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Bill Chioffi
January 27, 2022:

Steven's immense passion and meticulous love of plants will continue to grow and plant new seeds to be sown. My tribute to the person who has inspired so many of us plant lovers across the globe is this Villanelle. I read this poem over and over trying to help me sort out this sudden loss to our community. This French verse form is lyrical and complex, just like Steven, and it reminds me that the journey itself is the learning. And so, I share Theodore Roethke's The Waking, in honor of a friend, mentor, and enduring example of passion and dedication that will surely guide many of us on our paths. Thank you, Steven for your lasting impact on our hearts and minds.

The Waking
Theodore Roethke — 1908-1963

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.