Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Cuttings" and "Cuttings (Later)" by Theodore Roethke


Sticks-in-a-drowse droop over sugary loam,
Their intricate stem-fur dries;
But still the delicate slips keep coaxing up water;
The small cells bulge;

One nub of growth
Nudges a sand-crumb loose,
Pokes through a musty sheath
Its pale tendrilous horn.


This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?
I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it,
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

Source of the text - Theodore Roethke, The Lost Son and Other Poems.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1948, pp. 11-12.

TJB: Birth as harrowing, Saxon rooting. Roethke deeply sympathizes with a sprout, like Jesus or Orpheus, striving to push through to the surface.

1 comment:

  1. The sexiest nature poem ( I think they work best as one poem) ever!


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