walking.
The sun glittered on a small rapids.
Some morning thing came, beating its wings.
The great elm filled with birds.

      Listen, love,
      The fat lark sang in the field;
      I touched the ground, the ground warmed by the killdeer,
      The salt laughed and the stones;
      The ferns had their ways, and the pulsing lizards,
      And the new plants, still awkward in their soil,
      The lovely diminutives.
      I could watch! I could watch!
      I saw the separateness of all things!
      My heart lifted up with the great grasses;
      The weeds believed me, and the nesting birds.
      There were clouds making a rout of shapes crossing a windbreak
           of cedars,
      And a bee shaking drops from a rain-soaked honeysuckle.
      The worms were delighted as wrens.
      And I walked, I walked through the light air;
      I moved with the morning.

spoken = David Juda