Night journey

Night journey
The poem "Night journey" is written by the American poet Theodore Roethke. It describes a journey in the night, with a train.

A poem written by the American poet Theodore Roethke about a nightly train ride. Described in detail.

About Theodore Roethke

His own journey began on May 25 1908 in the city of Saginaw (Michigan, US). His parents were German immigrants, who settled down in Michigan and started a flower shop. His childhood was dominated by the family business and this would be a theme that would be present in his work as a poet.

Roethke was educated at the Michigan State University and Harvard. After his graduation he became teacher and coach. As of 1941, he would become a poet. His first publication was the book Open house. His second book, The lost son and other poems (1948), was more of a success than the first one.

In 1947, he accepted a job as a teacher at the University of Washington. He would continue to work there, until the day he died (August 1 1963). During that time, he won several important prizes for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. After his death, he was awarded the National Book Award of 1964.


About Theodore Roethke

Yes, the poet is on his way. During the night and he describes the experiences – most particular – into full detail. It takes a true gift, to describe sounds as one can imagine they would sound like. This is a realistic poem, that still manages to let the reader dream for some time. This is or was Theodore Roethke at his finest!

Night journey

Night journey

Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night
To see the land I love.

— Theodore Roethke

Your journey?

We look forward to your journey. Have you ever traveled in a way that Roethke did? Submit your poem(s) today!


Night journey
Article Name
Night journey
The poem "Night journey" is written by the American poet Theodore Roethke.
Publisher Name
The Ministry of Poetic Affairs
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