Theodore Roethke – In a dark time

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 soul
At odds with circumstances? 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 still. 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
(In a Dark Time)

Theodore Roethke (1908–1963)

Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1961)

From Poetry Foundation website
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