The Waking

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"The Waking" is a poem written by Theodore Roethke in 1953 in the form of a villanelle. It is a self-reflexive poem that describes waking up from sleep.[citation needed] It comments on the unknowable[1] with a contemplative tone. It also has been interpreted as comparing life to waking and death to sleeping.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The poem appears as an object in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • An excerpt of the poem also appears at the beginning of Dean Koontz's novel Odd Hours.
  • Kurt Elling sings the poem on his 2007 album Nightmoves.


  1. ^ [1] Archived June 13, 2003, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ The Waking by Theodore Roethke. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 16 August 2013

External links[edit]