“We think by feeling. What is there to know?”

collage illustration

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.


exerpt from Theodore Roethke’s, “The Waking” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1951).

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