Friday, April 17, 2009

Poetry Month: Roethke

April is poetry month (thanks, Melody!) so I thought I would post one of my favorite poems. I might post more later, but this is from the brilliant, under-recognized poet Theodore Roethke. Moss-Gathering (1944) To loosen with all ten fingers held wide and limber And lift up a patch, dark green, the kind for lining cemetery baskets, Thick and cushiony, like an old-fashioned doormat, The crumbling small hollow sticks on the underside mixed with roots, And wintergreen berries and leaves still stuck to the top,- That was moss-gathering. But something always went out of me when I dug those loose carpets Of green, or plunged my elbows in the spongy yellowish moss of the marshes: And afterwards I always felt mean, jogging back over the logging road, As if I had broken the natural order of things in that swampland; Disturbed some rhythm, old and of vast importance, By pulling off flesh from the living planet; As if I had committed, against the whole scheme of life, a desecration.

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