The Waking BY THEODORE ROETHKE


I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?   
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?   
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,   
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?   
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do   
To you and me; so take the lively air,   
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   
What falls away is always. And is near.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

  1. wake
    stop sleeping
    wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
  2. fate
    the ultimate agency regarded as predetermining the course of events (often personified as a woman)
    I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
  3. ground
    the solid part of the earth's surface
    God bless the Ground!
  4. winding
    the act of winding or twisting
    The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; 
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
  5. lively
    full of life and energy
    Great Nature has another thing to do 
    To you and me; so take the lively air, 
    And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
  6. steady
    securely in position; not shaky
    This shaking keeps me steady.
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