I haven’t read Roethke for a while, but I cherish my old 1975 Collected Poems, and thanks to wood s lot I’ve just found a delightful essay by Scott Ruescher about that very edition (with pictures!). He quotes a number of excellent poems; I’ll put up one he doesn’t, the first in the collection:

Open House

My secrets cry aloud.
I have no need for tongue.
My heart keeps open house,
My doors are widely swung.
An epic of the eyes
My love, with no disguise.

My truths are all foreknown,
This anguish self-revealed.
I’m naked to the bone,
With nakedness my shield.
Myself is what I wear:
I keep the spirit spare.

The anger will endure,
The deed will speak the truth
In language strict and pure.
I stop the lying mouth:
Rage warps my clearest cry
To witness agony.

You can read more Roethke (indeed, much more Roethke) in the commemorative issue of Kingfisher.

Kingfisher, incidentally, has an associated blog, Life at the Lake, which is currently in the throes of a Picasso obsession after an excursion into jazz (And Miles to Go Before I Sleep). Nice pictures, nice writing. Recommended.


  1. ((desperate for street cred points out she linked to that essay on her blog January 19th or so and her MT archives tell her so, but she actually can’t find it on her blog))

  2. Google can’t find it either. Strange. But your street cred is intact.

  3. this poem is all right

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