Sep 5, 2010

Back Roads, Campus, Waking, Roethke




















The weekend’s not over yet. You can still hit the two-lanes for a few hours, or take a new back road home from Shangri-La.

Hit some small towns, wander by some farms. How much can you generalize about them? Or roam around a college campus, which can feel something like a gathering of cathedrals if you plan well—or just get lucky. What is life like for those kids and profs? If the devil's in the details, how much can you, should you generalize?

If this weekend is a flop, remember, a couple of autumn months have just begun, and they won’t last long. So hit the road and remember your Roethke:

I wake to sleep and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.


The Waking by Theodore Roethke : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.


9 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

Beautiful poem. I'm so bad with remembering names; I thought I didn't know this poet at all until I clicked on the link and there was another poem I recognized.

Paula said...

I can't get beyond your photographs, they're so lovely. I hope you had a great weekend.

BANJO52 said...

Jean, Roethke has a few that end up in anthologies. Maybe the most likely are "My Papa's Waltz" and "I Knew a Woman." I think I've also posted links to both, will try to remember to check later.

I always hear "The Waking" as a chant or prayer. Vonnegut quotes it in Slaughterhouse-Five, by the way--wonder if he and Roethke were buds.

Paula, coming from you, that's a real compliment. Thank you. I didn't mean to repeat the yellow flower--Blogspot was fighting me, and I think I just got worn down.

BANJO52 said...

That's a yellow coneflower, isn't it? I learned that on a blog. Let's hear it for the blogosphere (even tho' it can be ornery).

altadenahiker said...

Love the old church; looks like something you'd find in Norway.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I guess you could say that by the time I got to commenting, the weekend was over. And I don't think I visited anyplace as spectacular as these wooded areas your hanging out at. The fall colors on the broad leaf. So pretty. That campus reminds me of a visit I took to the campus of St Louis Missouri. all classy and such. I myself went to state schools or as I affectionately refer to them; freeway off-ramp colleges. Prisons are better looking.

That poet link is really fantastic. I got a little lost rambling about. I felt more of an affinity to Roethke's poem My Papa's Waltz. Not that my papa liked to waltz

BANJO52 said...

AH, never been to Norway, but I would't disagree. I think too of Holland. It's actually north-central Ohio.

PA, maybe I'll have to do a post on college campuses to demonstrate that you don't want me to "go there." I'm a little addicted. I really do see the KIND of thing there that others see in cathedrals. But yes, the variety in styles and appeal is huge. I have to go on mention some state schools that I've found gorgeous: Indiana U, Penn State, Va. Tech. And some small, private schools that should be . . . precious? . . . just aren't.

In my experience, "My Papa's Waltz" touches a nerve in all age groups and backgrounds. Roethke must hit on something quintessentially FATHERLY. Somebody nag me to re-post Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sunday's." I might like it even better.

Barbaro said...

That's the best villanelle, and one of the best poems period, ever written (and yes, I am counting Elizabeth Bishop).

With your love of college campuses, what do you think of the increasingly strident claims that they'll go extinct in favor of online learning?

BANJO52 said...

Barbaro, that's a great question, and I don't know the answer. My post today, Thur., Sept. 9, is the beginning of an answer. Maybe you're inviting or prodding me to go further.

I will say that, for socioeconomic reasons, I don't dispute online education as a whole--or low residency M.F.A.s, for that matter. In some way, to some extent, you can get some version and amount of Keats or Richard Wilbur online.

But I doubt that students, parents, or whoever's involved can imagine what they're missing in a four-year, residential college experience, if indeed they are opting out of it.

If I knew you loved the Roethke that way, I forgot it. I certainly agree.

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