Friday, August 30, 2019

In a dark time Essay

Reading and understanding poems is a creative process that goes on in time and from line to line even as the poet’s creation does. In the poem Roethke tries to break through the barriers of rational language with paradoxes and short, seemingly unrelated statements. In a sense, Roethke’s poem is also a commentary on the experience, and his essay is another attempt to record his mystical enlightenment. Each expression in turn becomes its own experience for the writer. â€Å"In a Dark Time,† was a dictated poem, something scarcely mine at all. The allegorical nature of his spiritual journey is clear from the phrase â€Å"A man goes far to find out what he is† that by is generality universalizes and distances the speaker’s quest. His search is less for personal identity than it is for defining characteristics of the human condition-man’s nature and the limits of his understanding. His mystical experience dissolves idiosyncrasies into ultimate concerns, yet we expect more of a union with the divine, a phase he saves for the last stanza. At the end of â€Å"In a Dark Time,† the speaker returns to the opening paradox that natural darkness is actually a spiritual light, but now the paradox has a more agonizing relevance. Instead of the general statement that â€Å"In a dark time, the eye begins to see,† he now confesses that â€Å"Dark, dark/my light, and darker my desire. † In mystical literature God remains the source of all light, although He may appear as darkness to man’s limited mind. Roethke, in the poem, would be restoring the original power of the One beyond God, and what is more, identifying himself with the greater of the two. While he is not the final authority on the meaning of â€Å"In a Dark Time,† Roethke’s interpretation demands the close attention: if only by the necessities of his art, he has lived with the poem longer and more intimately than his readers. Reference: Roethke, T. (1960). Roethke: Colleted Poems. Double-day & Company, Inc.

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