Roethke, “The Sloth”

Theodore Roethke

Read By: Katherine Mechling

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.

  • Theodore Roethke
  • 20th Century
  • English
  • Epigram
  • Teasing
  • Nature
  • Form
  • Favorite Poem Project

"The Sloth," copyright © 1950 by Theodore Roethke. From The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.