Stolen moments have

              left me unable to breathe.

                              Our bodies entwined.


The only witness

                are painted yet barren walls.

                                Static; unaware.


Stolen moments have

                left me wanting more of you.

                                Don’t ever let go.


Epidermal Macabre

Indelicate is he who loathes
The aspect of his fleshy clothes, —
The flying fabric stitched on bone,
The vesture of the skeleton,
The garment neither fur nor hair,
The cloak of evil and despair,
The veil long violated by
Caresses of the hand and eye.
Yet such is my unseemliness:
I hate my epidermal dress,
The savage blood’s obscenity,
The rags of my anatomy,
And willingly would I dispense
With false accouterments of sense,
To sleep immodestly, a most
Incarnadine and carnal ghost.

-Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

epidermal macabre

A lot of people seem to think that all poets are depressed, mentally disturbed, suicidal blokes with a degree in Literature. Sure that’s almost true; but like most of us, these guys are merely looking for an avenue in order to explore life’s facets that cannot be explained.

Poetry is a way of expressing one’s self and understand the different aspects of life – its depth, what cannot be comprehended by the human mind alone. Somehow, it serves as a therapeutic outlet – because no matter what we do, we are surrounded by unexplainable things; driving us to an unwilling naivety.

I believe this was the case of Theodore Roethke – hailed the greatest American poet, who during his lifetime has questioned life, the spirit world, and what consists in between. Sure he did go mad, but his poetry somehow became an explanation not only to him, but to those who are inquisitive enough to explore such complex themes.

Whether the spirit world is indeed in existent or not, Roethke has expressed his curiosity in many of his poems – one of which is the Epidermal Macabre. To experience what lies beyond by unchaining himself from life was expressed in the lines 10-14, “I hate my epidermal dress/ the savage blood’s obscenity… And willingly would I dispense with false accouterments of sense/ to sleep immodestly.

He would rather “sleep immodestly” than wear “the rags of [his] anatomy”.

Roethke once said that “the spiritual man must go back in order to go forward.” This idea of waning from life is his way of saying that to rid of “the cloak of evil and despair” is a path to a purer soul.

Yes, Theodore Roethke does fit the stereotypical poet – mad, depressed, has a degree on his belt; but his poems are far from metaphoric ramblings. In order to fathom the connections of life, nature, and the whole universe, he utilized poetry instead, and how we humans are part of the whole accord.

The Sick Rose

The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Poet: William Blake (1757-1827)

Period: Romantic

Region: England


An Attempted Summary and Commentary

Yeah… so I’m no poet but this one by William Blake never fails to strike me in a way I just can’t describe. There’s pain, forlorn, a sudden realization, a pang of guilt, and pure amazement of how a person perfectly collided a literal and figurative interpretation of a rose.

The Sick Rose was first published in 1794; the 39th plate of William Blake’s Songs of Experience. The two quatrains of this poem rhyme ABCB. The ominous rhythm of these short, two-beat lines contributes to the poem’s sense of foreboding or dread and complements the unflinching directness with which the speaker tells the rose she is dying.

The rose is a representation of a natural object itself, as well as a literary rose, which has long been linked to love. The worm, in my own understanding, is both a phallic symbol and a resonance of death and decay. So in saying that the rose is sick, the poem also talks about a doomed or “sick” love – “bed” being the flowerbed of the plant and the lovers’ bed.

Figuratively, the poem denotes an allegory of how love is prone into not recognizing its own ailing state, as a real rose itself, obviously, is oblivious of the existence of the worm that corrupts it.

While love is a thing of joy itself, there are elements which can infect it – albeit the human mind has the tendency of refusing to believe it, or unaware of it at all.

It is both sexual and sensual – the joy one feels sexually, whether be it lust or true love, can be the source of shame afterwards. Ironically, rather than there being any joyful openness, or even any sense of mutual warmth about the union between male and female in this poem, ‘love’ turned out to be a secret, something dark and perhaps perverted, and its effect on the rose is destructive.