Root Cellar by Theodore Roethke

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

by Theodore Roethke

Other poems by 'Theodore Roethke'

Journey Into The Interior

Snake

My Papa's Waltz

The Waking

Elegy For Jane

I Knew A Woman

The Survivor

In A Dark Time

Cuttings

Night Journey