One of My Favorites

flower bed filled with fallen leavesElegy for Jane (My student, thrown by a horse) by Theodore Roethke I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils; And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile; And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her, And she balanced in the delight of her thought, A wren, happy, tail into the wind, Her song trembling the twigs and small branches. The shade sang with her; The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing, And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose. Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth, Even a father could not find her: Scraping her cheek against straw, Stirring the clearest water. My sparrow, you are not here, Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow. The sides of wet stones cannot console me, Nor the moss, wound with the last light. If only I could nudge you from this sleep, My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon. Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.

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