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The Summit Redwood

Written by: Robinson Jeffers | Biography
 | Quotes (23) |
 Only stand high a long enough time your lightning
 will come; that is what blunts the peaks of
 redwoods;
But this old tower of life on the hilltop has taken
 it more than twice a century, this knows in
 every
Cell the salty and the burning taste, the shudder
 and the voice.

 The fire from heaven; it has
 felt the earth's too
Roaring up hill in autumn, thorned oak-leaves tossing
 their bright ruin to the bitter laurel-leaves,
 and all
Its under-forest has died and died, and lives to be
 burnt; the redwood has lived. Though the fire
 entered,
It cored the trunk while the sapwood increased. The
 trunk is a tower, the bole of the trunk is a
 black cavern,
The mast of the trunk with its green boughs the
 mountain stars are strained through
Is like the helmet-spike on the highest head of an
 army; black on lit blue or hidden in cloud
It is like the hill's finger in heaven. And when the
 cloud hides it, though in barren summer, the
 boughs
Make their own rain.

 Old Escobar had a cunning trick
 when he stole beef. He and his grandsons
Would drive the cow up here to a starlight death and
 hoist the carcass into the tree's hollow,
Then let them search his cabin he could smile for
 pleasure, to think of his meat hanging secure
Exalted over the earth and the ocean, a theft like a
 star, secret against the supreme sky.



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