Night Journey – Thodore Roethke, 1940

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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, 1940

Theodore Huebner Roethke (/ˈrɛtki/ RET-kee;[1] May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963 ) was an American poet. He is regarded as one of the most accomplished and influential poets of his generation, having won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book The Waking, and the annual National Book Award for Poetry on two occasions: in 1959 for Words for the Wind,[2] and posthumously in 1965 for The Far Field.[3][4] His work was characterized by its introspection, rhythm and natural imagery.

The Super Chief is ready for its evening departure from Chicago’s Dearborn Station.

The Super Chief was one of the named passenger trains and the flagship of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The streamliner claimed to be “The Train of the Stars” because of the various celebrities it carried between Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California.

James Lafayette Dickey (1923 – 1997)

Roethke was praised by former U.S. Poet Laureate and author James Dickey as “in my opinion the greatest poet this country has yet produced.”[5] He was also a respected poetry teacher, and taught at the University of Washington for fifteen years. His students from that period won two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry and two others were nominated for the award. “He was probably the best poetry-writing teacher ever,” said poet Richard Hugo, who studied under Roethke.

Stanley Jasspon Kunitz (1905 -2006)

Two-time US Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz said of Roethke, “The poet of my generation who meant most to me, in his person and in his art, was Theodore Roethke.”[17]

WE&P by EZorrilla.

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