'The Reckoning' by Theodore Roethke
AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
All profits disappear: the gain
Of ease, the hoarded, secret sum;
And now grim digits of old pain
Return to litter up our home.We hunt the cause of ruin, add,
Subtract, and put ourselves in pawn;
For all our scratching on the pad,
We cannot trace the error down.What we are seeking is a fare
One way, a chance to be secure:
The lack that keeps us what we are,
The penny that usurps the poor.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Reckoning by Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke is one of the most celebrated American poets of the 20th century. His poetry is known for its deep introspection, its exploration of the natural world, and its intense emotional intensity. One of his most famous poems is "The Reckoning," which was first published in 1953 in his collection The Waking. In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, we will take a closer look at "The Reckoning" and explore its themes, imagery, and significance.
Before we dive into the interpretation, let's take a look at the poem itself:
All profits disappear: the gain Of ease, the hoarded, secret sum; And now grim digits of old pain Return to march us to the drum. No flag is flown to signify The meaning of our lesser feast: We move within a hallowed tie, And silence is our utmost priest. The battle ended long ago, The warring hosts are low and still; But Christ our King can overthrow The ancient enemy of His will. His hand is on the hidden way, He sets His seal upon our care; And when the solemn priests pray, His light is like the morning air.
At first glance, the poem seems to be speaking of some kind of economic reckoning, with "profits" disappearing and "hoarded secret sums" being revealed. However, as we will see, the poem is actually about something much larger and more universal.
One of the key themes of "The Reckoning" is the idea of mortality and the impermanence of life. The first stanza speaks of "old pain" returning to march us to the drum, suggesting that we are all marching towards our inevitable end. The second stanza reinforces this idea, with the mention of a "lesser feast" and the idea that our movement is within a "hallowed tie" suggesting that we are participating in some kind of funeral or memorial service.
Another theme of the poem is the idea of spiritual redemption. The mention of Christ as our King and the idea that he can overthrow the ancient enemy of his will suggests that the poem is not just about death, but about the possibility of salvation and eternal life. The final stanza reinforces this idea, with the mention of the hidden way and the solemn priests praying to Christ.
One of the most striking aspects of "The Reckoning" is its vivid imagery. The use of language is precise and evocative, creating a powerful sense of atmosphere and emotion. In the first stanza, for example, the "grim digits" of old pain are described as "marching us to the drum," creating a sense of inevitability and impending doom. Similarly, in the second stanza, the idea of a "hallowed tie" suggests a solemn, almost funereal atmosphere.
One of the most effective uses of imagery in the poem is the repeated mention of light. In the third stanza, Christ's light is described as being "like the morning air," suggesting a sense of hope and renewal. This image is contrasted with the darkness of the earlier stanzas, creating a sense of progression and transformation.
So what is "The Reckoning" really about? On one level, the poem can be read as a meditation on mortality and the inevitability of death. The poem suggests that we are all marching towards our end, and that our earthly possessions and achievements will ultimately count for nothing. This idea is reinforced by the imagery of the first stanza, which suggests a sense of grim finality.
However, the poem is not entirely bleak. The mention of Christ as our King and the repeated imagery of light suggest that there is the possibility of redemption and eternal life. The poem suggests that there is a hidden way to salvation, and that Christ's light can shine even in the darkest of circumstances.
There is also a sense of community and shared experience in the poem. The mention of a "hallowed tie" suggests that we are all part of some kind of collective mourning, and that we are all bound together by our mortality. This idea is reinforced by the repeated use of the first-person plural, which creates a sense of solidarity and shared experience.
In conclusion, "The Reckoning" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the themes of mortality, redemption, and community. Through its vivid imagery and precise language, the poem creates a sense of atmosphere and emotion that is both haunting and uplifting. Ultimately, the poem suggests that while we may all be marching towards our inevitable end, there is the possibility of salvation and eternal life. This is a message that is both poignant and hopeful, and one that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Theodore Roethke's "The Reckoning" is a classic poem that explores the themes of mortality, nature, and the human condition. This poem is a powerful and evocative piece of literature that captures the essence of life and death in a way that is both haunting and beautiful.
The poem begins with the speaker describing a scene of nature, with the wind blowing through the trees and the leaves rustling in the breeze. The speaker then turns his attention to the human condition, describing how we are all "born to die" and how we must face our mortality with courage and acceptance.
The poem then takes a darker turn, as the speaker describes the reckoning that awaits us all. The reckoning is a metaphor for death, and the speaker describes it as a "darkness" that will consume us all. Despite this ominous tone, the speaker also suggests that there is a kind of beauty in death, as it is a natural part of the cycle of life.
Throughout the poem, Roethke uses vivid imagery and powerful metaphors to convey his message. For example, he describes the wind as a "wild thing" that "howls and moans" through the trees. This creates a sense of foreboding and unease, as if the natural world is warning us of the reckoning that is to come.
Roethke also uses repetition to great effect in this poem. The phrase "born to die" is repeated several times throughout the poem, emphasizing the inevitability of death and the need to accept it. Similarly, the phrase "the reckoning" is repeated several times, creating a sense of dread and anticipation.
One of the most striking aspects of this poem is the way that Roethke uses nature as a metaphor for the human condition. The wind, the trees, and the leaves all become symbols for the cycle of life and death. This creates a sense of unity between humanity and the natural world, as if we are all part of the same larger system.
At the same time, however, Roethke also suggests that there is a kind of disconnect between humanity and nature. The speaker describes how we "build our houses against the wind" and "shut out the sun." This suggests that we have become disconnected from the natural world, and that this disconnection has made us more vulnerable to the reckoning that awaits us all.
Overall, "The Reckoning" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores some of the most fundamental aspects of the human condition. Through vivid imagery, powerful metaphors, and a haunting tone, Roethke captures the essence of life and death in a way that is both beautiful and terrifying. This poem is a true masterpiece of literature, and it deserves to be read and appreciated by all who seek to understand the mysteries of existence.
Editor Recommended SitesRealtime Streaming: Real time streaming customer data and reasoning for identity resolution. Beam and kafak streaming pipeline tutorials
Flutter Tips: The best tips across all widgets and app deployment for flutter development
Knowledge Graph Consulting: Consulting in DFW for Knowledge graphs, taxonomy and reasoning systems
Event Trigger: Everything related to lambda cloud functions, trigger cloud event handlers, cloud event callbacks, database cdc streaming, cloud event rules engines
SRE Engineer: Guide to SRE engineering
Recommended Similar AnalysisMetamorphoses: Book The Thirteenth by Ovid analysis
Never Try To Trick Me With A Kiss by Sylvia Plath analysis
Endymion: Book II by John Keats analysis
Weakest Thing, The by Elizabeth Barrett Browning analysis
Binsey Poplars Felled /79 by Gerard Manley Hopkins analysis
Neither Out Far Nor In Deep by Robert Frost analysis
Perseus by Sylvia Plath analysis
Our journey had advanced by Emily Dickinson analysis
Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge analysis
A Servant To Servants by Robert Frost analysis