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March 23, 2009

Roethke: In A Dark Time

From what I took from this poem, Roethke is writing about the uncertainty of ones own life and the depression or angst that goes hand in hand with contemplating too deeply into the reason for ones existence. What I liked about this poem though is the fact that Roethke doesn't just write a sad or dark or utterly hopeless poem, by the third stanza one feels that there is hope amid all of the unanswerable questions in life. Surrendering to these questions is how to overcome or prevent them from disrupting the beautiful fact that we can even ask them.
"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."(Roethke)

Other reactions to Roethke...

Posted by QuinnKerno at March 23, 2009 1:45 PM


Quinn, after reading you blog it gave me more to think of. After reading this poem I really did not see some of your points, but in re-reading it I can see what you are saying. The fact that he does show hope by the fact that in the verse, “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.” Roethke shows me that even though many of these poets had depressions, they can climb out of it and be free. They either succumb to it, or make a conscientious effort to pull out of it. They are only human, and they are permitted to have bouts of depression and sadness, but why do they have to feel that they must stay in that place? It is thought that only depressing poets produce good poems, the great works come from all facets of different mental states. The dilemma is though not to go too deep into that state that you can not find your way back.

Posted by: Georgia Speer at March 25, 2009 8:48 PM

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