The Student

(After Theodore Roethke, “The Waking”)


I wake to write, and take my writing slow.

Daylight becomes dusk, the verse undone.

Words grow wings and fly—where do they go?

I learn by losses what I need to know.


The proper words for grief—what do I know?

When love passes one by— put that in rhyme?

The Phoenix rises, coolly and aloof;

I see this as an unwelcome sign.


Its leaving leaves me humble. This I know—

what flies away is knowledge, taken air.

Oh, the wealthy tree that it calls home—

once an orphan sapling, thin and bare.


I wake to write, regret that it’s so slow …

I learn by losses where I need to go.





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