The Waking: A Poetic Interlude (Just For You) …

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.

— Theodore Roethke, 1953. (1,2)

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2 Replies to “The Waking: A Poetic Interlude (Just For You) …”

  1. Can one take life seriously while one is conscious of waking to sleep?
    Being conscious of that is what helps me take some meaning out of things and just be.
    And, ultimately, turn into a cynic. or maybe it’s the hormones.

  2. Calli,

    I want to be responsive, but not explicative (take the poem as you must or as you please).

    So let me just say that consciousness (logic, reason, meaning, etc.) is just one of the ways we experience the world. For me, the poem is paradoxical in both form and content and such paradoxes will delight the more mystical both among and within us …

    And in that same spirit, I, now, by saying too little, have said too much … 🙂

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