Theodore Roethke


Corruption reaps the young; you dread
The menace of ancestral eyes;
Recoiling from the serpent head
Of fate, you blubber in surprise.

Exhausted fathers thinned the blood,
You curse the legacy of pain;
Darling of an infected brood,
You feel disaster climb the vein.

There's canker at the root, your seed
Denies the blessing of the sun,
The light essential to your need.
Your hopes are murdered and undone.

The dead leap at the throat, destroy
The meaning of the day; dark forms
Have scaled your walls, and spies betray
Old secrets to amorphous swarms.

You meditate upon the nerves,
Inflame with hate. This ancient feud
Is seldom won. The spirit starves
Until the dead have been subdued.

spoken = David Juda