Dark Times


Theodore Roethke:
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;   I hear my echo in the echoing wood—A lord of nature weeping to a tree.I live between the heron and the wren,   Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.What’s madness but nobility of soulAt odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!   I know the purity of pure despair,My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.   That place among the rocks—is it a cave,   Or winding path? The edge is what I have.A steady storm of correspondences!A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,   And in broad day the midnight come again!   A man goes far to find out what he is—Death of the self in a long, tearless night,   All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.   My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,   Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.   The mind enters itself, and God the mind,   And one is One, free in the tearing wind.


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