"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.
Bourguignomicon: Birth as harrowing, Saxon rooting. Roethke deeply sympathizes with a sprout, like Jesus or Orpheus, striving to push through to the surface.
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MY PAPA’S WALTZ
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The poet places himself into the text with commentary upon his habit for noticing things like orchids and cuttings as well as beetles and newts in which he sees the ineffability of existence among the smallest and least significant of God’s creatures.
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The usually forgotten and overlooked title compartment comes alive almost through personification as the poet reminds the reader of how essential to life are those things so often overlooked that provide the sustenance necessary for living.
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THE LOST SON
One of the Roethke’s longest efforts and generally considered among his best if not consider his outright masterpiece. This epic meditation on existence is divided into five sections and introduces tragedy into way one makes it from childhood to death on the way to constructing meaning out of their life
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