Journey Into The Interior

In the long journey out of the self,
There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.
Better to hug close, wary of rubble and falling stones.
The arroyo cracking the road, the wind-bitten buttes, the canyons,
Creeks swollen in midsummer from the flash-flood roaring into the narrow valley.
Reeds beaten flat by wind and rain,
Grey from the long winter, burnt at the base in late summer.
-- Or the path narrowing,
Winding upward toward the stream with its sharp stones,
The upland of alder and birchtrees,
Through the swamp alive with quicksand,
The way blocked at last by a fallen fir-tree,
The thickets darkening,
The ravines ugly.

by Theodore Roethke

Comments (11)

Very nice poem. Enjoyed very much. Thanks for sharing.
Frankly speaking, I did not understand the poem fully until I read some of the enlightening comments, particularly those of Lantz Pierre and Robert Murray Smith. Thanks to both.
Nice write here... I enjoyed reading it
Powerful poem! Theodore Roethke is one of my favorites. I especially love The Waking...
The poet leads us on a journey out of self. This means in our self-actualisation there are interiorities we recognise and those we cannot. The mind has no hope of pinpointing self for it is a moveable feast resting on the physical nature of the brain/ mind. The poet leads us through many metaphorical settings that seems to recognise this.
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