Friday, July 25, 2008

Poetry Friday

Roundup is at A Year of Reading.

On returning from a six-week absence to my garden, I was greeted with the wild jungles of Borneo (my husband being completely useless anywhere past the back steps). So I have spent many a happy hour amongst the weeds - most of them taller and more stubborn than I -hacking away. I am fascinated by all the little creatures that live in my yard and will quite happily waste half an hour or so just watching one doing its thing. I try not to kill them unless they are eating something to death.

I don't think that I have ever consciously read any Roethke. Something about the name made me feel I wouldn't understand him. However, this poem is alive and squirming. Every word is a picture. I am a Roethke fan from now on.
Elvers are young transparent eels in post larval stage -FYI

The Minimal
by Theodore Roethke

I study the lives on a leaf: the little
Sleepers, numb nudgers in cold dimensions,
Beetles in caves, newts, stone-deaf fishes,
Lice tethered to long limp subterranean weeds,
Squirmers in bogs,
And bacterial creepers
Wriggling through wounds
Like elvers in ponds,
Their wan mouths kissing the warm sutures,
Cleaning and caressing,
Creeping and healing.

5 comments:

Cloudscome said...

This one kind of creeps me out. Not that those creatures aren't fascinating, in a squirmy way. It does pull you in.

jama said...

I studied and loved Roethke in college. Like his microscopic eye in this poem. Thanks for sharing it!

eisha said...

I love me some Roethke, but I hadn't seen this one before. Something about that last couplet really moves me.

Sara said...

There's something about bugs that compels us to watch, even if we don't want them too near us. I've never exactly heard of their doings as "kissing" though, so Roetke's blowing my mind a bit here.

Mary Lee said...

My garden is also more like a jungle right now. I'll make sure I take time to watch the critters I find as I yank weeds!