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"Elegy for Jane" Theodore Roethke

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by

Anne Ehlers

on 6 October 2011

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Transcript of "Elegy for Jane" Theodore Roethke

I remember the neckcurls
limp and damp as tendrils
and her quick look,
a sidelong pickeral smile;
And how, once startled into talk,
the light syllables leaped for her.
And she balanced in the delight of her thought.
A wren, happy,
tail into the wind
Her song trembling the twigs
and small branches.
The shade sang with her
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing.
And the mould sang
in the bleached valleys
under the rose
Oh, when she was sad,
she cast herself down
into such a pure depth
Even a father could not find her.
Scraping her cheek against straw;
Stirring the clearest water.
My sparrow,
you are not here,
Waiting like a fern,
making a spiney shadow.
The sides of damp rocks
cannot console me,
Nor the moss,
wound with the last light.
If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling,
my skittery pigeon
Over this damp grave
I speak the words of love;
I with no rights in this matter,
Neither father
nor lover
Full transcript