Archive for Theodore Roethke
Sometimes when I get in my head too much (which is often!) I have trouble working. I get disconnected from my materials and the physical world. When this happens, I like to read the poet Theodore Roethke. His poems are so grounded in the beauty and processes of the natural word. Everything about them is connecting from their imagery to their rhythmic pulse. One of my favorite Roethke poems is the root cellar. Try reading it out loud.
The Root Cellar
Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.
I believe this is a depiction of a womb, the hidden process of creation. The manure & etc. are the blocks we must transform into fertile ground to produce healthy work. I just adore this poem.