Image by University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, MPH328

The Sloth

The Sloth

In moving-slow he has no Peer.
You ask him something in his ear;
He thinks about it for a Year;

And, then, before he says a Word
There, upside down (unlike a Bird)
He will assume that you have Heard -

A most Ex-as-per-at-ing Lug.
But should you call his manner Smug,
He'll sigh and give his Branch a Hug;

Then off again to Sleep he goes,
Still swaying gently by his Toes,
And you just know he knows he knows.


'The Sloth' copyright 1950 by Theodore Roethke from The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1966/ Faber, 1968), used by permission of the publisher, Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. The recording was made in the 1950s at the YMHA Poetry Center, New York, NY, and is used by permission of the Library of Congress, Washington DC, and is used with permission of the Library of Congress.

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