The Friday Poem ‘Night Journey’ by Theodore Roethke

We will catch our breath if only we can make it to the holiday weekend. Rushing from work to catch the train, bus or plane we are singularly focused on our destination.

The Friday Poem this week comes from poet Theodore Roethke. ‘Night Journey’ from his ‘Collected Poems’ is a reminder to look out the window and take in the view.

“I stay up half the night. To see the land I love.”

“Poet and writer James Dickey once named Roethke the greatest of all American poets: “I don’t see anyone else that has the kind of deep, gut vitality that Roethke’s got. Whitman was a great poet, but he’s no competition for Roethke.”

The publication of Collected Poems in 1966 brought renewed interest in Roethke and prompted illuminating overviews of his work.”

Night Journey

Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night.
To see the land I love.

Theodore Roethke from ‘Theodore Roethke: Selected Poems’

411izrm4ull

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s