Sunday, March 04, 2007


The Dead Pool

In an essay over at The Stranger, Brendan Kiley visits the swimming pool that killed Theodore Roethke:

The story went this way: Roethke—who taught poetry at the University of Washington and was large, vivacious, and a heavy drinker—was by the pool with Mrs. Bloedel and her daughter one summer afternoon, fixing mint juleps. Mrs. Bloedel went to the main house for towels or a telephone call or something. The daughter followed. When they returned, the poet was floating face down in the water. Three perfect mint juleps sat on a table by the edge of the pool. The family, grieved by the death of their friend, filled in the pool and turned it into a Zen rock garden.....

I trespass carefully and quietly, afraid of getting caught, occasionally stopping to assess the position of the barking dogs or admire the sinewy clouds illuminated from below by the lights of Seattle.

After some muddy hours, I stumble out of the forest in front of a Japanese-style guesthouse and a rock garden. This is it....

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