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Best Famous Robinson Jeffers Poems

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Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

TO HIS FATHER

Christ was your lord and captain all your life,
He fails the world but you he did not fail,
He led you through all forms of grief and strife
Intact, a man full-armed, he let prevail
Nor outward malice nor the worse-fanged snake
That coils in one's own brain against your calm,
That great rich jewel well guarded for his sake
With coronal age and death like quieting balm.
I Father having followed other guides And oftener to my hurt no leader at all, Through years nailed up like dripping panther hides For trophies on a savage temple wall Hardly anticipate that reverend stage Of life, the snow-wreathed honor of extreme age.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

SUICIDES 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 you are envious of us And fear under sunk lids contempt.
Death-day greetings are the sweetest.
Let trumpets roar when a man dies And rockets fly up, he has found his fortune.
Yet hungering long and pitiably That way, you shall not reach a finger To pluck it unripe and before dark Creep to cover: life broke ten whipstocks Over my back, broke faith, stole hope, Before I denounced the covenant of courage.


Written 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 loves too Be joined, there is not a maiden Burns and thirsts for love More than my blood for you, by the shore of seals while the wings Weave like a web in the air Divinely superfluous beauty.


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Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

THE EXCESSES OF GOD

Is it not by his high superfluousness we know
Our God? For to equal a need
Is natural, animal, mineral: but to fling
Rainbows over the rain
And beauty above the moon, and secret rainbows
On the domes of deep sea-shells,
And make the necessary embrace of breeding
Beautiful also as fire,
Not even the weeds to multiply without blossom
Nor the birds without music:
There is the great humaneness at the heart of things,
The extravagant kindness, the fountain
Humanity can understand, and would flow likewise
If power and desire were perch-mates.


Written 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 blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun Die blind and blacken to the heart: Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found The honey of peace in old poems.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

TO THE HOUSE

I am heaping the bones of the old mother
To build us a hold against the host of the air;
Granite the blood-heat of her youth
Held molten in hot darkness against the heart
Hardened to temper under the feet
Of the ocean cavalry that are maned with snow
And march from the remotest west.
This is the primitive rock, here in the wet Quarry under the shadow of waves Whose hollows mouthed the dawn; little house each stone Baptized from that abysmal font The sea and the secret earth gave bonds to affirm you.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

We Are Those People

 I have abhorred the wars and despised the liars, laughed at the frightened
And forecast victory; never one moment's doubt.
But now not far, over the backs of some crawling years, the next Great war's column of dust and fire writhes Up the sides of the sky: it becomes clear that we too may suffer What others have, the brutal horror of defeat— Or if not in the next, then in the next—therefore watch Germany And read the future.
We wish, of course, that our women Would die like biting rats in the cellars, our men like wolves on the mountain: It will not be so.
Our men will curse, cringe, obey; Our women uncover themselves to the grinning victors for bits of chocolate.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

End Of The World

 When I was young in school in Switzerland, about the time of the Boer War,
We used to take it for known that the human race
Would last the earth out, not dying till the planet died.
I wrote a schoolboy poem About the last man walking in stoic dignity along the dead shore Of the last sea, alone, alone, alone, remembering all His racial past.
But now I don't think so.
They'll die faceless in flocks, And the earth flourish long after mankind is out.


Written 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 oak-bush and waits The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.
He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head, The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.
You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him; Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him; Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.
II I'd sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk; but the great redtail Had nothing left but unable misery From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.
We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom, He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death, Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old Implacable arrogance.
I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.


Written 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 with powers to catch them at last.
Nothing will escape her at last, flying nor running.
This is the hawk that picks out the star's eyes.
This is the only hunter that will ever catch the wild swan; The prey she will take last is the wild white swan of the beauty of things.
Then she will be alone, pure destruction, achieved and supreme, Empty darkness under the death-tent wings.
She will build a nest of the swan's bones and hatch a new brood, Hang new heavens with new birds, all be renewed.


Written 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 of darkness, this lost battle-- We don't know enough, we'll never know.
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the Gods for granted.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

The Stars Go Over The Lonely Ocean

 Unhappy about some far off things
That are not my affair, wandering
Along the coast and up the lean ridges,
I saw in the evening
The stars go over the lonely ocean,
And a black-maned wild boar
Plowing with his snout on Mal Paso Mountain.
The old monster snuffled, "Here are sweet roots, Fat grubs, slick beetles and sprouted acorns.
The best nation in Europe has fallen, And that is Finland, But the stars go over the lonely ocean," The old black-bristled boar, Tearing the sod on Mal Paso Mountain.
"The world's in a bad way, my man, And bound to be worse before it mends; Better lie up in the mountain here Four or five centuries, While the stars go over the lonely ocean," Said the old father of wild pigs, Plowing the fallow on Mal Paso Mountain.
"Keep clear of the dupes that talk democracy And the dogs that talk revolution, Drunk with talk, liars and believers.
I believe in my tusks.
Long live freedom and damn the ideologies," Said the gamey black-maned boar Tusking the turf on Mal Paso Mountain.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

Praise Life

 This country least, but every inhabited country
Is clotted with human anguish.
Remember that at your feasts.
And this is no new thing but from time out of mind, No transient thing, but exactly Conterminous with human life.
Praise life, it deserves praise, but the praise of life That forgets the pain is a pebble Rattled in a dry gourd.


Written by Robinson Jeffers | |

Summer Holiday

 When the sun shouts and people abound
One thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of
 bronze
And the iron age; iron the unstable metal;
Steel made of iron, unstable as his mother; the tow-
 ered-up cities
Will be stains of rust on mounds of plaster.
Roots will not pierce the heaps for a time, kind rains will cure them, Then nothing will remain of the iron age And all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem Stuck in the world's thought, splinters of glass In the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the mountain.
.
.


Written 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 the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and deca- dence; and home to the mother.
You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stub- bornly long or suddenly A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.
But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thick- ening center; corruption Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught--they say-- God, when he walked on earth.