Robinson Jeffers

Thebaid By Robinson Jeffers

Thebaid By Robinson Jeffers

Thebaid How many turn back toward dreams and magic, how many children Run home to Mother Church, Father State, To find in their arms the delicious warmth and folding of souls. The age weakens and settles home toward old ways. An age of renascent faith: Christ said, Marx wrote, Hitler says, And thoug... »

The Epic Stars By Robinson Jeffers

The Epic Stars By Robinson Jeffers

The Epic Stars The heroic stars spending themselves, Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle, They must burn out at length like used candles; And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes. There is the stuff for an epic poem- This magnificent raid at the heart o... »

Shooting Season By Robinson Jeffers

Shooting Season By Robinson Jeffers

Shooting Season IN THE NORTH OF SCOTLAND The whole countryside deployed on the hills of heather, an army with banners, The beaters whoop the grouse to the butts. Three gentlemen fling up their guns and the frightened covey is a few wings fewer; Then grooms approach with the panniered horses. The gra... »

No Resurrection By Robinson Jeffers

No Resurrection By Robinson Jeffers

No Resurrection Friendship, when a friend meant a helping sword, Faithfulness, when power and life were its fruits, hatred, when the hated Held steel at your throat or had killed your children, were more than metaphors. Life and the world were as bright as knives. But now, if I should recall my ruin... »

Going To The Horse Flats By Robinson Jeffers

Going To The Horse Flats By Robinson Jeffers

Going To The Horse Flats Amazingly active a toothless old man Hobbled beside me up the canyon, going to Horse Flats, he said, To see to some hives of bees. It was clear that he lived alone and craved companionship, yet he talked little Until we came to a place where the gorge widened, and deer-hunte... »

Antrim By Robinson Jeffers

Antrim By Robinson Jeffers

Antrim No spot of earth where men have so fiercely for ages of time Fought and survived and cancelled each other, Pict and Gael and Dane, McQuillan, Clandonnel, O’Neill, Savages, the Scot, the Norman, the English, Here in the narrow passage and the pitiless north, perpetual Betrayals, relentle... »

The Songs Of The Dead Men To The Three Dancers By Robinson Jeffers

The Songs Of The Dead Men To The Three Dancers By Robinson Jeffers

The Songs Of The Dead Men To The Three Dancers I. TO DESIRE (Here a dancer enters and dances.) Who is she that is fragrant and desirable, Clothed but enough to wake wantonness, And proud of her polished lithe body and her narrowing of kohl-darkened eyelids with arrows between them? Ah, ah, ah! Godde... »

The Broken Balance By Robinson Jeffers

The Broken Balance By Robinson Jeffers

The Broken Balance I. Reference to a Passage in Plutarch’s Life of Sulla The people buying and selling, consuming pleasures, talking in the archways, Were all suddenly struck quiet And ran from under stone to look up at the sky: so shrill and mournful, So fierce and final, a brazen Pealing of ... »

Salmon-Fishing By Robinson Jeffers

Salmon-Fishing By Robinson Jeffers

Salmon-Fishing The days shorten, the south blows wide for showers now, The south wind shouts to the rivers, The rivers open their mouths and the salt salmon Race up into the freshet. In Christmas month against the smoulder and menace Of a long angry sundown, Red ash of the dark solstice, you see the... »

Life From The Lifeless By Robinson Jeffers

Life From The Lifeless By Robinson Jeffers

Life From The Lifeless Spirits and illusions have died, The naked mind lives In the beauty of inanimate things. Flowers wither, grass fades, trees wilt, The forest is burnt; The rock is not burnt. The deer starve, the winter birds Die on their twigs and lie In the blue dawns in the snow. Men suffer ... »

Divinely Superfluous Beauty By Robinson Jeffers

Divinely Superfluous Beauty By Robinson Jeffers

Divinely Superfluous Beauty The storm-dances of gulls, the barking game of seals, Over and under the ocean… Divinely superfluous beauty Rules the games, presides over destinies, makes trees grow And hills tower, waves fall. The incredible beauty of joy Stars with fire the joining of lips, O let our ... »

When I Considered It Too Closely By Robinson Jeffers

When I Considered It Too Closely By Robinson Jeffers

I When I considered it too closely, when I wore it like an element and smelt it like water, Life is become less lovely, the net nearer than the skin, a little troublesome, a little terrible. I pledged myself awhile ago not to seek refuge, neither in death nor in a walled garden, In lies nor gated lo... »

To Be An Ape In Little By Robinson Jeffers

To Be An Ape In Little By Robinson Jeffers

To be an ape in little of the mountain-making mother Like swarthy Cheops, but my own hands For only slaves, is a far sweeter toil than to cut Passions in verse for a sick people. I’d liefer bed one boulder in the house-wall than be the time’s Archilochus: we name not Homer: who now Can e... »

The Loving Shepherdess By Robinson Jeffers

The Loving Shepherdess By Robinson Jeffers

The Loving Shepherdess The little one-room schoolhousc among the redwoods Opened its door, a dozen children ran out And saw on the narrow road between the dense trees A persona girl by the long light-colored hair: The torn brown cloak that she wore might be a man’s Or woman’s eitherwalki... »

Tamar By Robinson Jeffers

Tamar By Robinson Jeffers

Tamar I A night the half-moon was like a dancing-girl, No, like a drunkard’s last half-dollar Shoved on the polished bar of the eastern hill-range, Young Cauldwell rode his pony along the sea-cliff; When she stopped, spurred; when she trembled, drove The teeth of the little jagged wheels so de... »

Phenomena By Robinson Jeffers

Phenomena By Robinson Jeffers

Phenomena Great-enough both accepts and subdues; the great frame takes all creatures; From the greatness of their element they all take beauty. Gulls; and the dingy freightship lurching south in the eye of a rain-wind; The airplane dipping over the hill; hawks hovering The white grass of the headlan... »

I Had Walked Since Dawn By Robinson Jeffers

I Had Walked Since Dawn By Robinson Jeffers

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling high up in heaven, And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit narrowing, I understood then That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard ... »

Boats In A Fog By Robinson Jeffers

Boats In A Fog By Robinson Jeffers

Boats In A Fog Sports and gallantries, the stage, the arts, the antics of dancers, The exuberant voices of music, Have charm for children but lack nobility; it is bitter earnestness That makes beauty; the mind Knows, grown adult. A sudden fog-drift muffled the ocean, A throbbing of engines moved in ... »

The World Has Many Seas, By Robinson Jeffers

The World Has Many Seas, By Robinson Jeffers

The world has many seas, Mediterranean, Atlantic, but here is the shore of the one ocean. And here the heavy future hangs like a cloud; the enormous scene; the enormous games preparing Weigh on the water and strain the rock; the stage is here, the play is conceived; the players are not found. I saw ... »

The Deer Were Bounding By Robinson Jeffers

The Deer Were Bounding By Robinson Jeffers

The deer were bounding like blown leaves Under the smoke in front the roaring wave of the brush-fire; I thought of the smaller lives that were caught. Beauty is not always lovely; the fire was beautiful, the terror Of the deer was beautiful; and when I returned Down the back slopes after the fire ha... »

Shiva By Robinson Jeffers

Shiva By Robinson Jeffers

Shiva There is a hawk that is picking the birds out of our sky, She killed the pigeons of peace and security, She has taken honesty and confidence from nations and men, She is hunting the lonely heron of liberty. She loads the arts with nonsense, she is very cunning Science with dreams and the state... »

No Bitterness_ Our By Robinson Jeffers

No Bitterness_ Our By Robinson Jeffers

No bitterness: our ancestors did it. They were only ignorant and hopeful, they wanted freedom but wealth too. Their children will learn to hope for a Caesar. Or rather–for we are not aquiline Romans but soft mixed colonists– Some kindly Sicilian tyrant who’ll keep Poverty and Carth... »

Give Your Wish Light By Robinson Jeffers

Give Your Wish Light By Robinson Jeffers

Give Your Wish Light By day and night dream about happy death, Poor dog give your heart room, drag at the chain, Breathe deep at dawn, wish it were the last breath, Imagine the leaden ball planted in the brain, The seed of that superb flower, dream the brave noose That loves the neck so dearly it le... »

Ante Mortem By Robinson Jeffers

Ante Mortem By Robinson Jeffers

Ante Mortem It is likely enough that lions and scorpions Guard the end; life never was bonded to be endurable nor the act of dying Unpainful; the brain burning too often Earns, though it held itself detached from the object, often a burnt age. No matter, I shall not shorten it by hand. Incapable of ... »

Vulture By Robinson Jeffers

Vulture By Robinson Jeffers

Vulture I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling high up in heaven, And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit narrowing, I understood then That I was under inspection. I lay death-still an... »

The Silent Shepherds By Robinson Jeffers

The Silent Shepherds By Robinson Jeffers

The Silent Shepherds What’s the best life for a man? –Never to have been born, sings the choros, and the next best Is to die young. I saw the Sybil at Cumae Hung in her cage over the public street– What do you want, Sybil? I want to die. Apothanein Thelo. Apothanein Thelo. Apothane... »

The Broadstone By Robinson Jeffers

The Broadstone By Robinson Jeffers

The Broadstone NEAR FINVOY, COUNTY ANTRIM We climbed by the old quarries to the wide highland of heath, On the slope of a swale a giant dolmen, Three heavy basalt pillars upholding the enormous skb, Towers and abides as if time were nothing. The hard stones are hardly dusted with lichen in nobody kn... »

Rock And Hawk By Robinson Jeffers By Robinson Jeffers

Rock And Hawk By Robinson Jeffers By Robinson Jeffers

Rock and Hawk by Robinson Jeffers Here is a symbol in which Many high tragic thoughts Watch their own eyes. This gray rock, standing tall On the headland, where the seawind Lets no tree grow, Earthquake-proved, and signatured By ages of storms: on its peak A falcon has perched. I think, here is your... »

Let Them Alone By Robinson Jeffers

Let Them Alone By Robinson Jeffers

Let Them Alone If God has been good enough to give you a poet Then listen to him. But for God’s sake let him alone until he is dead; no prizes, no ceremony, They kill the man. A poet is one who listens To nature and his own heart; and if the noise of the world grows up around him, and if he is... »

Distant Rainfall By Robinson Jeffers

Distant Rainfall By Robinson Jeffers

Distant Rainfall Like mourning women veiled to the feet Tall slender rainstorms walk slowly against gray cloud along the far verge. The ocean is green where the river empties, Dull gray between the points of the headlands, purple where the women walk. What do they want? Whom are they mourning? What ... »

Time Of Disturbance By Robinson Jeffers

Time Of Disturbance By Robinson Jeffers

Time Of Disturbance The best is, in war or faction or ordinary vindictive life, not to take sides. Leave it for children, and the emotional rabble of the streets, to back their horse or support a brawler. But if you are forced into it: remember that good and evil are as common as air, and like air s... »

The Little Biplane That By Robinson Jeffers

The Little Biplane That By Robinson Jeffers

The little biplane that has the river-meadow for landing-field And carries passengers brief rides, Buzzed overhead on the tender blue above the orange of sundown. Below it five troubled night-herons Turned short over the shore from its course, four east, one northward. Beyond them Swam the new moon ... »

Suicide’s Stone By Robinson Jeffers

Suicide’s Stone By Robinson Jeffers

Suicide’s Stone Peace is the heir of dead desire, Whether abundance killed the cormorant In a happy hour, or sleep or death Drowned him deep in dreamy waters, Peace is the ashes of that fire, The heir of that king, the inn of that journey. This last and best and goal: we dead Hold it so tight ... »

People And A Heron By Robinson Jeffers

People And A Heron By Robinson Jeffers

People And A Heron A desert of weed and water-darkened stone under my western windows The ebb lasted all afternoon, And many pieces of humanity, men, women, and children, gathering shellfish, Swarmed with voices of gulls the sea-breach. At twilight they went off together, the verge was left vacant, ... »

I Followed The Narrow By Robinson Jeffers

I Followed The Narrow By Robinson Jeffers

I followed the narrow cliffside trail half way up the mountain Above the deep river-canyon. There was a little cataract crossed the path, flinging itself Over tree roots and rocks, shaking the jeweled fern-fronds, bright bubbling water Pure from the mountain, but a bad smell came up. Wondering at it... »

Bixby’s Landing By Robinson Jeffers

Bixby’s Landing By Robinson Jeffers

Bixby’s Landing They burned lime on the hill and dropped it down here in an iron car On a long cable; here the ships warped in And took their loads from the engine, the water is deep to the cliff. The car Hangs half way over in the gape of the gorge, Stationed like a north star above the peaks... »

The Wind-Struck Music By Robinson Jeffers

The Wind-Struck Music By Robinson Jeffers

The Wind-Struck Music Ed Stiles and old Tom Birnam went up to their cattle on the bare hills Above Mai Paso; they’d ridden under the stars’ white death, when they reached the ridge the huge tiger-lily Of a certain cloud-lapped astonishing autumn sunrise opened all its petals. Ed Stiles p... »

The Deer Lay Down Their Bones By Robinson Jeffers

The Deer Lay Down Their Bones By Robinson Jeffers

The Deer Lay Down Their Bones I followed the narrow cliffside trail half way up the mountain Above the deep river-canyon. There was a little cataract crossed the path, flinging itself Over tree roots and rocks, shaking the jeweled fern-fronds, bright bubbling water Pure from the mountain, but a bad ... »

Shine, Republic By Robinson Jeffers

Shine, Republic By Robinson Jeffers

Shine, Republic The quality of these trees, green height; of the sky, shining, of water, a clear flow; of the rock, hardness And reticence: each is noble in its quality. The love of freedom has been the quality of Western man. There is a stubborn torch that flames from Marathon to Concord, its dange... »

Night Without Sleep By Robinson Jeffers

Night Without Sleep By Robinson Jeffers

Night Without Sleep The world’s as the world is; the nations rearm and prepare to change; the age of tyrants returns; The greatest civilization that has ever existed builds itself higher towers on breaking foundations. Recurrent episodes; they were determined when the ape’s children firs... »

Ghosts In England By Robinson Jeffers

Ghosts In England By Robinson Jeffers

Ghosts In England At East Lulworth the dead were friendly and pitiful, I saw them peek from their ancient earthworks on the coast hills At the camps of the living men in the valley, the army-mechanics’ barracks, the roads where they try the tanks And the armored cars: ‘We also,’ th... »

An Artist By Robinson Jeffers

An Artist By Robinson Jeffers

An Artist That sculptor we knew, the passionate-eyed son of a quarryman, Who astonished Rome and Paris in his meteor youth, and then was gone, at his high tide of triumphs, Without reason or good-bye; I have seen him again lately, after twenty years, but not in Europe. In desert hills I rode a horse... »

To The Stone-Cutters By Robinson Jeffers

To The Stone-Cutters By Robinson Jeffers

To The Stone-Cutters Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated Challengers of oblivion Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down, The square-limbed Roman letters Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well Builds his monument mockingly; For man will be b... »

The Purse-Seine By Robinson Jeffers

The Purse-Seine By Robinson Jeffers

The Purse-Seine Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark of the moon; daylight or moonlight They could not tell where to spread the net, unable to see the phosphorescence of the shoals of fish. They work northward from Monterey, coasting Santa Cruz; off New Year’s Point or off Pigeon Po... »

The Bloody Sire By Robinson Jeffers

The Bloody Sire By Robinson Jeffers

The Bloody Sire It is not bad. Let them play. Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane Speak his prodigious blasphemies. It is not bad, it is high time, Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values. What but the wolf’s tooth whittled so fine The fleet limbs of the antelope? What but fea... »

Return By Robinson Jeffers

Return By Robinson Jeffers

Return A little too abstract, a little too wise, It is time for us to kiss the earth again, It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies, Let the rich life run to the roots again. I will go to the lovely Sur Rivers And dip my arms in them up to the shoulders. I will find my accounting where the ... »

July Fourth By The Ocean By Robinson Jeffers

July Fourth By The Ocean By Robinson Jeffers

July Fourth By The Ocean The continent’s a tamed ox, with all its mountains, Powerful and servile; here is for plowland, here is for park and playground, this helpless Cataract for power; it lies behind us at heel All docile between this ocean and the other. If flood troubles the lowlands, or ... »

Delusion Of Saints By Robinson Jeffers

Delusion Of Saints By Robinson Jeffers

Delusion Of Saints The old pagan burials, uninscribed rock, Secret-keeping mounds, Have shed the feeble delusions that built them, They stand inhumanly Clean and massive; they have lost their priests. But the cross-bearing stones Still foot corruption, and their faces carved With hopes and terrors A... »

This Morning Hitler By Robinson Jeffers

This Morning Hitler By Robinson Jeffers

This morning Hitler spoke in Danzig, we hear his voice. A man of genius: that is, of amazing Ability, courage, devotion, cored on a sick child’s soul, Heard clearly through the dog wrath, a sick child Wailing in Danzig; invoking destruction and wailing at it. Here, the day was extremely hot; a... »

The Heroic Stars By Robinson Jeffers

The Heroic Stars By Robinson Jeffers

The heroic stars spending themselves, Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle, They must burn out at length like used candles; And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes. There is the stuff for an epic poem– This magnificent raid at the heart of darknes... »

Subjected Earth By Robinson Jeffers

Subjected Earth By Robinson Jeffers

Subjected Earth Walking in the flat Oxfordshire fields Where the eye can find no rock to rest on but little flints Speckle the soil, and the million-berried hedges Tingle with birds at evening, I saw the sombre November day redden and go down; a flight of lapwings Whirled in the hollow of the field,... »

Peace Is The Heir Of By Robinson Jeffers

Peace Is The Heir Of By Robinson Jeffers

Peace is the heir of dead desire, Whether abundance killed the cormorant In a happy hour, or sleep or death Drowned him deep in dreamy waters, Peace is the ashes of that fire, The heir of that king, the inn of that journey. This last and best and goal: we dead Hold it so tight you are envious of us ... »

Hurt Hawks By Robinson Jeffers

Hurt Hawks By Robinson Jeffers

Hurt Hawks I The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder, The wing trails like a banner in defeat, No more to use the sky forever but live with famine And pain a few days: cat nor coyote Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons. He stands under the oa... »

Birth-Dues By Robinson Jeffers

Birth-Dues By Robinson Jeffers

Birth-Dues Joy is a trick in the air; pleasure is merely contemptible, the dangled Carrot the ass follows to market or precipice; But limitary pain — the rock under the tower and the hewn coping That takes thunder at the head of the turret- Terrible and real. Therefore a mindless dervish carvi... »

The Universe Expands And By Robinson Jeffers

The Universe Expands And By Robinson Jeffers

The universe expands and contracts like a great heart. It is expanding, the farthest nebulae Rush with the speed of light into empty space. It will contract, the immense navies of stars and galaxies, dust clouds and nebulae Are recalled home, they crush against each other in one harbor, they stick i... »

The Dead To Clemenceau By Robinson Jeffers

The Dead To Clemenceau By Robinson Jeffers

The Dead To Clemenceau NOVEMBER, 1929 Come (we say) Clemenceau. Why should you live longer than others? The vacuum that sucked Us down, and the former stars, draws at you also. No wrench for a man near ninety. They were younger who crowded us out of distinction the year you drove them Like flies on ... »

Shine, Perishing Republic By Robinson Jeffers

Shine, Perishing Republic By Robinson Jeffers

Shine, Perishing Republic While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens, I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth. Out of... »

Night By Robinson Jeffers

Night By Robinson Jeffers

Night The ebb slips from the rock, the sunken Tide-rocks lift streaming shoulders Out of the slack, the slow west Sombering its torch; a ship’s light Shows faintly, far out, Over the weight of the prone ocean On the low cloud. Over the dark mountain, over the dark pinewood, Down the long dark ... »

Give Your Heart To The Hawks By Robinson Jeffers

Give Your Heart To The Hawks By Robinson Jeffers

Give Your Heart To The Hawks 1 he apples hung until a wind at the equinox, That heaped the beach with black weed, filled the dry grass Under the old trees with rosy fruit. In the morning Fayne Fraser gathered the sound ones into a basket, The bruised ones into a pan. One place they lay so thickly Sh... »

All The Little Hoofprints By Robinson Jeffers

All The Little Hoofprints By Robinson Jeffers

All The Little Hoofprints Farther up the gorge the sea’s voice fainted and ceased. We heard a new noise far away ahead of us, vague and metallic, it might have been some unpleasant bird’s voice Bedded in a matrix of long silences. At length we came to a little cabin lost in the redwoods,... »