My Papa's Waltz by Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

by Theodore Roethke

Other poems by 'Theodore Roethke'

Journey Into The Interior

Snake

Root Cellar

The Waking

Elegy For Jane

I Knew A Woman

The Survivor

In A Dark Time

Cuttings

Night Journey

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