I’d like to say that I didn’t post a poem yesterday because I was celebrating Earth Day by not using electricity, but that’s a lie. In fact, I cranked up (down?) the A/C to 67 and watched tv while playing video games on my computer. Sorry, Earth. To make amends, I am (wasting more resources by) posting two poems today. I hope you enjoy them.

I love “The Waking” because 1. it’s hard for me to get up in the morning, and 2. it makes me feel reverent. Of course the poem is not really about waking up after a night of sleep (maybe), but that’s still why I like it.

“He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” holds a tender spot in my heart. My very first semester of college– well, just before that, really, during a pre-session thing– I had a professor who shared this poem with us, his all-female class. He was older (maybe mid-50s, early 60s) and clearly of a sensitive, Romantic turn of mind (I think his specialty was Victorian Lit, but anyway). He was obviously very much in love with his wife. Or at least with his idea of his wife. He shared this poem with us and said, “When I met _____, I knew that she was the one for me because she seemed like a soft treader.” Of course we all melted at that. He suggested that we also look for “soft treaders” as we chose life-partners. We melted at that, too. Anyway. I don’t know if I actually enjoy the entire poem, but that final line still turns me to goo. And, in case you were wondering, my Darling absolutely is a soft treader. Happy poem reading.

The Waking
by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to  know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air;
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…


One thought on “Twofer

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